It is a while since I bought a house. Probably 15 years. So in that time technology has changed the face of most areas of my life; staying in touch, listening to music, reading, travelling on business and leisure.
In fact 12 weeks without internet, thanks to the combined incompetence of BT and Sky, when we moved into our rental home showed me how dependent we all are on the internet and our data and applications that now live in the cloud.
So, how has house buying changed? Very little it seems. Sure, we looked online for properties but we still received glossy house details through the post from the different agents we were talking to, and the occasional email with huge attached PDFs maxing out my inbox.
We made an offer through the agent for a property which was accepted. And it was confirmed in writing.
We instructed our solicitor. They are more tech-savvy than most and we were given login details to a secure file area where they posted documents and correspondence for us to review. Every time something is posted I get an email and text notification which is handy. Sadly it is only one way – only half the conversation. When I have to return anything signed or contact the solicitor dealing with our property I have to resort to post, email or phone.
There are plenty of other trades or suppliers we need to engage before we are moved in.
We needed to get the property checked for asbestos. I found the consultant online, but all our correspondence agreeing price, arranging dates and his final report are somewhere in my email inbox and SMS queue on my phone.
We still have to get the house cleaned, the swimming pool checked, the massively overrun garden back under control, and some inevitable maintenance done. How many of the quotes, invoices and discussions are going to be electronic? We haven’t had it yet, but I am sure that we will have one trade that uses Facebook messaging, so the correspondence will be stored there.
What is interesting is that the process of house buying has not been supported by cloud / internet based technology. Small elements of it have, but not end to end. Until now.
This is the reason I am investing in LessAdmin.com. It is the single place where all this ‘stuff’ is stored on the web. Backed up and secure. A place where I can correspond with all the suppliers where it is easy for them and me. They can raise quotes and then have confidence that the invoice they raise, which takes into any changes I asked for which are all tracked on the LessAdmin.com, will be paid quickly without dispute. For me, I have a single record of everything to do with the house purchase and importantly I have a simple financial dashboard; how much we have committed, how much we have paid and how much left to pay.
What it took was for me to think of “buying a house” as a project with suppliers. Which made me think – “What other things in my life should I think of as ‘projects’?”
Sadly LessAdmin.com was not available for me to use buying this house. It will not be available until mid September. But it will be available for a massively larger project than buying a house. We are planning to knock he house down and build a contemporary house on the site. Excited or scared? Both.
This will be a real test of LessAdmin.com. There will be discussions, ideas, quotes, invoices and payments flowing across multiple parties over the course of a couple of years – all held online. Architects, surveyors, a preliminary design, planning permission in a conservation area, a detailed design, a tendering process to choose a builder, building and fitting out the house, commissioning and planning the house warming party.
Let’s hope, with the support of LessAdmin.com, we will have something to celebrate.