Make Life Easier
Look around your home, what do you see that was not there a year ago? Very likely you see things like a new smartphone, laptop computer, TV screen that is really a computer screen, maybe a robot vacuum or a personal assistant like Alexa. What do they have in common? They save you time and make life easier. In other words, they are made to give you convenience.
The real estate transaction is changing just like everything else. Four years ago, our company invested in purchasing a 3D video camera. When we tried to explain to sellers how important it was for buyers to see your home before they made an appointment, sellers looked at us like we were crazy. Now sellers know that buyers not only want to see a virtual tour, they wonder what is wrong with your home if you do not have one.
More Options for Sellers and Buyers
Buyers are not spending weeks going from one home to another looking. They may look at a few homes in person, but they spend their time at home looking online first. Convenience is now part of the process of buying and selling a home. What has made this possible is the ability to communicate digitally!
Homeowners thinking of selling no longer need to call up a few real estate brokers and spend many hours over a few days finding out the market value of their home. Instead, they can have an online meeting with an agent, visually walk the agent through their home using the new smartphone and then work together to determine listing price. Brokers use the video meeting to show homeowners the MLS information plus two or three different analytical programs that help with determining the home value.
Brokers then go over a multitude of different potential marketing plans. These range from what is considered a traditional listing to a marketing program where the seller is not paying the commission. Brokers should discuss instant offers which are the potential of selling the home as-is without putting the home on the market. For homeowners that want to maximize the net sales price by updating and renovating the home and not having to pay for the updating until the home sale closes there are also good plans. It just depends on what fits the seller’s needs best.
Digital Marketing and Transaction Power
The digital marketing that occurs today once a home goes on the market is nothing short of remarkable. Photography cleans up and enhances the visual experience for potential buyers when looking at the home. The sky is always blue, all the grass is deep green and there is never an item out of place inside or outside of the home. The interior can be virtually staged with new modern furniture. Web links that have these photos and videos are sent out through social media, Facebook, Instagram, Google, LinkedIn, Waze, Google Maps, Pinterest, and other online marketing sites. The day a home goes on the market national websites like Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia and a few hundred other real estate “portals” all have the photos and video of the home to show off to potential buyers. Every local real estate company whether a national franchise or single office has all the photos and videos of the home available on their company websites.
Agents now making appointments for buyers to see the home can still be arranged by a phone call, but usually are now communicated online email or using text messages. This assures there is no miscommunication of the date and time. Sellers can limit by each day or the hours during the day that home will be available for buyers to come inside. Sellers must no longer have their home “show ready” every day all day or worry that a child will be at the home alone when a showing occurs.
The most significant changes have occurred with the written communication of the purchase agreement and the closing process. Everything can be done through cloud base transaction management. Buyers discuss with their broker the offer they want to make; it is sent to them to digitally sign. Once signed the offer is automatically available to the buyer’s broker who sends it digitally to the seller’s broker. The offer is reviewed by the listing broker who creates a net selling price and both the buyers offer and the net sheet are digitally sent to the seller. Typically, the seller and listing broker has a zoom meeting to discuss the agreement.
When buyers and sellers have a mutually agreed purchase, the escrow is “opened”. The agreement is sent digitally to the escrow company and all communication with the escrow company is done through their cloud base escrow transaction management system. The earnest money is deposited online, all title information is sent out online and there is no longer a closing table. The closing documents are sent digitally, signed digitally, and notarized digitally. Finally, seller funds are digitally sent to the seller’s bank or to the escrow company of the home that the seller is buying.
New Real Estate Normal
While this system seems to lack people and emotions, it is quite the opposite. What digital real estate does is allows sellers and buyers to make better smarter decisions. Everyone is given much more information and allowed the time and lack of pressure to feel comfortable with their decisions. There are more alternatives for homeowners and homebuyers today, and we will continue to see them grow in the future.