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New Trends in Real Estate Tech

Real estate is an ever-changing landscape, and 21st-century technology has only made the market more dynamic. Cutting-edge tech has also changed the way people think about purchasing homes. The days of traditional home-shopping are mostly gone, having been replaced by applications, real estate portals, and automated processes. To get a better understanding of these processes and the newest changes on the horizon, let’s take a look at some of the top trends in real estate tech for 2019.

Virtual Reality

While you may think that virtual reality is just a fun gimmick for gamers, it actually has a lot of interesting and useful applications in business. VR is now a promising way for consumers to be immersed in a product or service, giving them extra incentive to purchase or engage with a service.

This is especially helpful for real estate. Potential home buyers can now virtually tour the property before making a decision, without the need to coordinate with a real estate agent or even get off the couch!

Not only does this make shopping for real estate more convenient, but it also makes it more tangible. As VR continues to advance, various industries are clambering to implement the tech in a way that benefits consumers. After all, would you rather look at a few pictures of your potential home on a website, or put on a VR headset and take a virtual stroll through the property?

Fractional Property Investment

A lot of people want to invest in real estate, but they simply do not have the capital to turn their dream into a reality. Thankfully, this is starting to change, thanks in part to new platforms designed to allow fractional property investments. Essentially, multiple investors purchase a portion of a property and they can profit from any rental income or capital returns if and when the property is sold.

These platforms work to democratize homeownership and ensure that more people get a piece of the real estate pie. Additionally, these platforms make the process of purchasing real estate much simpler and more efficient.

Big Data

Big Data, or the collection of huge amounts of data from various sources, is having a major impact on the business world. Companies can now analyze this data and use algorithms to design optimal business processes and advertising. Though some worry about the implications for privacy, new legislation is underway to ensure that personal data is used in an ethical manner.

Big Data is also extremely useful for agencies. Real estate agents can now analyze visits to their application or website and cater their marketing strategies to relevant demographics. Worried that nobody will show up at your open house? If you’re utilizing the services of a real estate agent who has access to Big Data analytics, you may be able to ensure that the right people know about your listing and increase the chances of closing.

Smart Contracts

While cryptocurrencies are technically in their infancy, they still have the potential to completely change the way you buy and sell property. So-called “smart” contracts are not common-place yet, but they have become more popular as cryptocurrency transactions become more trusted and secure.

Rather than going through the traditional channels to ensure your home sale (or purchase) is above board and legally sound, you can trust that cryptocurrency transactions are safe from fraud. These use blockchain technology to limit access to transactional information and streamline the purchasing process.

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Tips for Paying Off Your Mortgage Early

Paying off a mortgage is one of the most satisfying moments in a homeowner’s life. The average (and most common) length of a mortgage is 30 years, and since most people spend between 40 and 50 years working, this means that the vast majority of your working life will be dedicated to paying for your home. This may sound discouraging, but there are actually plenty of ways to pay off your mortgage early and enjoy your home knowing that you don’t have any more payments to make. Here are a few tips for getting the weight of your mortgage off your shoulders as soon as possible:

Make Bi-Weekly Payments

Most people make one monthly payment for their mortgage and leave it at that. However, if you do the math, bi-weekly payments can actually save you time (and money) in the end. To break it down: there are 52 weeks in a year, so making payments every 2 weeks would result in 26 “half” payments, or 13 full payments. By paying every two weeks, you end up making 13 full payments per year rather than 12. It may not sound like much, but that extra payment can shave years off of your mortgage, and save you some money that would have been paid toward interest in the process.

Refinance Your Mortgage

The prospect of a 30 year mortgage makes many people cringe, so one of the best ways to pay off your mortgage early is to simply adjust the terms of your payments. For example, you can refinance a 30 year mortgage into a 15 year fixed-rate loan to save time and money. Your monthly (or bi-weekly) payments will be significantly higher, but you end up saving thousands on interest by shortening your loan. Since your payments will be higher this way, it is very important to evaluate your budget and make sure that your payments are not cutting into your other expenditures (25% of your total income is generally recommended).

Pay More Upfront

If you’re already several years into your mortgage, this may not be a possibility for you. But if you are currently looking to buy a home, you should definitely consider paying as much as possible upfront. This will shave years off the life of your mortgage, and save you a lot of money in interest. If you have already started a mortgage and only made the minimum monthly payment, consider using any additional funds to make a second large payment to take a chunk out of your loan obligations.

Pay More Each Month

It may seem obvious, but many people choose to make the minimum payment each month so that they can use their money for other things. Obviously, everyone’s budget and circumstances are different, but paying even a few dollars more each month can go a long way. Never pay more than you can afford to, but whenever you have a little extra money in your back account, you should consider putting it toward your monthly payments. You will be glad you did when your mortgage is paid off early!

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