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If the COVID-19 crisis has taught homebuilders anything, it’s that adaptation and agility are necessary to survive. As people are forced to keep distant from each other, every industry has been pushed into embracing digitization and technology to keep business afloat. However, the homebuilding industry isn’t known for being at the forefront of technology adoption, but it is becoming clear that the technological shift is unavoidable. However, there are countless technologies that are at transitioning the home buying process online. Technologies have become so advanced, that it is now possible to buy a home without even stepping foot in a model or even meeting with a notary. Could you imagine… making the biggest purchase of your life without even seeing the home with your own two eyes? But, with the advancement of technology and tools such as VR and interactive floor plans, homebuyers are increasingly confident in purchasing their home in the digital space. 

Although some homebuilders are reluctant to technological change, the current health crisis has made these digital tools a necessity, which has resulted in a more permanent shift towards digitization in the industry. At Openhouse.ai we are passionate about revolutionizing the home buying experience and utilizing the latest and greatest of industry technology to empower builders and buyers through every stage of their transaction. So, what does the future of digital home sales entail? Here’s the breakdown.

ONLINE FINANCING

Builders today have the opportunity to provide a seamless homebuying experience, all online.  Arguably, the most critical component in purchasing a home is financing. However, revolutionary technology allows for the loan process to be fully automated with blockchain. Organizations like Propy are removing the barriers to real estate by transitioning these transactions entirely online, and ultimately making the closing process faster, easier, and more secure. Propy’s powerful consumer interface will ultimately revolutionize the way homebuyers finance their homes and empower buyers, sellers, and agents to fully complete transactions entirely in the digital space.

VIRTUAL SHOWINGS

Virtual home tours have become a staple in home shopping since the outbreak of the pandemic. As 51% of people buy homes they found online, integrating VR tours seems like the obvious next step. These online tours can be elevated with the most recent technology such as Matterport’s 3D Virtual Reality tours that provide homebuilders with an accessible way to provide immersive VR experiences. This technology enables builders and real estate agents to use Matterport’s cameras to take panoramic photos, in combination with its associated technology, to seamlessly combine the footage for an immersive experience. Some platforms even provide virtual agents that will guide virtual home tours for potential buyers. VR provides unique perspectives, that allows buyers to alter the lighting, and adjust the time of day to provide a well-rounded viewing experience that can only be offered in the digital space. Virtual tours are helping buyers become more confident in their choices by virtually immersing themselves in their future home, all with the press of a button.

CLOSING SALES ONLINE

The real challenge in transitioning the home buying process to digital isn’t the showings, but rather closing the sale. Many documents that require a notary, and traditionally this process had to be done in person. However, due to the digital shift of the home buying process during the COVID-19 pandemic, some states have legalized online notarization. Most recently, remote online notarization (RON) is only permitted in Wisconsin, Maryland, and Iowa, however, other states are likely to follow. This process will reduce wasted paper, time, and human error, and ultimately, allows customers to close anytime, anywhere, and on their terms. Also, amidst this pandemic, the process of closing on a mortgage is completely transformed in the digital space. Companies like eOriginal that provide digital transaction solutions for mortgages have become increasingly popular in the real estate industry. As of 2018, eOriginal has launched a division that specializes in closing on a mortgage which has allowed them to adapt to the changing environment. It is evident that digital solutions on the closing side have significantly piqued since the outbreak of the pandemic, and the rise of these solutions will only continue to rise.

THE FUTURE OF HOMEBUILDING

Traditionally, real estate is an out-dated and antiqued process that relies on endless paperwork, in person-meetings and notarizing countless stacks of paperwork. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant disruption in the real estate market, forcing all key players, including homebuilders to adjust and adapt to the new digital age. 

Although the current health crisis has accelerated the push towards digital, it was just a matter of time for the future of home sales to transition online. Due to the influx of millennial buyers, technology is a focal point in the decision-making process, as this demographic has grown up with increasing access to data and information. Millennial homebuyers are now accounting for 35% of home sales which has pushed homebuilders to increase access to information and better utilize technology to support this segment. Also, millennials desire effective use of time and increased efficiency. This translates to less time wasted touring countless homes in person and transitioning to digital options such as 3D Virtual Tours. Beyond just this demographic, our entire society values immediacy above all else. This shift in culture will have lasting effects on the way home builders operate, and ultimately sell homes.

SUMMARY

The future of home sales is dynamic, revolutionary, and ultimately digital. With the available technology including digital visualization tools like VR and customizable designs like interactive floor plans, buyers are feeling more confident in purchasing their homes entirely online. This transaction is streamlined in the online space with technology that processes loans with automated blockchain and cutting-edge technology that enables online notarization to close sales digitally.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for the inevitable shift towards digital, but is this the future of home sales? At OpenHouse.ai we believe it is. We are passionate about revolutionizing the home buying experience and embracing revolutionary technology that aligns with that perspective. From virtual tours to online notarization, we are excited to integrate with all of your existing platforms, and the new technologies your firm is exploring. As we are seeing the shift towards digital home sales, it is clear this exciting new technology is bringing homebuilding into the digital realm, however, at OpenHouse.ai we are taking things one step further by bringing this industry into the world of artificial intelligence. Our AI-powered marketing platform empowers home builders and buyers to make data-driven decisions. Our robust platform drives more qualified buyers and a higher volume of foot traffic to your sales centres by using adaptable experiences, nudges, recommendations and a host of other tools. By optimizing your online presence, your organization will be better equipped to operate in this new digital marketplace. The future of home sales is here, and OpenHouse.ai is excited to forge this digital path with you.

– The OpenHouse.ai Team

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