Analytics and the Future of Home Buying

Alex Boughton Head Shot, 2018.jpg

by Alexander J Boughton

Home buying is never an easy process. It helps to have a highly professional real estate agent to guide you through it. Big data, technological trends and modifications in consumer shopping are changing and evolving the process we use to find a home. Is this a good thing for Millennials?

A decade ago if someone were to mention Zillow, a majority of people probably never heard of it. Today, an overwhelming majority of tech-savvy adults are at least aware of some of the different options which include Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, Google and Amazon.

As a 25-year-old, I see my fair share of friends getting excited about the prospects of investing in the real estate world; trading in their rental properties for their first affordable condos or homes. Research on buying trends indicates a 3 to 1 ratio to renting over buying a home. For those ready to buy, much needs to be known before making one of life’s biggest investments.

For example, big data through popular real estate sites like Zillow, Trulia or is one of the first mediums most homebuyers will use to start their search. Unlike older generations who relied on word of mouth, local listings and limited on-line consumer data, current on-line websites and buying methods seem to dismiss realtors and take away the “soul” of the home buying process. Who is going to create a fluid sales process for the property or help the buyer win when there are multiple offers? Big data also has difficulty keeping current with actual home values. Unless a home has been properly appraised, many of the sites rely on old tax records and algorithmic data based on comps for sale (which may or may not be accurate) in the area to determine home values. If you’re an out-of-state home buyer or an international buyer, consider doing proper research and site visits to the property and its neighborhoods.

From a cultural standpoint, many Millennials tend to be impulsive shoppers, even when it comes to purchasing their home. We don’t always have realistic expectations about what we can afford or what goes into the making of a purchase. While its true technology makes it easier to learn about properties across the street or around the world, it does not necessarily mean my generation knows how to assimilate that knowledge. How do we solve this as future home buyers or sellers?

It should start with reading the fine print. A lot of us tend to overlook the details of a contract. We don’t do proper research or we do too much research. Do your due diligence ­– read over the paperwork, research comparable properties and validate if what’s being offered at the property is true.

When trying to buy a home, it may still offer more value to work with a reliable full-time realtor who knows the local market instead of a virtual agent. After all, buying your first home should be an exciting time, not a trying time. Why go it alone when you can hire a professional who is happy to make your dream home a reality?

The Tidy Balance - Why is it so hard to keep a home really clean?

by Alex Boughton

It probably goes without saying, but cleaning and keeping living spaces tidy can be tedious at times, especially for a working, socially active Millennial.

I can’t lie; I became a victim of laziness far too many times to count, especially during my college days. I recall the many dirty glasses and smelly dishes lying all around the living room and kitchen during the many houses and condos I shared with roommates. I believe many of us just don’t see the value or simply overlook the significance of maintaining a clean home. And when I say clean, it’s not just keeping the place spotless and organized, but making sure the home itself does not fall victim to disrepair. During my time with four other guys in a five bedroom home that I currently share, a few good nuggets of wisdom were bestowed upon me. I’d like to pass them along, especially for those who don’t believe cleanliness matters, because keeping your home clean really does create a lot of value, especially in the long-term.

One of the first big lessons learned after countless hours of washing dishes, cleaning floors, dusting and vacuuming: having a clean home helps you focus on the more important priorities in your life. For example, it’s been a long day, you’re back from work and the last thing on your mind is doing those dirty dishes. Solution: get in the habit of doing them before going to bed. Your mind won’t be as distracted in the event you’re trying to get a project from work done or some friends pop over unexpectedly. It also will make you less stressed out knowing that your house doesn’t have pests looking for the food left out or stains saturating into your furniture.

Another key take-away: it will actually save you time in the long run by having an organized home. I can’t tell you how often I’ve been under a time crunch and couldn’t find my favorite tie or the right pair of shoes because my room was a mess. Organizing your living space goes hand-in-hand with my previous point about prioritization. Whether it’s your bedroom, your kitchen or your living room, it will save you time in the long run to take a few moments and tidy the place up because chances are you’ll be in a rush at some point.

If you have kids or roommates, they are another essential reason for keeping your home tidy. By being clean and organized, you are setting the standard for cleanliness. By raising the bar higher and making your place cleaner, you’re not only promoting good behavior for your kids or roommates, but you’re prompting them to match the standards you’re living by, especially if they’re younger and look up to you.

Lastly, when scheduling your cleaning, be consistent. By adhering to a cleaning schedule, you will be able to hold yourself more accountable to keeping your living space in good shape. While not everyone has the same standard for what’s clean, finding a balance on what saves you time and maintains your home is the best route to keeping your living space viable for years to come.