Why the ‘remote buying’ revolution is here to stay

Evolution by definition takes place over a long period of time. As technological advancements have taken place, we have seen a growing number of innovative changes in our lifetimes. Smart phones, electric vehicles, streaming services… the list is long.

First, new technologies change how a task can be accomplished. Then early adopters take it on and unearth the bugs. If it is effective, the rest of us will come along eventually, honing and improving the process as we go.

In the real estate space, the uptake of remote buying is a great example of this, but it has been significantly accelerated by the pandemic. In fact, this dramatic pace of change and its widespread adoption means the evolution is becoming a revolution in the real estate world.

Here’s how and why remote buying has become widespread so quickly, and the best way for you to take advantage.

Necessity accelerates the uptake

‘Remote buying’ refers to purchasing a property without having to be physically present to complete the process.

It was something our business first encountered around 2010 where ‘borderless investors’ from different Australian states and territories looked to purchase assets in Sydney. There has also been a rise in overseas investment and expats securing homes from offshore in the past decade or so.

But in 2020, the global health crisis saw swathes of the population locked away in their homes. Suddenly, achieving just about anything without being physically present became a necessity, not a convenience.

And we had to adapt quickly.

Here we are now, in the second half of 2021 – Sydney is in extended lockdown, Melbourne is extending their shutdown and Brisbane has just emerged from theirs but restrictions still apply. In addition, open international borders still seem a long way off.

Even if you live locally, purchasing in the Sydney region requires an element of remote buying. As I discussed in a recent blog, Sydney has some major restrictions around the marketing of real estate during this Delta outbreak. For example, limits on auction events and open home attendances mean buyers cannot even attend inspections as freely as in the past.

Remote trading has become essential, but what are the tricks to ensure your transaction runs smoothly?

Here are some things to consider.

Data in the palm of your hand

In many ways, we are fortunate to be dealing with this pandemic during the modern era. There have been plenty of technological advancements to help make the process seamless.

There is video conferencing and live streaming that means virtual inspections and even auctions are easy to access and utilise.

But there has also never been a better in time in history to access data on your hand-held device. Not only can you find listings via major portals, there is also a range of other metrics, such as recent sales data, capital growth figures,  listings numbers for specific suburbs as well as information on demographic trends and crime statistics readily available as well.

In addition, most local government websites provide town planning advice, including information on neighbouring construction and infrastructure changes that might impact your property.

Then there’s the state government information about major state projects or planned developments in your area.

Finally, online maps and satellite images have advanced to the stage where you can view the properties and likely uses surrounding your potential purchase. This might include desirable hubs like cafes and restaurants, or school catchment borders. There are also less appealing uses such as petrol stations, mobile phone towers or lights industrial operations to look out for.

Experts are on hand

Perhaps the greatest advantage to modern-day remote buyers is the widespread availability of local area experts. Gone are the days when you needed to attend an office and shake the hand of your representative to receive world-class service.

Everyone from conveyancers and town planners, to building and pest inspectors can be sourced, rated and commissioned remotely.

But the prime professional for property buyers is undoubtedly the buyer’s agent. We are your key contact when selecting a property from afar.

Buyers’ agents operate for your best interests only. They can draw on their local network to source and secure properties – in many circumstances well before the rest of the market even knows they are for sale.

A buyer’s agent is an essential support for those looking to purchase during these difficult times.

Legal has gone online

There has been a change in the way we can sign and process documents from afar as well. The two prime examples are DocuSign and PEXA.

DocuSign in a platform that allows you to read and sign documents without ever having to physically flip the pages or pick up a pen. You can create a stored signature and use it to execute and transfer contracts and agreements instantaneously.

PEXA is Property Exchange Australia. It is a platform which allows for property settlements to take place digitally. Solicitors and bankers no longer need to physically attend settlements at a specified location. At the time of settlement, they simply log onto the PEXA system and, within seconds, can process the transfer of ownership and funds without ever leaving their desks.

As you can see, remote buying and selling is entirely accessible and widely utilised. In today’s environment, there is no need to put your property plans on hold.

But make your first contact a buyer’s agent. They can guide you through the process and ensure your interests are front and centre, even when you cannot be there yourself.

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