I’ve recently been toying with the idea of buying a property in another state. Diversification of my portfolio is one reason that I want to look further afield than my home state, and another is that I think there’s good growth to be seen elsewhere.
BY VANESSA DE GROOT
My dilemma, however, is how to go about it. I really don’t feel comfortable buying a property that I haven’t seen, but let’s be honest, I can’t fly to another destination every time I find a property that looks worthwhile to check it out.
That could get very time consuming and expensive. I’ve thought about engaging the services of a buyers agent, but in the area I’m thinking about buying in there doesn’t seem to be many around. So should I just rely on doing my own research and the information I can find on the property listing and perhaps buy sight unseen?
One of my concerns about doing this is that the information on the listing might only portray the positive elements of the property and not the potential drawbacks. But in particular, I also worry about the accuracy of the information in the listing – and I want to hear from all the readers out there about their thoughts on this.
My concern stems from real estate listings I’ve seen of units in a complex that I’m an owner in. Just this week I saw one of the units up for rent and the blurb for the property started with “This two-year old two-bedroom unit…”
I was quite shocked by this, as the unit is actually nearly five years old, more than twice the age that this advertisement is claiming!
And that’s not the first time I’ve seen that sort of thing – I’ve seen it in several ‘for sale’ and ‘for rent’ ads for units in the complex. From these ads it seems that my unit is actually the oldest in the complex by far!
This makes me wonder how often these inaccuracies happen in other advertisements, but I’m not able to identify it because I have no prior knowledge about the property. What else are they claiming to be true that isn’t? Now, to all the real estate agents and property managers out there, please don’t get defensive, because I’m not laying blame on anyone for the inaccuracies in these ads – for all I know, it’s the property owner that’s providing inaccurate (or false) details and the agents are simply using what they’ve been given. But then again, it may be real estate professionals embellishing to attract interest in the property.
I do know, however, that when I first put my unit in that complex up for rent, the property manager sent me the advertisement before it went up on the internet and I went through it carefully to make sure it was all accurate. In fact, I recall that she’d said there were fans in all rooms and I asked her to take that out because it wasn’t the case at all.
And don’t even get me started on the spelling mistakes I find on real estate listings! I know property managers and agents aren’t paid for their spelling skills, but would a quick spell check go astray? I think not. Accurate spelling and grammar makes you look 100 times more professional. I believe it’s very important.
Do these little inaccuracies not really matter, I wonder? Am I just pedantic? Perhaps being a journalist has made me much more sensitive to spelling and grammar mistakes, and inaccuracies? (And yes, for all those thinking journalists don’t care about accuracy, this one at least does!)
What are your thoughts on this matter? Has anyone noticed inaccuracies – big or small – in real estate listings? And if so, do you think it really matters, or is it fairly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things?
Vanessa De Groot is the deputy editor of Australian Property Investor magazine, www.apimagazine.com.au