Technology In The Real Estate Market
We published an article on technology in the real estate market not long ago. Coincidentally, my family just went through the process of buying a home so I thought I would share my perspective on the tech we encountered during the process.
Our search for the “right place” was a long one but ultimately paid off. The real estate market in the Vegas area has heated up. Perhaps it’s due to more diverse employment opportunities, limited inventory, and major professional sports teams moving to the community. I’m not a realtor so I can’t say for sure. All I can pass on is that this process was less tedious than our previous home buys.
We purchased 3 homes over the past 13 years upgrading with each move. With this most recent move, we really got a chance to witness the many improvements in the process of searching for a home, accessing the properties, and the loan process itself. This was the easiest home buy I’ve ever experienced. So what changed? Largely, the supporting technologies in just about every step in the process.
Finding a Home – Redfin App
Redfin is by far is my preferred platform for finding a home. The Redfin app is constantly updated with new properties and status updates on existing homes. One of my favorite features in the Redfin app is the school listings. Find a property and scroll down to find all of the schools in the area and their ratings and distance from the property.
The property history is listed along with all the details. You can be notified when the price of a home you are interested in changes. All of the public facts are listed in the app so there is no need to jump to various sites to find out what you need to know about a property you’re interested in. There is a “Walk” score so you can see how easy it is to run local errands.
There is also an option to add a destination. Let’s say you want to see what the distance is to work or some other location you frequent. Just enter the address and the app will provide the details for driving, walking, biking or public transit.
The Redfin app provides an estimate of the home value that includes a 1 – 5-year graph. Here you can see the home’s value at different points in time.
The Redfin app also shows you what other properties in the area sold for recently. This, of course, is a key factor in determining the value of the home being considered. Property taxes are visible as is an accurate estimate of the monthly payment. You can customize calculations and compare mortgage rates. Redfin is the most comprehensive Real Estate App I’ve ever used.
Although 3D Walkthroughs are not new, Redfin does a really nice job presenting homes in this format, a feature Redfin offers to sellers. Check this out.
I used a Redfin agent for our last home purchase and the process was smooth, economical, timely and professional. Redfin will get my recommendation.
Selling Your Home
Usually, when buying a home, you are tasked with selling a home as well. This can be problematic if you are considering selling the home yourself. There are a lot of things to consider and legalities involved so this may be intimidating and overwhelming to one who is not a real estate professional. There are a number of options out there that will assist you if you need to know how to sell your house quickly.
Realtors have been using conventional lock boxes for years that use combinations to access homes on the market. There have been significant improvements to these devices in recent years. For example:
NU-SET 7060-3 Wall-Mount Electronic Key Storage Lock Box
- Smart-box electronic lockbox is constructed with a large, durable zinc-alloy casing to securely store multiple keys
- No internet access required
- No subscription required
- Easy to program with a USB device
- Control access via day & time or duration-limited access codes
- You can assign up to 500 access codes (with 4 to 6 digits) with individual duration periods
- Allow access via one-time remote access codes
- Retrieve access log with date and time
During our search, we found a home that was listed with Opendoor. By downloading the app and inputting the address, a one time code was sent to us so we could access the property on our own. This was very cool, but I must admit I missed the interaction with an agent. Not being able to ask a question or get feedback on something you’re looking at in real time left me feeling that the experience was lacking. None the less, being able to view a home on your schedule without making an appointment was a big plus.
We started the process with a customary approval letter from one lender. When we found the home we wanted to make an offer on we went with another lender. About a week in I decided to look into Quicken Loans or Rocket Mortgage. This was a good move for a number of reasons. In less than three weeks we were good to go. The entire process was handled electronically. I sent PDFs of all the requested documentation. All documents for the lender and the title company were handled via ESigning.
Buying or selling a home is still a stressful process but the tech used in real estate today sped up every step right up to the closing. This recent experience showed me significant improvements over my previous experiences in 2009, 2005 and the mid-‘80s.
More on this topic: How is Technology Changing the Way We Buy Real Estate?