Next week I take the next step into adulthood – I’m buying my first house!

The journey has been mysteriously smooth so far (touch wood!) in comparison to some of the horror stories I’ve heard…buyers pulling out of the sale last minute, nightmare estate agents and painful solicitors.

It’s not something I considered before I started this process six months ago, but technology is transforming the way we search for and buy property.

Moving online

It comes as no surprise that 94.8 per cent of people search for properties online through portals such as Rightmove or Zoopla.

Before even stepping foot inside an estate agency, we spent hours searching through Rightmove and booking viewings through Zoopla.

Little did I know you can view a house without having to physically visit the property through Virtual Reality (VR). While VR is by no means a new concept, the application of augmented reality technology in estate agency is a new development.

Where are VR viewings heading in the future?

Technology experts predict that we will see the introduction of haptic or kinaesthetic communications to VR. The technology will replicate the sense of touch which will allow users to see their hands in the virtual world and open cupboards and doors when viewing a property.

It gets better…

VR technology is being developed to introduce other senses into the VR world, such as smell and taste. During a VR viewing, the buyer will be able to smell the freshly brewed coffee or fresh linen, which will replicate the same experience as an actual viewing.

Will technology replace estate agents?

As first-time buyers, we were relatively unaware of the different stages of purchasing a property. Our estate agent advised we download an app called ‘Mio’, which is a platform to check the progress of the sale, instantly message our estate agent and follow a checklist of activities to complete. By using technology, we were able to stay informed and know what the next stage was almost in real-time.

The concern which mirrors many industries is that technology could replace estate agents in the future. However, it is unlikely technology can replace the role of an estate agent and people will always favour personal interaction. Technology can in fact assist estate agents in speeding up communication and reduce their workload by streamlining administrative responsibilities.

As technology continues to develop at a rapid pace, it is transforming the way we buy homes. Especially for millennials getting onto the property ladder, we have come to expect technology to drive all aspects of our lives – including the house buying process.

 

Emily Brewster

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