Little of what we do in our day-to-day lives has been untouched by the tentacles of technology. The way we interact with friends, spend our free time, shop and work has been transformed in recent years. As technology gets ever smarter and ever-more mobile, that process shows no signs of letting up.
So, what of the property market? Yes, even the way we buy and sell bricks and mortar – that most traditional and expensive of investments – has been altered. Here’s how technology has had an impact…
Searching: Remember when one night of the week was ‘property night’ in your local newspaper? These bulging supplements would be scoured through by eager would-be buyers, desperate for inspiration for where to look for their next home. It was a big seller for the paper and a much-needed service. Househunters merely had this and the estate agent’s window to go off.
That has been revolutionised by the Internet. Now the likes of Right Move and Zoopla are among the most read websites in the UK – with tens of millions of people logging on every day. People no longer need to leave their armchair to sift through details of every available property in their area.
Online sellers: The arrival of such sites simplified the house search process but, initially, the market was untouched after that – with buyers then needing to complete a sale in much the same way as they had done years ago. However, technology is now helping online operators to not only make the browsing process digital but also the whole sale.
With fewer overheads and fees involved this means that, for example, when you sell your house with HouseSimple or another online agent the cost and time required should be less. Technology in general has made the world a much faster ‘on-demand’ place – that is now finally filtering through to the property market.
Pictures: Given that we can all search for our new house on our phones during a lunch break, pictures are vitally important to capture our attention. Whether it be good, clear, well-taken pictures on sharp smartphone cameras or top quality professional snaps uploaded to websites on your behalf – good photography skills go hand in hand with a good house sale.
Data: Technology arms us all with data and, when it comes to the property market, this is vital for research. We can now track the sale prices of properties in and around our street to get a good idea of the ‘going rate’ for homes similar to our own.
Cyber curtain twitchers: Interestingly that means we can all take a greater interest in the housing market much more easily. Some sites also offer a house price estimate so that none of us need ever be in the dark about the value of our homes – or, indeed, those next door.
Management: One other practical benefit of the role of technology comes with the management of properties. Landlords are now able to stay in touch with tenants via text or email on a regular basis – making it much easier to reach landlords who have a portfolio of properties that are further afield. Going forward social media, Skype and other communication technologies will only strengthen this further.
The way we search, sell, market, research, manage and, well, have a nosey at, properties has been altered completely by technology. As video technology becomes much simpler to use it’s clear that this is far from the end of the road. Soon it will be the norm to upload ‘walk through’ footage to social media accounts to entice buyers, for example. In fact one app is now aping popular dating app Tinder to match people to their ideal home.
The property market has been fairly slow to fully embrace the capabilities of technology but not any more. The race is on to continue what has been started and, as a result, it’s likely that will all look different still in five or ten years’ time.