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Where To Find Trusted Sources of Property Information - January 2022

By Rich Harvey, CEO & Founder, propertybuyer.com.au

 

The modern era is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to sourcing information.

The upside is that we live in an age where it has never been easier to unearth educational material to help guide your decision making. In our pockets we carry a mini computer more powerful than the one that launched the first moon mission. Plus, we can access data sources from just about anywhere on the planet.

The downside is there’s so much content out there fighting for attention. It’s become an absolute wall of white noise. Voices talking over the top of each other looking to stand out from the pack… and many are not as knowledgeable as they think.

Even worse are people who disguise their agenda. I’m talking about those who will push info detrimental to their reader’s needs because they want to bolster their own bank accounts.

So, with all these spokespeople wanting to be heard, how do you choose who to listen to and what makes sense.

Here’s my take on data sources you can trust – and those you should avoid.

 

Where to look

There’s a raft of free, reliable advice available online.

For starters, data provided by local and state governments is invaluable when identifying triggers that can influence property values.

At a state level, there are regional planning schemes which signpost the growth of future development. While this isn’t property-specific detail, it does identify areas being set aside for certain future uses. For example, you might be in a semi-rural area, but it could be intended for industrial rezoning or residential development. This can be a long-term opportunity for savvy buyers.

State government is also where you learn about planned infrastructure. New transport options, venue developments or even certain industries receiving government assistance. This could, again, signpost employment opportunities, population growth or gentrification.

Then there’s local government websites. You can discover for free (or perhaps at a nominal charge) things like zoning, flooding, protected vegetation, and the location of services. Local government town planning is a wealth of info about both suburbs and individual properties. And, if you’re keen on redevelopment potential, local councils have town planners available who can discuss your proposal. There may be fees involved, but they will provide invaluable guidance.

Another great source of information is datahouses.  CoreLogic is Australia’s most prominent datahouse with plenty of free info available via regular market monitor and auction report mailouts. Go to their website and sign up.

Then there are sources such as SQM Data where you can get suburb-level info on listing numbers, list prices, vacancy rates and all sorts of other metrics.

In both instances you can also pay for more comprehensive, hard-to-find data. Some of it can be pricey but might be useful.

For impressive free data, check out listing portals like Domain or realestate.com.au. Both have areas with metrics like median price and rentals. They’re a great place to research sold properties too.

CoreLogic also has a product called RP Data. This subscription service is used by agents, valuers and other professionals to get ownership information, sales data and a wealth of other property-specific info. Again, this can be very pricey so it’s often best to ask your advisors if they will look up details for you.

In fact, advisors are your other trusted source of property information – but you must qualify them before acting on their advice. Look for professionals who are independent and working in your best interests. Buyers’ agents and property valuers are great examples. They are fee-for-service experts who are duty bound to look after your needs.

 

Sources to avoid

As mentioned, property investment advisors are a terrific source of information and guidance, however you must be selective about who you use. The industry remains unregulated so anyone can say they are an ‘advisor’ without needing a special registration or licence. Unfortunately, the industry has seen some underqualified people dish out bad advice. Even worse if you come across charlatans who sign you up as a client but collect big commissions from their developer contacts after selling you into their product. As such, you should ask plenty of questions about how they earn their fees.

To reduce the risk of being fleeced, look for advisors who are members of reputable associations, such as REBAA (Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia) or PIPA (Property Investment Professionals of Australia).

I’d be wary of ‘one-stop-shop’ advisories too. They’ll look after the entire purchasing process, from sourcing the property through to your financial approval and legalities. Be certain any professional you work with is independent of the advisor.

Also high-pressure, seminar-based sales are a red flag. Take their information with a large grain of salt and do your own research to verify their claims.

Another source you should be wary of (in the nicest possible way) is unqualified family and friends. Real estate is a BBQ-stopper conversation topic, and most people have an opinion on it one way or another. The recently booming market has created a huge number of ‘paper millionaires’ who believe they’re fortune was more about good planning than good luck. While they may mean well, Uncle Joe at the family reunion who saw a 25 per cent capital gain on a property he bought back in 2007 is not necessarily your best source of information.

In addition, you’ll meet plenty of people who will be dismissive of your property plans. It’ll be those scared of rising prices and with little understanding of the property acquisition process. They will scorn your aspirations, which could cost you hundreds of thousands in lost wealth over the long term if you listen to them. 

Yes, when it comes to gathering intel on real estate, there are lots of places you can go. Choosing whose advice you will or won’t rely on is critical. The right guidance can ensure you make smart choices which will deliver excellent outcomes throughout your home ownership and investment journey. Lean on the wrong help, and you could lose out on some major gains or even be financially worse off despite your hard work.

Working with the team at Propertybuyer and the CEO, Rich Harvey who holds a double degree in Economics and is a Qualified Property Investment Advisor (QPIA) means you are in safe hands when it comes to deciding who to trust for sound advice.

 

 

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