human interaction for property buyers

Is Human Interaction Becoming Less Valuable for Property Buyers?

Ajanta and Sarthak are a young couple, living in a rented apartment in South Kolkata. While they both want to have a home they can call their ‘own’, the biggest challenge for them is: Time. Ajanta is a freelance web designer who works with clients across several time-zones. Sarthak, on the other hand, is the typical overworked IT professional. When both of them eventually decided to look for a home, their obvious choice was to search on the Internet rather than contacting the real estate agents for the simple fact that the former offered a lot of flexibility and a wider scope to explore the market and compare the prices.

The Internet has Transformed the Way We Do Things

Over the past few years, the connected world has massively changed the way we shop and do other things. Even a decade back, ordering food, clothes, furniture, and groceries with a few taps on the mobile phone would have seemed like an animated scene coming straight out of a science fiction movie, but today, it is a reality. Not just in the shopping domain, the human interaction is becoming passé in every other form of business as well. Everything is undergoing a transformational change, a paradigm shift that is distinctly visible. Clearly, there’s a ‘tech-takeover’, and we are all a party to it.

Though the Internet can’t be totally held responsible for the ‘dehumanizing’ process of real estate, still, there is no doubt that it has an intense effect on this asset class. The internet, if not altogether, has certainly eroded the ‘human touch’, which, in earlier days, was present throughout the search-to-purchase process of a property. Although, total digitization of property transactions, considering its specific attributes, seems implausible, nevertheless, there is no way to deny that digital platforms are steadily curtailing the ‘face-to-face’ interactions in recent times. Let’s delve deeper to take a closer look at how things are shaping up for the property buyers.

How Real Estate Purchases Are Changing

Various studies reveal human intervention is almost becoming outmoded in the ‘search and discovery’ stage of property purchase. As most home buyers today are visiting property portals on their mobiles and desktops to search and compare properties from the comfort of their homes, the physical involvement is increasingly becoming negligible. For those who are tech-savvy, there is no need for human interaction in the ‘search and discovery’ phase, as there are numerous property portals that help buyers in identifying and comparing properties based on a number of parameters including size, budget, location, availability, and accessibility.

The ‘comparing’ stage, however, hasn’t entirely discarded the need for human interaction yet, as home buyers still discuss with family, friends, and colleagues to obtain first-hand knowledge about property options they are considering to buy. Digital mediums are also playing a crucial role at this stage, as many buyers are heavily relying on social media and online forums these days to acquire information about the reputation of a developer, the price of a property, or the social infrastructure of a locality. Nowadays, some websites of the developers and aggregators also have facilities for online payment and booking.

Once the search and discovery phase is over, and a property is shortlisted, the property buyers then contact a real estate developer or consultant to finalize the purchase. At this point, the home buyer finally comes out of the virtual world for the first time, for a ‘face-to-face’ interaction with the property consultant or developer. However, if there’s any hesitation regarding the agreement or transaction process, the buyer goes back into the e-world again for more information and clarification.

Human Interaction Can Never be Fully Eliminated from the Property Purchase Process

In real estate purchase, the investment is significantly high and there is a lot of paperwork involved. Therefore, human involvement in the final stages of property purchase is more or less imperative. Moreover, a property is a lifetime purchase for many, so end-users, generally, prefer a face-to-face discussion with the developer or a knowledgeable property consultant before entering into an agreement. On the other hand, a direct interaction also boosts the confidence and comfort level of the property buyers, which is why we still find the offices of real estate developers and consultants pretty crowded even in this digital era.

Practically, human involvement gets more and more heightened as the buyer moves closer towards the endpoint of his purchase journey. This is because, in property purchases, there are a number of legal, financial, and regulatory issues to look into and take care of.  To sum it up, while digitization has certainly made significant inroads into the property market and lessened the human touch, still, completely eliminating real people from real estate won’t be possible now, or ever, even in the future.

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