Online property information
In recent years online property information and photography has improved dramatically. In addition to the vast information available, websites are faster and designed to work on most devices, including phones. You have access to maps, aerial photos, crime statistics, school ratings, and the list goes on. With so much information online, there is really nothing left to the imagination. There are even some real estate agents who will do live or recorded video showings for you. Video showings are the closest thing to being there.
Recent advancements of electronics, means that cameras and cell phones have become more accessible to everyone, as well as smaller, lighter, and easier to use. These improvements have greatly benefited home buyers in ways you may not have thought about. Agents can now easily provide high quality, professional video tours of homes that they have listed, either directly to a client or by posting on their YouTube channel.
A video showing is often confused with a virtual tour, but is actually a different thing altogether. They are both used to show the subject property, but the virtual tour is a polished marketing presentation, where as the video showing has a more off the cuff, “I am going to use a camera as I walk through the house to show you what it would be like if you were actually with me” feel. In fact, the agent can stream the video showing live to you, and you can direct him to turn this way or that way, open closets and doors, zoom in or out, and catch all of the features that interest you.
Online transaction management
Cloud based storage systems have become more and more advanced, making them faster and more reliable, real estate is just one of the industries that has benefited from this. Agents can now store all of their documents for transaction in the cloud, even complete forms and request electronic signatures from their clients. This advancement in technology has made completing, signing, storing, and sharing documents related to a transaction easy for all of the parties involved. Documents can be executed in a very short amount of time and there is no loss of quality that was associated with scanning or faxing documents multiple times. An added benefit is that electronic signatures are often made “tamper proof”, if a document is changed after it is signed then the signatures are erased, and each signature is even tracked to the exact time, date, and location that it was placed.
Electronic wire transfer of funds
The transfer of money from location to location and from country to country has improved in recent years and is becoming much easier as technologies improve and governments streamline the verification processes. There are still safeguards that you must follow. You should always follow the precise instruction from the sending and receiving banking institutions. The bottom line is this, whether you are transferring money to the bank down the street or on the other side of the world, the process is basically the same.
Remote closing of escrow
It is not uncommon for international customers and other remote purchasers to be absent at the time of closing. In these cases closing of escrow can still occur seamlessly. Documents are sent out for signature, along with detailed instructions, and a return overnight shipping label. The documents are then signed, notarized if needed, scanned and returned electronically, and the originals shipped. As soon as all documents have been received electronically the property is considered to be closed, although funds will not be released from escrow without the original documents.
Within the US many title companies offer a service that schedules an agent to perform the remote closing process for you, as a buyer all you need to do is be present and sign as needed.