The Importance of Technology for Today's Real Estate Buyers in Ottawa
There is a ton of discussion about becoming more tech savvy for the real estate industry in Ottawa as new websites and apps come out, but is technology really going to help you when looking to buy your condo or home?
Lets take a look at exactly why you will, and should, be using technology as an important tool during your hunt.
You will see properties first.
One of the first tools I will use as a real estate agent with my clients is the "Auto Notification" emails for new listings. This service automatically sends you an email of the new property (and price changes) as soon as the agent publishes the listing on our back end MLS (called MLX). This email can give you advanced notice before other buyers, sometimes up to 24 hours, before it will be uploaded to the public MLS. This is a HUGE advantage, especially if it is a hot property or in high demand.
You will save time.
Recently, the Ottawa Real Estate Board added a feature that allows us agents to upload more property photos (used to be only ten photos). This alone gives you a better idea of the space, and if it is right for you. Plus over the last few years, Video Tours and the horrible looking "visual tours" have started to become more used, which give you an even BETTER feel into the property and how it flows. All of this to help you decide if the property is right for you, faster, without wasting time to see every property first hand.
You will save MORE time.
Real estate and paperwork, used to go hand in hand. A few years ago, you would set a time to meet your agent, then print, sign, scan, send or fax, print, etc. the agreement, each time we needed to make a change. Now, by using program called DocuSign, I can use digital signatures to cut the time to fractions to get a counter offer. Plus, for the clients who spend the weekend at the cottage, boat, or ski hill, they can spend more time enjoying life rather than dealing with paperwork. Minutes rather than hours, not to mention a much better looking agreement at the end. However, in Ontario, digital signatures for the purchase agreement are still not allowed to be used. We can still use them for everything else such as the listing, buyer, ID verification, etc.
As an agent, I am also able to add "attachments" to the listing. These attachments can include great information such as any pre-list building inspections, surveys, floor plans, utility bills, etc. (not every agent uploads this information, so every property is different). Keep in mind they are only accessible by real estate agents who are a member of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, since they usually contain private information. The more information you and your agent have, the better when it comes time to negotiate.
When you head out and see ten or even five listings, it can be difficult to keep track of each specific thing you liked or disliked for every home. It is very easy, very common, and almost expected for first time buyers to have problems keeping track. While I have my own tools and techniques that I have learned and use, every buyer will benefit from keeping notes as they go, to help later when looking back and comparing. Apps or tools like Evernote, can easily become your best friend during the hunt. Allowing you to take photos, videos, emails, notes, attachments and throw it all into an easy to find folder for later use.
Okay, so it's not a guarantee, but the more tech savvy you are as a buyer, the better chances you will have to find that perfect Ottawa home. Can I help you find your home?
Written by Matt Richling
Matt is a licensed salesperson at RE/MAX Metro City Realty in Ottawa, Canada. Matt loves helping sellers and buyers find the perfect home that fits their lifestyle.