There is no doubt that technology plays a greater role in our everyday lives as time goes by. There are very few areas of everyday life which have remained untouched by the technology revolution and the Internet in particular. A number of “experts” are suggesting that online services will disrupt the traditional property market in a way in which Uber has disrupted the taxi industry.
While there is no doubt that technology will play a greater role in the future, will online property services have the same impact upon the real estate industry as Uber has had upon the taxi industry?
Are we comparing like-for-like?
The first thing to say is that booking a taxi is very different from buying a property as one is very impersonal and one is very personal. Are you really concerned about anything but the cost of your taxi service? Would you buy a property after having only “viewed” it online?
There have been a number of articles of late suggesting that the technology revolution will change the way in which we approach the property sector in the future. However, even those who buy property as an investment and take no deep seated personal/emotional interest in the property itself are unlikely to acquire an asset without having seen it in real life.
Nothing beats a look around your future home
We have web cams, we have high-definition images and we have as much comment and detail as you care to read about when looking at property websites. These give you a look and feel for a property but they are nowhere near as personal and intimate as you would need to experience before parting with what could be a significant amount of money.
Evidence suggests that many people will actually visit the property they end up buying a number of times before sealing the deal. No amount of sweet talking from estate agents, no amount of price negotiation and no amount of trying to rush the deal through will make the vast majority of people jump to attention.
What role does the Internet play in real estate?
As we have mentioned on numerous occasions, the main benefit of the Internet with regards to real estate investment is the ability to research areas which you could never visit on a whim. The ability to do your background research, compare like-for-like properties and look at the latest news and events in the region give you a greater feel to move onto the next stage. Those who do not take advantage of the online revolution, information exchange and the research available will end up wasting their time and possibly money.
While many so-called experts have compared Uber, the ground changing taxi service, to the potential change in the real estate sector, we are not comparing like-for-like. Whether you are buying a property as an asset or a home there is a need to ensure that it “feels right” and no amount of online investigation, images, web cams and pictures will ever give you the same experience as walking around the property.