There’s an app for everything – or so the saying goes.
It’s certainly no new thing to find some innovation for almost any need in the modern world, however, one of the brightest sides to the growth of readily-available digital services has been the democratizing effect they’ve had. Beyond the simple availability of knowledge, the digital platforms – app-based or otherwise – have allowed people greater choice, savings, and speed in decision-making. The housing market has become a great example of this. For many young people, joining the property market wasn’t purely a financial mountain to climb, it was an intimidating industry full of jargon, expensive consulting, and fees well beyond Stamp Duty.
Once you actually joined the ladder, remortgages and utility bills could be equally difficult to manage. Even the visibility of these things was difficult to attain. What we’re seeing today is a blossoming of new services that are making housing, whether you’re trying to buy your first or save money on your current one, the future is looking bright and unmistakably digital.
Saving the bottom line
Utility bills were relatively opaque until recently. Budgeting apps and, among them, utility comparison services have changed the way we pay bills – and the price tags attached to them.
Bulb, a London-based energy company providing the largest proportion of green electricity to the UK, digitized the onboarding and switching process, now boasting savings of up to £288 on annual bills, whilst also guaranteeing a responsible source for that energy. Average energy bills in the UK total between £800-£1,000, making those deductions massively beneficial to lower-income households.
Budgeting apps like Yolt, Plum and Emma are now also taking it a step further by partnering with energy firms like Bulb to offer these savings as part of a holistic picture of a person’s financial accounts. With wealth management, savings, and pension services are thrown in the mix too, reducing the cost of utility bills is one dimension of a revolutionary effect these apps are having on people’s money management capability.
The financial aspects of technology are naturally attractive, however, the security features of smart technology have also made homes securer than ever before. The mobilization of home management delivers new levels of control for people. The smart detector, Nest Protect, does everything a normal smoke alarm can, while also allowing users to receive mobile notifications that explains specific details of an issue, including location.
This is amongst a range of applications that can actively reduce home insurance quotes thanks to the value they deliver. Anything from weather-warning, leak detection, smart plugs, smart sprinklers, and security video streams are now easily available to install – and manageable via mobile applications.
It may have become something of a buzzword in the technology world, however, the possibilities of blockchain technology – for all of its hype – do prove intriguing and it may have some genuinely game-changing applications. That includes, coincidentally, usage in real estate. The anonymity, security, and traceability of blockchain ledgers have the potential to be an excellent and highly decentralized means of tracking property purchases. Equally, the use of secure contracts with the encryption blockchain offers, as well as integrated identity checks (a strong feature of cryptocurrencies) would be a functional and completely global means of achieving property purchases and sales. It’s not necessarily something the ‘little guy’ makes use of, nor is it common practice, but technology is nothing if not ambitious in its scope.
The Beauty of Choice
Within the property markets, mortgaging is a common practice, but equally a relatively complex subject. Often the need for advisors or consulting professionals were commonplace – it could make the prospect of remortgaging particularly difficult to bridge if you were a first-time homeowner.
The Guardian reported that the young homeowning population had grown for the first time in a decade in 2020. It seems the decline of a young generation of property owners is beginning to wane, and it may be, in part, thanks to the support of the digital services. Trussle is a free mortgage broker, one of the pioneering platforms breaking through to those in need of clarity – the savings available via comparison sites like these can be significant, again saving the valuable pounds for those who need them most. As technology evolves, digital services such as this will surely help simplify the process of finding the most suitable mortgage for your needs.
A movement for good
Largely, home technologies are all about convenience and access. They provide new ways to monitor, value, invest, and control our homes and the expenses associated with them. The transition to these technologies has been so drastic, it’s unlikely to slow as long as demand exists from younger generations. The statistics would suggest that there is still quite a ways to go before the equality of opportunity that was available to past generations is reflected in the generations growing up today. However, the good news is that they are not alone, or forgotten.