June 17, 2022

House hunting goes digital

Just as in other domains in our lives like paying taxes and buying groceries, the Internet is now playing a major role in our search for that dream home as well. House hunting has gone seriously digital as more and more people opt for online avenues to find their abode of choice, triggering a rising demand for digital portals that help consumers in their search and discovery, a trend that has only gathered momentum during the and post-pandemic.

This trend is attributed to the rising penetration of the Net across different societal strata, growing urbanization and an increasing willingness to adopt new technology, with the proliferation of smart phones and tablets. Also during the pandemic, particularly during the second wave when there was a slump in the real estate market, property tech entities saw the future and invested heavily in emerging tech like using drones for pictures and video walkthroughs of properties, besides using big data to aggregate a whole host of information that would help the home buyer make an informed choice and in double quick time.

The result? Instead of the pre-Covid 7-8 physical visits to the site, nowadays it’s often just 2 or 3 before the customers firm up their decisions. This is simply because they could garner all the relevant information besides get a complete visual sense of the property online before they even set foot on the site physically. The online slant towards house-hunting has also been seen in smaller cities and towns, since all developers and marketing agents are now totally focused on digital showcasing of properties.

With the Internet playing an increasingly critical role in the search for properties, traditional media tools for showcasing real estate products like print ads or newspaper advertorials are fast losing the dominance they always used to enjoy. While outdoor billboards are still in currency, most of the main campaigns have moved online, with increasing use of new platforms like social media content, Google ads, banner ads, search and discovery portals, online PR, email campaigns, etc. Even most of the transactions nowadays are conducted online using digital payment gateways and real-time transaction engines.

What are the obvious benefits of online house-hunting?

# Saves time: With people hard-pressed for time, hopping from one location to another in search of your ideal home can be hugely taxing and even impractical sometimes. Thanks to the property portals and listings, you can explore a large number of properties in a timely fashion.

# Wider umbrella: Sitting on your laptop/PC, the world is your oyster as you can search for properties anywhere in the city or in other cities as well. This gives you a wider umbrella of products to choose from.

# You are in control: Since you are in control of the search yourself, you can narrow down the search effort suited to your preferred parameters.

# Real-time updates: A very important advantage of online property search is that details and listings are updated in real time and you don’t waste your time on some product that’s no more on the table.

# Better credibility: An online presence or profile will always add more credibility to the developer or the selling party. For instance, if a rental property is listed online, it evokes more trust among the home-seeker.

# You get much more: An online search doesn’t only give you the option to buy or sell or rent, but gives you access to a whole host of allied services like vaastu consultants, valuation and renovation services, legal, interiors, architectural and structural inputs, etc.

# It’s more effective: An online presence gives you much more exposure and a larger basket of options, whether you are a buyer, seller or tenant.

# Filtering tools: When checking listings online, you have the option to choose from an array of filtering tools to whittle down the scope of your search in terms of preferred location, price band, floor area, features, etc. You can even create a folder comprising your preferred properties that showed up in the search.

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House hunting goes digital