According to data from the National Association of Realtors, an overwhelming majority of homebuyers search for properties online and then purchase their home through a real estate agent.
But, if real estate search site BuzzBuzzHome has its way, that’s about to change.
For the past few years, the online searchable catalogue has been offering potential homebuyers extensive information on new-construction homes or condos for sale, including projects in their planning stages, under construction or recently completed.
As with online classified site Kijiji, builders or developers can pay to have their projects showcased on the site, ensuring the listing receives a bit more attention.
Instant Purchase With The Push Of A Button
To fuel the engine further, BuzzBuzzHome recently announced plans to launch a “buy now” button, allowing homebuyers to skip busy sales centres and instantly purchase one of these listings with nothing more than a credit card.
After choosing your condo and reviewing the related documents online, you need only digitally sign the purchase agreement and wait for the developer to sign off.
The property is then secured with a deposit – typically $5,000 – paid online with your credit card. Once the transaction goes through, the property is yours, providing you can secure a mortgage and carry the subsequent freight, of course.
What could be easier? And, really, why would you want to spend any time at all on what will likely be one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make?
Are You Sure About That?
All of us have made an impulse purchase somewhere along the way, whether it’s a nice-looking car or a post-holiday gym membership. But there’s a big difference between buying a home online and ordering a new golf bag from Golf Town.
Don’t get me wrong. Even though I’m a boomer, I’m all for potentially disruptive technologies. Uber’s focus on fast and seamless transportation is forcing traditional taxi companies to reinvent themselves – and Airbnb is doing the same for the hotel industry. Why should the real estate business be any different?
For commissioned realtors, that means figuring out new ways to add value in an “instant information” world that’s dramatically different than the one they once knew.
But that’s not what’s happening here. Buying a new condo unit this way might seem like a fairly straightforward proposition – but it really isn’t.
Also read: Should You Buy a Condo on Concept?>
Due Diligence Continues To Be Important
Often, homebuyers don’t bring in a lawyer until a deal is almost done. But there’s merit in getting some guidance much earlier – particularly when buying directly from the builder.
Developers often redesign the layout of units as they go, reacting to challenges during construction. Without an experienced lawyer taking a look, are you sure you’re going to have any wiggle room here?
If they’re late in completing the complex, for instance, you can be forced to agree to delays, or to move in even though other units may still be under construction. What happens if those units stay empty?
Again, a lawyer can help here. By specifying a fixed date of completion as part of your negotiations, you may have options should the developer miss the agreed upon completion date.
Who Else Seems To Be Buying?
Purchasing a new condo is not only a business agreement with the developer, but also all the other folks buying into the project. You need to know who they are, and you won’t uncover that information online.
Does it look like the units are mostly owner-occupied, for instance, or are they going to be rented out? Find out if your monthly condo fees are realistic, what they include, who else is paying them, and when they’re likely to increase.
What about the neighbourhood itself? What’s the view going to look like? Are there railroad tracks nearby or major power lines? Have you studied the traffic patterns?
Also read: The 7-Year Itch – Is Your Condo Built to Last?>
Really, what’s the rush? There’s always another house to buy. It’s just too easy to end up browsing and clicking for less than you bargained for.