Seeing a house for yourself can tell you all sorts of things the internet can’t. The internet is a great way to refine your searches and use floor plans and maps. Data on town-planning trends and demographics of an area can also be found easily. But remember, the internet is only one tool that can help you make an investment decision. Unless you “touch and feel” a property, your chance of making a mistake (a costly one) rises significantly.
Buying property without making an inspection is more common now than just a year or two or ago. There’s also a trend towards investors building a property portfolio across several Australian states and territories to reduce land tax. But some investors are too reliant on the internet.
Buyers need to inspect units and houses and walk around a suburb to gain an understanding of its vibe, the quality of shopping and dining and the appeal of certain streets. ‘Occasionally, a web search of local blogs might elicit intelligence about the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ streets in suburbs but it can be a hit-and-miss. Google’s Street View can be great fun and allows you to view the footpaths of suburbs but it’s a limited experience.
It’s crucial, too, to recognise that the web is all about putting the best gloss on things.A good agent presents a property in the best light and some now use stadium floodlighting to brighten rooms and banish every blemish in their online photo shoots.