Like many other sectors, the residential property market has changed significantly thanks to the advent of technology. Today’s technology affords consumers access to a wealth of data and services. Whether it’s buying a pair of shoes, placing an order for the weekly groceries or allowing you to check your bank accounts at the touch of a button, technology has reshaped commerce as we know it – and it’s also helping to revolutionise the way the property market works too.
The residential property sector is slowly but surely beginning to move with the times and innovate, bringing with it new opportunities for prospective buyers to improve the end-to-end efficiency of property transactions, from research and viewings through to mortgage applications and moving days. Let’s take a closer look.
Browsing and viewing properties
At the very start of the property buying cycle, it’s important to note the impact that digital property portals have had on disrupting the way people find available homes on the market. The reliance on estate agents has diminished in recent years, as agents and private owners have the ability to market available property via platforms such as Rightmove and Zoopla. Search functionality allows prospective buyers to filter available properties to suit their unique requirements, based on factors such as property type, size or proximity to a particular area, in addition to providing a wealth of information including integration with Google Maps, automatically generated information about schools, surgeries and other services in the area and so on.
Some estate agents are even choosing to try and circumvent the need for property portals by offering virtual reality (VR) viewings. By donning a VR headset, it’s possible to immerse yourself in a virtual walkthrough of an entire home. This is achieved through the use of cameras and sensors to create an accurate representation of a property, including the depth and distance of each room, so that they can be explored with 360-degree vision.
Prior to the 2008 recession, the importance of mortgage applications wasn’t anywhere near as high as it is today. As new regulations enforced in 2014 meant that mortgage lenders are now duty bound to guarantee that applicants can afford the mortgages they are applying for, there has been a marked rise in the number of online mortgage brokers and mortgage comparison portals.
These online brokers have partnerships with various high-street and bespoke mortgage lenders, allowing them to recommend a mortgage product that befits an applicant’s personal situation, such as those who are self-employed or those who need to get a bad credit mortgage. Such opportunities that offer the lowest interest rates and upfront product fees are now typically reserved for those requiring the lowest loan-to-value ratio.
Years ago, credit ratings and histories were never even part of the equation for mortgage applications. Today, credit ratings are increasingly influential and can help lenders determine your risk as a borrower, based on your previous financial conduct. Fortunately, there are now a number of credit checking platforms you can use to check your up-to-date credit score based on current and previous borrowing and your ability to keep up with the repayments. It’s a very useful tool for prospective buyers as it helps to determine how much of a risk they are likely to be before going through with a full mortgage application.
In the past, sourcing a reliable, reputable removal firm to assist on your moving day was all about word of mouth. If a friend or family member recommended a company, you’d ordinarily trust them and give them a try. However, technology has opened up buyers’ reach to a wider net of removal services. Platforms like Reallymoving compare costs for removals, surveyors and conveyancing firms in your region to help you find the right balance between value and expertise based on quotations and thousands of reviews.
Technology has armed prospective property buyers with so much more information about houses, plots and flats for sale, available at their fingertips. It’s all geared towards improving the efficiency of the moving process and ensuring you get maximum value for money. Recent developments show this trend is likely to continue, with even more innovations added.