I was at my bank the other day——–San Diego County Credit Union——- and they have a new “App” where you can deposit your checks via your iPhone. Now I know this technology has been around for a year or so, but I didn’t really think it made sense—I was thinking it would be next to impossible to stuff a paper check into my iPhone!! But then I learned that you just take a picture of the check and it is then treated as a paperless transaction. 🙂
My office is in my home and my Brokerage is about 10 miles away, in downtown San Diego. My clients could be anywhere all over SD County and my meeting places are often Starbucks located just about everywhere. My mail goes to a PO Box yet most of my communications are by e-mail or text. My bank has a few branches scattered throughout metro SD, but now with a paperless iPhone deposit, I seldom have to go there. I could live on the moon and no one would know, as long there was WiFi!!
When a Buyer is looking for a home, “location, location, location” are the first 3 things on their mind. Of course…who doesn’t want to be close to services and with the price of gas, convenience is everything. Let’s stop here and think about technology.
My trips to the office are seldom, and my trips to the bank now, are never. Clients (especially investors) do alot of footwork, and you don’t have to drive them from place to place. You can have a conference via Skype or “Facetime” on iPhone. I write up a list of items and order them from Drugstore.com, eliminating the need to drive all over the place.This opens up alot of possible locations for me to live—many more than it did even 5 years ago. Does it matter that my bank/pharmacy/supermarket are even “bricks and mortar”? Heck, my office doesn’t even have to be “bricks and mortar”. So how does this affect not only me but our industry?
Locations that are further away from city services may start to take on a whole other dimension. If I don’t have to worry about my commute or getting to the bank or drugstore, I just may opt to live further from metro city center and purchase a larger, less expensive house……or tap the better priced suburban condo market which is still floundering 15-20 miles outside of metro San Diego. 15 years ago, condos in East County were not considered as desirable as metro condos, but if you look at the vast price differential, they may be the next best buy. If I can save $500-$750/month by living in a “less convenient” area (and “convenience” is now a moot point), I can save that money and purchase another property, or investing it—–all the while, adding to my net worth.
Technology has not only changed our business model BUT the needs of our Buyers have changed as well. Don’t lose Buyers because they can’t afford the “chic urban areas”————which may just see a decline in pricing due to our everchanging technology. Largely forgotten inventory in suburban/rural/fringe areas may just be on the upswing!