The Internet has changed the way we buy and sell real estate over the last few years. With the ever increasing number of websites dedicated to real estate, buying or selling a property online has never been easier.
One of the main advantages the Internet for real estate has been to make properties for sale easier to find. Public websites such as MLS.com offer a wealth of information for the casual browser. This information was closely guarded by real estate agents in the past. The Internet has been particularly useful to buyers looking to find properties out of town, without having to travel.
With a few clicks of the mouse, you can search through thousands of properties, view photos, virtual tours of the interior and exterior and map them with satellite view of the neighborhood. You can also more easily find real estate agents, learn about them, visit their websites, all from the comfort of your home.
You can research title, owed taxes, legal encumbrances, history of ownership and past selling prices. In most cases, this information is few and fairly easily accessible. You can even search the Internet for your next mortgage. You will find traditional lenders online with information on their different lending products, but you can also find non-traditional lenders that are virtual companies. In some cases, they will offer you better rate because of much lower overheads.
Investing out of state or even out of country has never been easier. Some real estate websites specialize in relocation, vacation properties, or rental properties. You can be sitting in the United States and buy a bed and breakfast in England or find a charming little country estate in France and relocate there.
Selling real estate has been much easier with the increased popularity of the Internet. Thousands of sites are now devoted to the subject. More and more home owners are turning to ‘For Sale By Owner’ websites which allows them to advertise their property for a nominal cost. The reach is smaller than a real estate agent would have through the multiple listing service but the savings are substantial. For a flat fee or a few hundred dollars a month, you could save tens of thousands of dollar in commission.
Searching for properties on the Internet is great but it doesn’t replace first hand visits and inspections. However, it can save you a lot of time by weeding out unappealing properties or bad locations before you head out. The Internet will also provide with a wealth of information on real estate agents, inspection companies, appraisers, contractors, real estate lawyers, etc. You will be able to research them and compare them online before you even go out and meet them.
Some speculate that in the near future, you will be able to buy and sell real estate without ever leaving your home. With the increasing popularity of electronic signature and the improvement in Internet security, perhaps one day the whole process may be carried online. In the meantime, we can enjoy browsing through properties for sale from the comfort of our home.