You can buy just about anything on the web these days, from clothing to cars – and now a Vancouver company has made it possible for you to buy a home on the Internet as well.

Yongle Technologies is a website that aims to make purchasing real estate as simple as buying a car. Prospective pre-sale buyers log in online, choose a custom-built suite, and can even make an offer – all with the click of a mouse.

The website is the brainchild of lawyer Richard Bell, who says the idea for Yongle Technologies was sparked from a simple question.

“Why do people line up in the rain in Vancouver to buy something that doesn’t exist?” Bell asked. “[With this] you basically say I'm looking for a two-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom, I'd like a parking stall, I’d like special flooring – all that information is gathered electronically, the contract is generated electronically… it’s real-time data.”

The buyer also provides personal information - such as occupation, age bracket, and income – allowing developers to gather date on exactly who’s interested in their product, and where they’re purchasing from.

The best part? The buyer can make a decision – and sign for the property – all while sitting on their couch at home.

“We’re signing electronically on a tablet,” Bell said. “We also need a witness, so there’s a witness signing too.”

Convenience isn’t the only motivator behind Yongle – it’s also good for the environment. Around $3.6-million sheets of paper from more than 200 trees are used in Metro Vancouver strata sales every year.

Yongle Technologies is currently only available for the Vancouver pre-sale real estate market, but Bell hopes the company will eventually expand to both worldwide and used home sales as well.

Tom Davidoff, associate professor at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, says Yongle Technologies will simplify the entire real estate process.

“I think having an online presence makes it easier to sell properties to a wider range of buyers,” said Davidoff. “That would include people who don't have time to stand in line, and more likely for somebody for somebody not in Vancouver.”

With files from CTV Vancouver’s Sarah MacDonald