Speed isn’t the only factor pointing to a digitised future for homebuying
Richard Bell

Are we heading for an all-online homebuying process?

Is the long and often-frustrating process of buying a house set to become much simpler by moving online?

According to new research from HSBC, current buyer behaviours and attitudes suggest that the entire process – from finding a suitable property to securing a mortgage and completing the transaction – could eventually be carried out over the internet.

Today, the vast majority (93%) of UK home buyers use online channels to carry out their property search. Over half (51%) of those who bought recently said they started speaking to an estate agent online, not over the phone or in person.

An entirely online homebuying process could slash the time it normally takes from weeks or months to just a few days.

Artificial intelligence, HSBC said, could potentially speed the process up by analysing a buyer’s personal data, assessing lending criteria and narrowing options down.

But speed isn’t the only factor pointing to a digitised future for homebuying.

The biggest bugbear for 34% of those surveyed was having to deal with the many people involved in the transaction (think estate agents, solicitors, sellers, developers). Carrying out the process online would limit the number of people to deal with, making both the buyer and the seller feel more in control.

Is the automation offered by AI really a solution though? People remain skeptical about the ability of AI to provide a decent service, especially on the finance side.

Millennials surveyed pointed to mortgage providers (41%) and family members (46%) as the most trusted sources of mortgage advice. Conversely, just 14% are open to the use of chatbots and other AI-led advisors.

Would you buy a home entirely online if you had the option? Let us know in the comments.

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