Friday, 18 November 2011

New Home Portals: A Game Changer

The final instalment of our series on home portals will examine the features that make them so valuable, why they have the potential to change the way we think about buying a home and potential future uses as they become a standard.

Transferability is the most important feature of a new home portal. The average number of homes owned in a lifetime is going up due to the rising cost of real estate; in short, people are trading up as they progress through life. The number of exchanges combined with the long life of a home means that information disclosure from one owner to the next will become increasingly important.

In the age of information, content is king. From manufacturer documents, maintenance schedules and contact information for those who worked on the home, content is vital for the home portal to have any kind of impact. The original owner, armed with this information will be able to maintain the value of the home and keep any new home or extended manufacturer warranties they may have intact. This has the potential to impact the resale value of a home.

Universal access to the home's information through a portal can make a difference never before seen with homeownership. A home inspector, with access to the product documents such as operating manuals, maintenance & care guides and warranty information would be able to provide detailed reports as to how the upkeep of the home's components has been done over time and what extended warranties are still intact. This information will also allow the inspector to privide training on how to properly operate and maintain the home based on the manufacture's recommendations.

Looking to the future, home portals could allow standardization in terms of information disclosure, which will give variuos real estate related industries the ability to offer more advanced consumer protection. Insurance companies will be able to calculate replacement & repair costs more accureately based on the reocrds kept in the portal. History records simular to CarFax in the automotive industry will be easy to access for potential purchasers. As noted above, home inspectors could give a far more thorough home inspection and analysis with more information at their disposal. Standardization is the first step toward consumers having more tools at their disposal to make more educated buying decisions.

Transferability, information sharing, universal access and standardization; when you combine these attributes, a clearer picture of what is to come starts to appear. The only question now is "when?"
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