Real estate has been experiencing a brisk few years, to say the least, with homes selling at record prices and bidding wars becoming increasingly common. The market thrived throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the challenges of lockdowns, social distancing and limited personal interaction, thanks in large part to technology. From virtual property tours to digital closings, tech has transformed the real estate journey from an in-person, manual process to one that can be completed mostly digitally.
This trend isn’t just for tech-savvy millennials and young, first-time homebuyers, either: The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that 97 percent of homebuyers, regardless of age, use the internet in their home search.
“Every sector and category within real estate has been impacted by the pandemic, and nearly all have experienced an influx of new innovation to make the process of buying and selling more efficient,” says Ashley Stinton, NAR’s senior director of marketing and communications.
No longer just a stopgap measure, the technology that kept real estate moving during the early days of the pandemic continues to be relevant. Here are seven of the most useful tech trends that make buying and selling a home easier.
- Desktop appraisals
- Online 3D tours
- Remote online notarization
- Online document preparation and e-signing
- Home inspection helpers
- Digital escrow and closings
1. Desktop appraisals
While it might be difficult to imagine a home appraisal being conducted without physically visiting the property, that’s exactly what desktop appraisals do.
“Not only are we seeing these remain in use since the pandemic, they will soon become even more popular, since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced that they will accept them permanently nationwide for eligible properties,” says Katie Severance, a Realtor with Douglas Elliman in Palm Beach, Florida.
The data that may be used to develop these valuations includes information from buyer or seller agents, the homeowner, the builder and past appraiser files. Secondary sources like public records and MLS data may also be used at the discretion of the appraiser, according to Fannie Mae.
Though convenient, desktop appraisals may not be the best choice in all cases. For instance, if a home has been recently renovated, a desktop appraisal may not be able to provide an accurate valuation. In addition, lenders and borrowers still have the option to order a traditional appraisal if desired, according to Fannie Mae.
2. Online 3D tours
The integration of virtual tours into online property listings has dramatically changed the home shopping process. Now, with the touch of a button, buyers …….