Real Estate and Consumer Behavior
There is one major issue that keeps individuals from purchasing Real Estate with a consumer available on the internet. The pictures are provided by the seller and their agent to make a home look bigger and better than the reality. Without being able to set foot inside the home and see with your own eyes every nook and corner of a home, one is unable to truly decide if a home is ideal or not. There is no trust established between buyer and seller which are essential in any purchase.
With a home purchase, the trust and lack of “touch” is greater than 40% (Hawkins & Mothersbaugh, 2010). There are other mitigating reasons why more homes are not purchased solely on the internet. One of those reasons is concerns with security of the purchaser’s valuable information. These individuals tend to be more security conscious of identity theft. When purchasing a home, the loan amount tends to be a large number which creates additional fears of information security.
To purchase a home, one must have a good credit rating in order to be able to receive a favorable interest rate. If there is a leak of information or a hacker is able to view the information online, then the purchaser’s goals will fail and a costly stress will begin to right the wrong. Real Estate on the internet is one of the trends that make consumers more knowledgeable when making large purchases. Under the research aspect, there are sites available such as RedFin that will look up a specific area and email you when a new house is listed within your set price, size, and amenities.
Zillow is a website available to show the trends that are currently happening from mortgage rates to home prices. The biggest change in Real Estate purchase and sales is not these exterior websites that make information easy, but the site which the Real Estate community uses is now available to use for the common person, the MLS. The MLS controls all information such as prices, sales, holds, tax information, locations, and much more information.
There are some information such as phone number of seller and showing requirements that are not available to the common public, but the vast amount of information allows consumers to browse the internet and help their Realtor do their job by finding available homes without spending hours in a car while spending money on gas trying to find homes for sale in a desirable area. There may be a change in the way some purchase homes in the future. There may be a shift to online purchases if agents and brokers can create the trust the consumer needs to make the purchase.
With the main concern gone, consumers may be more apt to make purchases site unseen. Currently there are some ways to ensure the website is secure with information. The first is looking at the URL area. Once the site is secure to receive information, the site will change from http to https. Another form is owning a security program that creates a firewall around your personal computer that will delete cookies, and warn you if there is any kind of bug or virus trying to enter the computer.
There are even certificates or trust marks that many websites show to ensure that the site is actually the site the browser is trying to purchase from, not a phished site. The problem with all of these is that they are up to the consumer. Not all consumers at this point are adept enough with technology to feel secure in these methods. Even though the responsibility of ensuring security mainly lands on the consumer with the website only needing to maintain their secure server, there does seem to be a shift in thought.
Recently, a professional named Scott Charney shared a vision called Collective Defense in which Microsoft endorses as well as supported and analyzed in Forbes by a CIO for British Telecom. There are a few main points that would have to be adjusted in the general thinking of internet security and privacy in order to make a more secure process. Some of those points are Effectiveness and Ability to Implement on Scale, Balancing Internet Access and Security (Charney, 2011).
Although there are mixed reviews, a collaboration of ideas and an expansion of knowledge needs to be shared in order for Real Estate to branch further into e-commerce. Bibliography Charney, S. (2011, Febuary 13). Advancing the Idea of Collective Action to Improve Internet Security and Privacy. Retrieved Febuary 15, 2011, from Microsoft: http://blogs. technet. com/b/microsoft_on_the_issues/archive/2011/02/15/advancing-the-idea-of-collective-action-to-improve-internet-security-and-privacy. aspx