[ecis2016.org] With the digital world becoming a catalyst for retail consumption, can it have the same effect on the real estate industry? We analyse the future of online home buying
Before the internet, the only way to be able to find homes for sale, was to drive around and look for ‘home for sale’ signs or enlist the services of a broker. With such a method, home seekers ran the risk of missing out on viable options.
You are reading: Will the home buying transaction completely move online?
However, in the last few years, the digital boom has simplified real estate investing as well. Several sites are making buying a home online, easy and accessible and have paved the way for the public to access crucial information. This includes details such as the location, property pictures, developer’s reputation, project specifications, configurations and costs. Users can also compare two or more projects and localities.
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Some residents like Radha Iyer, have already benefited from these online services. Iyer bought a home in Bhayander about a decade ago. Back then, she had to rely on traditional classifieds to find a suitable property. When this proved highly ineffective, she went house hunting herself. “Most of my visits were particularly meant to observe the growth in the area than actual home seeing,” explains Iyer. “These tasks are now taken care of by websites that allow brokers, sellers, and developers to be creative and comprehensive with property listings. They upload several photos and provide detailed descriptions of the property. Some even offer videos or 360-degree photography tours, thus, making house hunting fun,” she adds.
[ecis2016.org] Are Online Property Sales Really Beneficial to Home Buyers?
Choose the online platform wisely
Other than providing a broad overview of the properties available, real estate sites also tag agents associated with the project. Major developers dedicate inventory specifically for digital platforms, thus, facilitating the purchase of a property from an e-commerce site. Moreover, developers are offering discounts in order to advance the progress of online channels.
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On the surface, the tech tools and discounting seem novel and even logical. However, what works against it, is the manner in which the real estate market actually functions in India. “A property purchase commitment is not one they will make with the same confidence and detachment with which they would buy a smaller commodity online. Buying a home is all about forming a personal bond with the chosen property,” points out Ashwinder Raj Singh, CEO – residential services, JLL India.
“The home buying process invariably involves personal inspection of a number of options at close quarters. Each option is examined from various perspectives, including affordability, viability of the location, construction quality, legal sanctity of the project, appropriateness of the facilities and amenities available in the project, reputation and reliability of the developer, and appreciation potential,” Singh adds.
Singh emphasises that the likelihood of a home buyer making such a decision based solely on virtual information, is on par with that of an art connoisseur buying a Rembrandt in an online auction. However, online sites have seen some early success, and it is certain that this trend is here to stay.
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