The real estate industry has seen rapid and dramatic changes over the last several months due to the sudden outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Industry experts have recognized impacts on real estate sales and interest rates; but, there aren’t necessarily strong indications on where the market will go from here. However, as realtors and property owners have been forced to work with digital tools as a result of the pandemic’s shutdowns, they are becoming more aware of the benefits and efficiencies that they offer. In essence, digitalization has finally been able to showcase its true benefits in full this year.
In its simplest form, digitalization is the conversion of a physical object or input into a digital format that can be read and understood by technological devices. Other industries like media, finance, and professional service have found great success in their rapid implementation of digital tools. The real estate industry however has had a much slower start in adjusting old habits to modern times. However, COVID-19 has certainly given the entire industry a nudge in the right direction and fortunately, it’s at a benefit to you as a buyer or renter.
The entire house and apartment hunting process is likely to find great support in virtual and augmented reality capabilities that many real estate companies offer. We are seeing more and more implementations of these technologies to provide buyers with a 360-degree view of the home. Through any smart device or computer, you are able to move throughout the entirety of the space and experience it almost as closely as you would in person. This enhanced virtual experience has allowed many prospective homebuyers and renters to become more comfortable with their search and in some cases, it may be more seamless digitally than it is in person.
While the search can be done digitally, you still will want to lean on your real estate agent or broker for added support. Not only will it be helpful to communicate with them digitally on a regular basis, but they are also likely to view your prospective space in person and can answer any difficult questions that digital technology simply cannot.
Similarly, homebuyers have found a great deal of success with technology when it comes to financing. Specifically, the use of mortgage tech in the housing market has made commonly tedious lending processes much more efficient. Many digital lenders now offer user-friendly online tools to get preapproved for a mortgage. As a buyer, this comes in handy when aiming for a faster buying turnaround time. Then from there, you can calculate how much house you can afford, apply for a loan, and refinance an existing loan through the lender’s digital app. Even longer processes such as closing on a home can be streamlined without sacrificing your options of refinancing.
If you are on the search for an apartment however, you can take advantage of apps and other technology specific to your building or apartment complex. Many commercial property owners are now adjusting their rent payment programs to be entirely digital. All maintenance fees, deposits, and monthly payments are made through digital technology — making these processes much more efficient for tenants. Many tenants actually prefer this digital process, are much more likely to pay on time, and find more comfort in the security of online payment. Because of this, many more apartment properties are likely to adopt these tools in the near future.
Lastly, the adoption of digital technology has become a huge help in providing effective storage and protection of documents and files. Whether buying or renting, keeping track of all of your necessary paperwork is a task in itself. Luckily, many apps now allow you to store paperwork within its system to be readily available when needed.
For example, home buying and lending apps typically provide you with the option to upload banking information directly through the app. In many cases, individuals dread the upkeep of paperwork– especially when it comes to moving out of state– due to the added steps of aligning your documents with the laws and regulations of that state. Thankfully, automated software has been a huge help in compiling all necessary documentation to be available during the lending and legal processes.
As a tenant, you are also benefiting from the digital rent and management apps’ proof of each payment. Because of technology implementation, you will no longer have to dispute with landlords over possible missed or late payments. Instead, both you and your landlord will be able to see all the necessary information regarding when and for how much your rent was paid.
As an added tip, you can keep track of your own documents and paperwork with a document scanner when searching for an apartment. Especially when renting in New York City or those with competitive renting markets, it’s important that you have all the necessary paperwork at the ready.
Beginning the home buying or renting process can be quite the journey. However, with the added help of digitalization, you can take advantage of the several benefits available. The real estate industry as a whole is beginning to see how technology tools are assisting buyers and luckily, is adjusting itself accordingly. If you have not already seen some of these tech implementations in your own local housing market, expect to see them very soon as more and more real estate businesses invest in technology to further benefit buyers and renters.