The property market as a whole has been extraordinarily slow at recognising how technology can help improve the home purchase process, says Owen Derbyshire, CEO and co-founder, Track My Move.
What’s the most stressful thing you’ve ever done? For millions of us, buying a home tops the list. In fact, a study by Which? Mortgage Advisers last year suggested the only thing more stressful than moving house is getting divorced. A property transaction is also said to be significantly more stressful than having a baby, getting married or even arranging care for an elderly relative.
The sad fact is that a big source of this stress is down to how antiquated the homebuying process is. I saw it myself when I bought my first house; it took four months, an absurd amount of time considering there was no chain. The ‘hold-ups’ were simply down to paperwork and a broken chain of communication between all stakeholders involved.
The property market as a whole has been extraordinarily slow at recognising how technology can help improve the home purchase process. The way we arrange mortgage finance and move home is utterly outdated, relying on old-fashioned processes simply because that’s the way that it has always been done. That would be somewhat excusable if it was delivering a satisfying experience for the people involved, but it isn’t.
There is no reason that buying a home should take as long as it does and can’t be cut from 10 weeks to a matter of days with the bulk of administration being completely automated in the future.
The sheer lack of transparency involved in a house purchase only serves to make this worse. Too often homebuyers have no idea how their transaction is progressing, nor what the next stage will be. They waste precious time having to chase up their mortgage broker or solicitor for updates to have some idea of how long it will be before they are able to complete on their home.
It is incredible that until now buyers have been essentially kept in the dark about the progress of their house purchase, particularly given the sums of money involved. Buying a house is the biggest purchase any of us will ever make, yet there is more transparency and a higher level of communication when you upgrade your phone than when you purchase a property.
Better use of technology can change all of that though, offering a single portal where all interested parties in a transaction can quickly and easily monitor the progress of the deal.
It’s not just homebuyers that will benefit from a smarter, more streamlined process; it will also dramatically improve estate agent’s businesses. A portal with a clever workflow that groups tasks and prioritises key transactions, allows agents to be pro-active, rather than reactive and genuinely disrupts the industry. What’s more, making better use of the cloud will also mean important documents are signed and sent within minutes, rather than relying on the post, causing further delays.
By keeping homebuyers informed and in the loop, they will not feel the need to constantly call the estate agent offices, allowing agents to get on with the business of selling homes. It can also ensure that transactions go through much quicker; after all, agents do not get paid until a case completes, so by speeding up the process they are less likely to suffer from cashflow issues.
In so many areas of our life, the integrated use of technology is a given, from changing electricity supplier to booking a holiday or ordering your groceries. The property market has been slow to accept how technology can improve the homebuying process. With the emergence of online mortgage brokers and estate agents, that is slowly starting to change but to move the home buying process forward, we need to embrace technology and the role it can play in making buying a home a much smoother and faster process for all involved. After all, there’s no reason buying a home should be as stressful as tying the knot.
Track My Move is a one-stop-portal which enables estate agents, conveyancers and home buyers to track the progress of the property purchase all in one place, on all devices, dramatically speeding up the time to complete.