Thursday, May 24, 2007

Technology finds us a house

We are planning to move to the Hague in summer (no, that's not the capital of the Netherlands). I wonder how people searched for a house 10 years ago (probably using newspapers and brokers), but it's amazing how our search is a seamless experience using on-and offline strategies.

We use housing sites like Funda and Jaap and get e-mail alert about new houses meeting our search criteria. Especially the 360 degrees photos are helpful to get a sense of the area when you don't know these places. After finding a few online, we have gone to the areas physically to get an idea of how it looks and feels like. The physical experience is very important. When we had identified houses that could be interesting we rushed back home to look online for the details of the inside of the houses. Together this would give a fairly good picture of where to make an appointment to see the house inside. I'm sure we are making a really well informed choice, knowing what's available. For prices, you request the price of sales in the same areas or street.

For the mortgage advice we had one webcam advice and several face-to-face advices. Though the technology for the online webcam advice didn't work very well (we couldn't hear him, so had to use the phone), the advantage was that he could show the calculations immediately and share them with us. Another advisor who visited us at home created a lot less trust, so the myth that face-to-face creates trust more easily can be dismantled, at least for our case. For trust in this case, it is more important that the responses to your questions make sense, and the speed of giving solid information does a lot to add to trust too.

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