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How the internet changed the home buying process

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Technology has changed the way we eat, shop and travel, and it's changing the way we buy property too.

Go back ten years and most Australians couldn't have imagined paying for anything with a tap of their phone. Fast forward a decade, and you can even use your smartphone to apply for a home loan.

It would be fair to say most of us use the internet to browse property listings and buy homes these days. In fact, 98% of home buyers use the internet to search for a home, while 76% used their mobiles, according to a recent US study by the National Association of Realtors Research Group.

Here's how technology has changed the way we buy a home, from the start of the home buying process to the end.

1. It's changed the way we view property listings

The days of looking at properties in the pages of the newspaper or in the windows of the local real estate office are nearly behind us. These days, we're more likely to look at online listings on real estate websites or apps.

According to the same US study, 44% of buyers looked online for homes up for sale compared to just 1% of people who did it the old school way and looked in the newspaper. Of those who bought a property, 50% said they found their home via the internet, compared with 1% who found their home in the newspaper.

It doesn't stop there. Virtual reality is making its way into the real estate industry, allowing interested buyers to 'walk through' a property from the comfort of their couch. Empty houses can even be staged with virtual furniture and decorations with the magic of modern technology.

2. It's changed the way we compare loans

Online comparison tools make it easier than ever to compare mortgage products and interest rates. As technology evolves, the way we interact with financial services is also impacting the home loan process.

Assessing whether a home loan application fit a lender's requirements used to be a manual process that took days. Now, pre-approval can happen almost instantly online. Technology is also allowing lenders to update the standards by which they assess whether or not they think a borrower can afford a loan in real time.

Providing all the documentation needed for a home loan can be tedious, but digital applications and document submissions are making applying for a home loan easier. Our onTrack mobile app makes application all the way through to settlement quick and efficient. With onTrack, you can book an appointment with a lending specialist, upload, review and approve documents, and track the progress of your home loan.

Online lenders like loans.com.au also offer lower interest rates and fees than some of the bigger banks. This is because we don't have the same corporate structure or physical branches that traditional banks do, which means we can turn these savings into lower rates on our loan products and pass them on to the consumer.

3. It's made conveyancing easier

Conveyancing (the process of transferring ownership of a property to the new owner) involves a lot of paperwork. Conveyancing includes the preparation, verification and lodgement of a range of important legal documents, conducting searches on the title of a property and arranging settlement. 

As you can imagine, this typically involves quite a bit of paperwork. E-conveyancing provides a quick and simple way to complete the exchange of property by reducing the amount of manual processes and paperwork. 

4. It's made managing home loans easier

In the dark days before the internet, borrowers had to go in to the bank or ring up on the phone if they wanted to manage their home loan. Now, there are apps that help you manage your account so you can essentially do it from anywhere you want - be it from your couch or on the beach.

loans.com.au's onTrack app allows you to apply and manage your home loan all from the comfort of your couch. The app allows customers to stay on top of their home loan application and breeze through to approval and settlement. 

loans.com.au's Smart Money app allows customers to view their account balances and transactions, transfer money and pay bills, manage their loan repayments and apply for additional loan funds. 

About the article

As Australia's leading online lender, loans.com.au has been helping people into their dream homes and cars for more than 10 years. Our content is written and reviewed by experienced financial experts. The information we provide is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives or needs. If you'd like to chat to one of our lending specialists about a home or car loan, contact us on Live Chat or by calling 13 10 90.

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