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Corporate Commentary

Should You Risk Buying Property Through Online Portals?

Realtor Showing Property

The e-commerce sector has proven to be a blessing during the current times. In this era, the lives of most people are chaotic; leaving little time for meeting some basic needs of life. Thereby, people love the idea of living on the go. And e-commerce platforms help facilitate this kind of lifestyle.

The easy availability of high-end smartphones and quality broadband connections has allowed more people to access online portals pertaining to various business sectors. Be it shopping for clothing or home appliances, a significant number of people find it easier to buy online.

The popularity of e-commerce has paved its way into a several important business industries. And one of these is the real estate sector. Online real estate portals are still part of an emerging market, but there are a few reputed websites working around the world.

Why are Online Real Estate Portals in Demand?

At any given time, a lot of people are looking to buy or rent houses. But it is not an easy process because there are various factors to consider.

Traditionally, people will consult a real estate broker—probably one that specialises in the area they are aiming to live in. With the help of this expert, the client will pursue several options and finalise a property that meets their needs. Even after this, there is a lot of paper work and financial transactions to take care of.

Nowadays, most people don’t have this much time to spare, since they work 8- to 9-hour jobs. Therefore, people have realised the need for searching properties online. They can simply filter through the options suited to their needs, and still keep going with their daily schedules. Of course, they will still have to meet with the broker of the selected property and complete some paper work. But the online real estate portals considerably shorten the time incurred in the process, and minimise stress on part of the client too.

Is there Risk in Buying/Renting Properties Online?

While e-commerce has eased a lot of problems for busy people, there still happens to be an element of hesitation. Not all e-commerce platforms are reliable, and many people have had poor experiences. Customers can’t actually be fully aware of what they are buying, and become disappointed when they don’t receive what they visualised, or was advertised on the respective website. This hesitation increases when you have a lot of money at stake, like when investing in property.

We can safely assume that there are not a significant number of well-established and highly reputed online real estate portals, as this is still an emerging market. This is especially true for developing countries.

However, the ones that have been working for some years now, along with a reputed status, have minimised the risk for property buyers. Consider Zameen.com, which works in Pakistan. Working since 2006, it has established its repute as the country’s largest online real estate portal.

Here are a few issues that make people hesitate about using online property portals and how the websites counter it:

Authenticity of Property Information

Real estate portals have property listings that interested buyers can filter through. Real estate brokers, developers, or the property owners themselves upload to these listings. Reputed and reliable portals have a certain internal process to verify the information they advertise. However, there is still some chance of faulty credibility.

The best way is to identify a few options that suit your needs, talk to the listing’s owner, and take as much information you need. Based on this information, narrow down your options even more. And then conduct site visits to tangibly verify the information you received online.

This process may seem like a hassle, but it is still better and less time-consuming than the traditional method.

Broker Fee

One of the reasons why some people may prefer online property purchase and renting is to avoid brokerage. So if a particular portal is connecting you to brokers only, then of course, the clients don’t feel at much advantage.

The up and running online property portals have a reasonable amount of listings that come directly from the owners. There may not be a definite way of determining this, but one can always contact on the numbers provided and find out. In a few cases, a listing will specifically mention that the owner is the one advertising.

Therefore, there is a reasonable chance that you can save on brokerage. And even if you have to pay it, you can probably negotiate the amount.

The Right Agent

In the traditional method of property searching, a client isn’t likely to go to more than two agents. At maximum, they may consult three. Meanwhile, searching online, you will have access to multiple agents working in a particular area.

Now, this seems like a positive factor to some, but others consider it counter-productive since they will have to invest the same amount of time finding the right agent.

It is true that you may have to spend some time on the portal, but you must remember that you can do this all at your own convenience. Additionally, there are filters that narrow down your results when applied. So not only you actually save time, you are also doing so in a comfortable manner.

In conclusion, we can say that yes, there is always some risk when buying or renting property through online real estate portals. Mainly, this risk pertains to the transparency of the information provided. Nowadays, the highly ranked portals are taking multiple measures to mitigate this risk. Although, most of them not claim to have 100% authentic information, they do advertise using certain procedures, tools, and resources that verify the information displayed.

However, it is highly advised that you follow through yourself on properties you are interested in. And even these properties should be part of a narrowed down list after thorough research on the portals.

Good luck with your property hunting!


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Emma London
Emma London is a columnist and member of the ​CEOWORLD magazine editorial board. She's one of the magazine's founding editors and leads global newsroom coverage and management. Having lived in five different countries — the United States, Canada, Australia, Spain, and the United Kingdom - Emma is obsessed with how tech empowers people from all walks of life. She is fluent in Spanish.
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