The development of technology in real estate has been outstanding, to say the least, and new technologies are continuing to keep us in awe every day. Before, you had to rely on a real estate professional to do the bulk of the work to buy a home, but with the tech available now, you can do a lot of the heavy lifting yourself, and in turn, have much more control of the homebuying process.
In fact, real estate investment companies are taking advantage of sophisticated tech to streamline the process of acquiring property. But if you’re only looking to buy a home for personal use, you can leverage almost the same kind of technology, and even keep the entire process online.
Before we get into the process, let’s talk about the biggest advantages of buying a home online:
No travel. You don’t have to physically be at the site, the real estate agent’s office, or the lender’s office to get the process going, which is incredibly important amidst this pandemic. This advantage also makes it easier for busy people to buy a home since they won’t have to adjust their schedule around appointments that require travel.
Faster. In some cases, buying a home online can be faster than going the traditional route. By using digital tools, you can find a real estate agent, arrange for appraisals, go through listings, and do every step of the process faster than when you do them in person.
Cost-savings. No travel means no money spent on gas, fare, food, and other expenses to go to appointments, meet with people, and accomplish requirements, especially if you plan to relocate to a very distant place.
Despite these advantages, there is one main drawback that you have to consider: when buying a home entirely online, you can’t fully grasp what the place is really like in real life. Nevertheless, you can go around this by visiting the place at least once or hiring a good real estate agent that can help you make the best decisions.
How to buy a home entirely online
If you want to buy a home entirely online but don’t know where to start, here is a step-by-step guide that can help:
1. Do your research
Before anything else, learn what the home buying process is like when done entirely online, especially if you are a first-time homebuyer. Read articles and other online sources that can help you familiarize yourself with the process so that you are not grasping at straws when you finally start looking for houses. Some important points you should research include but are not limited to:
- Applying for a mortgage
- How to look for a good listing
- Real estate agents in the area you want to relocate to
- Property taxes and home insurance
- Hidden costs in the homebuying process
2. Find a good real estate agent
Once you have the basic knowledge of the home buying process, it’s time to find a good real estate agent that can guide you through the process. You may be able to buy a home online by yourself, but this is not recommended if it’s your first time buying a home. Furthermore, a real estate agent will be able to help you find the best listings, mortgage lenders, appraisal services, and other things you need.
Look for a real estate agent that has adequate experience in the area you want to move to. Aside from that, you would also want them to have experience in remote viewings, as well as sales technologies that will allow you to do the process entirely online. And since you may not meet in person, they will also have to be very communicative, especially if you are located in different time zones.
When interviewing potential agents, express your desire to do the process entirely online so that they know what to expect.
3. Get a preapproval
You can get preapproved before finding a real estate agent, so these steps are interchangeable. To get a preapproval, find a reputable mortgage lender that fits your needs (shop around), and apply for a preapproval. This will let you know how much house you can afford, which is what you need for the next step.
4. Find a house
Finding a house these days is more convenient what will all the listing websites available on the Internet. Scour through listings and narrow down your top picks with help of your agent. Have your agent arrange virtual tours to help you “see” the property from your computer, or if possible, have them do a live walkthrough using video call.
Once you find “the one”, it’s a good idea to visit the property at least once before cementing your decision. After you decide that it’s the right home for you, make an offer to the seller.
If the seller accepts your offer, the rest of the process will be the same as when you buy a home traditionally. You’ll have to go through appraisals, inspections, title research, and closing, but you can leave these in the hands of your real estate agent if you don’t have the time.
As you can see, buying a home online is entirely possible with the advanced technology we have nowadays. If you want to buy a home without leaving your house, use this guide as your main reference.