A new report by The Future Laboratory suggests that by 2025 we will be taking full advantage of big data, new advances such as gloves that simulate touch, and drones, in order to buy a house.
Smart homes may even allow sellers to remotely unlock their house, with buyers guided through on a tour of the house using a ‘3D video presence’ technology.
Using 3D 360-degree cameras and a virtual reality headset, house hunters can step into a ‘virtual explorium’, which will offer a multi-sensory tour of homes for sale – all without having to set foot inside the door.
You will even be able to feel your environment – with haptic gloves, which give you a realistic sense of touch in a virtual world, and olfactory VR which is currently in development to allow a virtual sense of smell.
When buying a house the onus is on the buyer to investigate the property and its title, usually through an expert, i.e. a surveyor and a solicitor. A surveyor can look at the property physically and provide information as to the condition of the property and any likely works needed. A solicitor can investigate the title and provide information as to the legal status of a property. A solicitor can assess the property to ensure you have the necessary rights to your property, and that you are not buying a property subject to a dispute. In property law obligations run with the land not the owners. The key phrase is ‘buyer beware’ If you fail to assess the property and you buy ‘blindly’ then the buyer only has themselves to blame. It is important to note that a clear exception to this rule is when a seller provides information that is wrong. If asked specifically about the property the seller is under a legal obligation to be truthful. The question here is whether advances in technology will really help? The answer to this question could be subject to extensive debate. On the plus side, the more information available when purchasing a property the better. It is obviously better to have all the facts in front of you before you commit to purchase a property. On the down side, if too much reliance is based on ‘virtual tours’ and the like, will this stop people actually going and looking at the property and conducting their own inspections? The reliance would shift from the physical property to the presentation of the property through technology. Could this lead to a poorer standard of inspection, would this deter some buyers from then utilising experts to assist? What if the representations are wrong or incorrect when presented through technology? Could this lead to an increase in property litigation? I suppose only time will tell…..