We do almost everything online these days — why not buy or sell a home online, too? A year ago, you might not have known anyone who bought their groceries online. Now, you can probably think of a few food or sundry items you’ve recently bought online yourself. Online trends that offer real value tend
We do almost everything online these days — why not buy or sell a home online, too?
A year ago, you might not have known anyone who bought their groceries online. Now, you can probably think of a few food or sundry items you’ve recently bought online yourself. Online trends that offer real value tend to ramp up quickly. What seems unknown or crazy at first becomes common practice soon. Real estate is heading this way, too.
But Can You Really Do Everything Online?
Almost! You have to close with a wet signature and have your documents notarized. That’s the kind of signature that you literally sit there and sign with a pen.
But even closings don’t have to be some old-fashioned mess of paper stacks and driving across town. Business has moved past these inconveniences. Even if you think you’re not tech-savvy, this is the way to go. You can definitely handle it.
Nowadays, modern title companies store documents on secure platforms, so you can check out what’s going on every step of the way. They will send you updates via text or email, so you can manage communication on your terms. And, when it’s time to give that signature, they send mobile agents (notary) to you, anytime, anywhere.
But I Can Do Everything Else Online?
Pretty much. Here’s where to start:
If you’re a buyer that means getting your finances in order. Start by checking your credit report so you know what your financial history looks like before applying for a mortgage. Sites like creditkarma.com and annualcreditreport.com are great for this sort of research.
Then, it’s time to shop your loan options. Ask the right questions—rates, points and fees. Look into the company’s reputation before making a decision because there are always crooked players. Some online lenders you will see advertising are: Rocket Mortgage and Better Mortgage.
If you’re a seller, start by listing your home on Zillow, Redfin, and/or Trulia.
So, What’s Next?
Find a real estate agent online and communicate with them via phone and email, if you plan on using one. Realtor.com and Zillow have great tools for finding the right realtor all without ever leaving your couch. Or you can list your home on your own via OpenDoor or Offerpad.
As a seller, when it comes time to start staging your house (so all you buyers will love what you see!), it’s important to find the right staging tactics. These are online, too. Sources like homefinder.com have great staging tips.
Another important point is school districts. While you may not have kids, buying in a good school district can pay off when it comes to the resale value of your home. Check out sites like schooldigger.com and greatschools.org before making your purchasing decision whether you have kids or not.
You Found a Home OR A Buyer, Now What?
It’s time to finalize the contract and start the closing process. Forget what you heard about the closing process. It is not all zombies in cubicles and hours of paperwork. The process is actually going digital AKA your life is getting easier. That means time AND money back to you.
Most closing companies haven’t moved in this direction yet, but it’s happening. And, while your lender and realtor may not yet be using a closing company that is working so efficiently, a technology-based closing company can save you money, headaches, and inconveniences.
Here’s the Gist.
Basically, you can market your home or peruse listings, get neighborhood stats and look at comps, take virtual tours, and share information with your partner without ever logging off your desktop or smartphone.
Google Maps and Earth make viewing neighborhoods or new cities even more incredible, so if you’re making a big move or just heading to unfamiliar territory, you can acquaint yourself in fine detail that may not even be possible by driving or walking the area.
Yes, of course, you want to look at a home where you might live, especially if you have a partner or kids who will move with you. The real world is still a place, even though the digital and virtual ones are becoming more alive every day.
But for those who embrace the future, you can buy and sell a home online at almost every step of the way.