National Technology Day falls on 11th May in India, and there is, well, an explosive reason behind it. It was on the same day in 1998 that India successfully carried out the Operation Shakti nuclear missile test firing process.
But what is the connection between National Technology Day and buying a home? Whether you are looking to buy, sell or rent a home, the adoption of technology has revolutionised the way you go about it. It is hard to believe that barely a few years ago we were dependent on newspaper classifieds, real estate brokers, and word-of-mouth advertising to find a house for ourselves.
We are no longer stuck waiting for phone calls from errant agents or spending days blindly following brokers around neighbourhoods looking at houses we would not have bothered with if we had seen pictures beforehand.
Property technology or proptech is still a nascent field in India. It has been slow to find a footing in a country where real estate is riddled with legal complexities. But the growth has been steady. According to a JLL report, India registered 77 proptech deals, the highest recorded in the Asia Pacific region since 2013.
So what has changed? In honour of National Technology Day, we look at some of the factors that have made the process of acquiring a home smoother and more efficient.
The arrival of online home listings which served as a meeting point for buyers and sellers was one of the first things that completely changed the way buyers and renters approached the house hunting process. Armed with all the essential information like schools, hospitals, and other facilities nearby, as well as details about the neighbourhood buyers could now form an opinion about their preferences even before they visited the house.
It also reduced the dependency on exploitative middlemen and brokers and, of course, saved an inordinate amount of time. With the addition of mobile apps for all these sites, the task has only become simpler.
Showcasing property virtually
Tired of going around visiting houses that looked good in pictures but not in reality? Then why not just see the house from the comfort of your home? Virtual reality is now no longer solely relegated to the gaming domain and is now used across industries including real estate. VR technology now allows people to get a feel for prospective homes with walkthroughs that give you perspectives from inside out. Literally.
Moreover, you can also see multiple homes in a matter of minutes, which considerably saves time and effort. As you ‘walk’ around the house, similar to the pegman in Google Maps, you get an immersive and three-dimensional 360-degree view of the entire property enabling you to decide if it is even worth visiting or not.
These virtual tours benefit real estate agents as well with potential buyers being narrowed down to the ones who are genuinely interested in the particular property. For sellers, adding a virtual tour to their home listing reduces the frequency at which they have to move out of the house every time viewing is scheduled.
The addition of augmented reality or AR technology takes it a step further. Augmented reality enables you to see your house before it’s built or plan the interiors for an unfurnished apartment. You get floor plans that you can rotate and zoom in to see finer details, and even select furnishings and design to bring your ideas to life.
Getting an aerial view
Ok, so you have walked all around your virtual house both inside and outside. But how about having an overview of the entire development? That’s what drones give you. Using drone photography is a unique and compelling way to stoke the interest of prospective buyers by giving as much visual information as possible. Drone photography is particularly useful for large properties or estates as it provides the viewer with a comprehensive overview of the sprawl.
But it’s not just for the wealthy who go in for properties with swimming pools and tennis courts or large green open spaces. Drone photography works for just about any kind of property only because it gives more of an intimate feel when combined with AR and VR technologies. Imagine if you could see your entire house complete with its interiors, a view of the whole apartment complex, and even your neighbourhood all before the first brick has been laid on your plot of land! Mind-blowing, isn’t it?
The explosion of big data
Big data was a much bandied about word until about a year ago. Much like how AI and VR are hot topics of conversation today. Big data might be slowly being phased out of conversations, but it continues to be as relevant as ever especially in real estate.
A combination of big data, machine learning, and geolocation technologies are helping property firms and agents understand exactly what home buyers are looking for. It can undeniably improve efficiency, and sharpen personalisation for homebuyers while enabling property service firms to enhance customer service.
Confused about which bank offers the best home loan? Or want some advice on rates of interest?
The advent of various online tools for calculating and comparing property prices, and determining the best mortgage rates among others have changed the way we approach the process of buying a house.