Originally published on NeilNewstead.org
The topic of online estate sales has been taking the country by storm and for good reason. Uncertainty in the market, thanks in large part to the ongoing Brexit situation, has left many bewildered and skeptical of the sales market and, by default, the agencies operating in this field.
I firmly believe that there is unmatched value in building a relationship and working directly with an experienced estate agent, that said I recognize the attraction that a digital sale holds for many consumers and entrepreneurs alike. But every up has a down, so it’s important to consider the entire picture before choosing an online or brick-and-mortar estate agent.
We, as human beings, are consistently busy and constantly getting busier. The idea of being able to shop for a new home without ever having to leave your living room (or the office) is appealing when your time is so precious. Modern technology allows for “holoportation,” or the ability to tour a home virtually. This is an amazing feat, but can also pose risks for potential purchasers.
It can be difficult to get an accurate picture of the property as a whole when viewing one digital room at a time. Potential purchasers may not be able to adequately discern the condition of various critical aspects like the roof. Other important features aren’t readily available in photos. Examples include ventilation systems or layout functionality.
Virtually touring a property can be a great way to rule out ill-fitted options. When it comes to ruling properties in, however, it’s always best to work with an experienced estate agent in person.
For property professionals, online technology can alleviate a great deal of back-and-forth between buyers, sellers, title agencies, lenders, and more. Well-designed software can compile information from all involved parties while helping to keep the most accurate and up-to-date records of transaction statuses, approvals, and conveyances. Technology is fickle, however, and could potentially glitch.
Online sales technology is limited by the data and operating system that runs it. It does improve certain aspects of the sales process (like data entry and recordkeeping) but complicates other aspects like trust. The elimination of drive time and face-to-face interactions can provide an agent with more time to troubleshoot any mishaps, but a solid relationship built on communication between agent and buyer helps to alleviate the potential altogether.
It is easy to understand how an online estate transaction is attractive to both buyers and agents. Convenience, control, and ease all make digital sales an attractive option. It is important to remember, however, that technology is only as capable as the sum of its functions. Selling or purchasing a home is a big decision. Make sure that you choose an approach that is in your best interest before engaging in your next transaction.