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Posted in: Buying a home

Then and now: How buying a home has changed in the digital age

Digital home buying

When you think of buying a home, you may still have images of how the process worked in the past: piles of paperwork and red tape, a variety of service providers that didn’t work together. But as we’ve all become more connected, so too has the process of becoming a homeowner. Here, we outline all the ways that modern technology allows you to save time, money and paper as you buy a new home.

A more collaborative search -- from anywhere, any time

Then: Real estate agents received books of listings from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) every two weeks, and agents and their clients had to pore through to find the homes that met their criteria. In markets with high turnover, the books were quickly out of date and agents found themselves unable to provide the best service for their eager clients.

Now: The birth of the Internet has made searching for homes a task that can be done from anywhere, at any time. Plus, Edina Realty’s home search is available on our desktop site, or on our apps made for Apple or Android devices. Each search is updated with the latest listing data, to protect you from falling in love with a house that’s about to be sold.

But it’s not just where and when you can search for homes that has changed—it’s how. New online features allow you to collaborate with your real estate agent to set up showings or to share favorite listings with friends and family. From within each property page, you can also determine the estimated monthly mortgage payment of a home so you can stay within your assumed budget.

A new era of partnership

Then: Many different partners are needed to finalize a home purchase. In the past, a buyer’s agent would often work with separate lending companies, title companies, and would secure homeowner’s insurance and a home warranty from different partners.

Now: As the world becomes more connected, it only makes sense that real estate partners and systems should be connected, too. Edina Realty Home Services offers brokerage, mortgage, title, homeowner’s insurance and home warranty services all under one roof, making the process easier for homebuyers. In a transaction where the buyer uses both Edina Realty Mortgage and Edina Realty Title, the mortgage closing department will submit an approved loan package to the title division, which prepares the closing documents and gives the buyer their final purchase cost. When a lender requires the purchase of homeowner’s insurance, Edina Realty Insurance offers the best policy and a streamlined system for purchasing and signing in advance of closing. When buyers want to protect their new investment against general wear and tear, they can work with Edina Realty Home Warranty.

A focus on security and privacy through online forms

Then: Buyers had to sign hundreds of pages of documents, and everything from the mortgage application to the preparation of the closing documents was sent via snail mail or fax. This process was time-consuming and subject to human error (boxes or signature lines could easily be missed). Additionally, title companies and lenders were at the mercy and security of the mail or fax services they used, making it difficult to guarantee the safe transit of the documents and personal information.

Now: The first step to closing on your home is to prepare the initial closing documents, which include personal information, details of your future property and contact information. To best protect against any security breach, Edina Realty Title uses a proprietary system, Secure Home Forms™, to transfer this information through a secure server. Additionally, Edina Realty Title recommends a bank wire (rather than a live check) as the method of payment for any funds required at closing. Buyers can request that the transfer be for the amount specified in the most recent Good Faith Estimate from their loan officer or lender.

Not all of the real estate industry has adapted to include modern-day secure document transfer, but Edina Realty Title is leading the charge for the title industry.

A focus on the buyer

The Internet has brought new standards of communication and convenience, but it’s also brought back focus to the user.

Similarly, our goal is to offer you, the homebuyer, an experience that reflects your personal preferences — whether it’s texting with your agent to set up a showing, signing closing documents on the Light Rail train after work or simply sharing a listing with your friends and family.

Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Google Play is a trademark of Google Inc.

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Status Definitions

For Sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active Contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

Sold: Properties on which the sale has closed.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings