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How technology is changing the way we purchase real estate: report

Most people already research real estate properties online, but technology is set to take over much of the real estate agent’s role, according to a global report from HSBC, Beyond the Bricks: The future of home buying.

The survey of more than 9,000 people in nine countries found that:

1. Canadians are among the most digitally active home hunters, with 90% using online channels to research their recent property purchase. (First is the U.K., at 93%; global average: 83%). Experts suggest that new virtual reality tools will allow buyers to view more homes, narrow down their choice and then “live” in a virtual version for several days to get a feel for the place.

2. Banks and mortgage brokers are still the most trusted sources of mortgage advice (41% and 35% respectively), but almost three quarters (74%) of recent home buyers in Canada researched finance options online, similar to the global average.

3. The real estate agent has traditionally played a key role in the purchasing phase of the process, but this is shifting online: more than a quarter (29%) of recent home buyers in Canada started talking to a real estate agent online (global average: 31%).

4. Just over one in four (27%) of those surveyed in Canada say that dealing with the many people involved (real estate agents, lawyers, sellers and developers) was the biggest pain point in the home-buying process, followed by fees (23%), negotiating the price (22%) and understanding the legal paperwork (20%). (Global averages: 37%, 28%, 29% and 24%, respectively).