Has the internet changed the way we invest in properties?

The internet has managed to creep its way into nearly all facets of our lives. Anything and everything you can think of will have been affected by the online world in some way. Take Blockbuster for example, a thriving and innovative viewing concept drowned by the behemoths that are Netflix. The same can be seen in the music industry, CD’s were a phenomena some thought would be the pinnacle of technological advancements, Mp3’s begged to differ. Now, music in a physical form is unheard of (geddit “unheard of”), the domain is ruled by instant streaming and high speed downloads.

With so many fields being revolutionised by the internet, has the property sector held its own? Of course not! All divisions sooner or later succumb to the overwhelming force that is the internet. However, that is not always necessarily a bad thing. The online-verse while making some businesses redundant has drastically improved the consumer’s experience, and the same can be seen in property, particularly property investments.

Gone are the days, where investing in properties is heavily reliant on being well connected in the real estate world, when a call from your friendly estate agent notified you of the hottest deals. Property investments have dramatically changed in the past decade, nearly every step of the investment process differs from its preceding method. But what is actually different? Several online businesses have come to market that either assist or automate the way we can invest in properties, while the notion remains the same, it’s been made that much easier.

Here are a few platforms that have transformed the way we invest in properties.

Crowdfunding

In literal sense, crowdfunding is fundraising for a cause or project by a large number of people. However, property experts on have put their own spin on things. In recent years sites have emerged which allow users to invest as little as £10 to become one of the many owners of a property. PropertyMoose, offer a scheme where investors are paid a monthly income when their property is being rented. These systems have allowed anyone to become a property investor rather than the affluent few.

Online Estate Agents

While many investments include purchasing and letting a property, buying for a quick flip has seen to be very lucrative. However, a rather imposing negative of selling the property are the extortionate commissions that estate agents take, which can sometimes cut into the profit you would be making on the sale.

This too has changed. Online estate agents like CastleSmart, offer a one off fee usually less than £1000 to list and promote properties on the market, this price is considerably lower than the 1.5% minimum traditional agents ask.

Property Portals

Over 90% of all property searches begin online and this is due to the rise of property portals. Rightmove and Zoopla lead the pack in property listings, no longer do you visit the shop window of your local estate agency, if you’re looking to buy a property this is where you go. With these companies gaining such popularity it has removed the need for an estate agent in the buying process, you’re able to find and purchase properties without the assistance of an estate agent.

Advice

There are courses, books published and weekly magazines all offering advice on property investments. While these options are great, they’re not comparable to amount of resources that can now be found online and are usually completely free. This had made it possible for the masses to be educated on the topic of property investment.

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