You don’t have to go back too many decades to find a time where buying or selling a property involved physically meeting with, and going through, a traditional estate agent. This practise was the norm and for many still is, however, thanks to recent developments in technology; the way properties are bought and sold is changing.
More and more of us are turning to online or digital methods when it comes to property selling and there’s a belief this is born out of current consumer purchasing habits. Here, we’ve taken a closer look at this and have considered what this could mean for the future of the real estate buying and selling markets.
So, what are these technology-based methods that people are turning to? On the most part this is online selling and with a quick Google search, you can easily find a variety of businesses like The Property Buying Company, which have websites where you can sell or buy.
The idea behind these sites can be that you sell for cash or you can pay a one-off fee to an online agent and your house is marketed on their listings and on other popular property search sites. This is rather than meeting with an estate agent or realtor and paying for their services periodically. The selling point here is that the single payment covers everything and doesn’t have any additional fees or commission.
Technology also makes its way into this in other areas. Often Smartphone and tablet apps are available through these companies, and buyers can quickly browse through the properties for sale, via their devices. Equally, those selling can set up the adverts for their properties through these apps and get them instantly uploaded.
Some other examples include similar processes for online property auctions. These can again offer those interested in such auctions more flexibility to get involved and a much faster turnaround time on their chosen lots – rather than having to attend these in person.
An Online Buying Trend
This preference for online convenience shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise though. Culturally, we are now at the pinnacle of technological advancement and the desire to receive information or get what we want has become much faster thanks to the sophisticated tech and devices we use in our daily routines, which provide us with quick or instant results.
As such, a business having a useful website is pretty much an expectation for most consumers now and, as these figures from Retail Research demonstrate, e-commerce accounts for increasing numbers and percentages of overall purchases. This data about European spending explains how e-commerce sales are also expected to grow by 14% next year, up from the forecasted £230.bn in 2017.
So, with the convenience and straightforward usability that technology can provide with online property sales, combined with current consumer shopping preferences, it’s not difficult to see why these methods are becoming more popular.
Potential Market Effects
From this, we can speculate on what some of the potential effects on the real estate markets might be. The obvious effect would be on traditional estate agents and realtors who may start to see a drop in client numbers.
Along with this though, such businesses may start to offer an online service as well, to keep up with what their target markets want and expect from property buying and selling. In a similar vein, some more tech-savvy individuals may take it upon themselves to manage their property sales and investments through other platforms; possibly carving out a new market for independent online selling.
What the coming years hold for the markets does, of course, remain to be seen, but keeping up to date with the current technological trends in this niche could be a good idea for estate agents and realtors who have concerns for their respective businesses.