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Buying a home in the 21st Century

By Mike Wheatley | March 13, 2015

In the 21st Century, technology has revolutionised the way we interact, communicate and consume information. Brought about by the digital revolution, the 'Information Age' has penetrated all facets of daily life, including the way we buy real estate.

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The old saying “information is power”, could not be more true than when it comes to buying property. One of the biggest financial decisions most people make in their lifetime, buying property is more than simply choosing where you want to live but about investing in an asset that will create wealth.

The fact is, not all properties perform the same, particularly in a flat or falling market. So for those looking to invest smarter, here are some handy tech tips to help you make better informed property investment decisions.

Real estate apps

There are a plethora of real estate applications or ‘apps’ available for both iOS and Android devices to help buyers research, find and inspect properties all from their phone handset or tablet, the most popular of which are probably Zillow and Trulia.

Built-in GPS allows users to conduct a refined search of the most recent listings and sales results based on location, price range, property type, property features, such as number of bedrooms and bathrooms; land size and more. Apps of this kind are a convenient and efficient way to scroll through the hundreds of new listings advertised to the market each week.

Other useful apps include property guides, such as that provided by CBA, which gives users an estimated assessment of property values, unit measurement converters to calculate floor space and compasses that allow you to assess a property’s orientation and the amount of natural light it receives.

Progression in satellite mapping technology means that users can research properties and suburbs from above, assessing what the local area has to offer without leaving their seat. Available on the latest smart phones, Google maps uses built-in GPS technology to deliver location-specific results for local businesses and services such as schools, transportation, shopping and dining facilities and sports and recreation.

Street View

This handy tool enables users to take a virtual street-level tour of almost any capital city in the world, with 360-degree panoramic views of the streetscape. This can be particularly beneficial for cursory inspections of a property in assessing accessibility and the external condition and presentation of the property and the street. This can save valuable time by reducing the short-list and forgoing the need to physically inspect hundreds of potential properties.

Property data

Advances in digital technology such as the internet and personal computer devices means that access to information is becoming increasingly simple. RP Data and REIV in Victoria offer an abundance of free and paid information to assist property buyers with researching a property’s or suburbs historical performance. This data is invaluable in assessing a property’s future performance and its potential for strong capital growth.

Technology certainly makes it easier to conduct your property research, however, it should not replace a physical inspection if you are serious about buying a property.

As the market heats up in so too is the competition so do your homework and seek independent advice from a buyer’s advisor to ensure you select the property that will outperform the others in the market.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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