Warning not to rely 100% on technology

The wealth of new technology now available for investors and homebuyers is making it easier to assess property but the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia (REBAA) says it’s risky business to invest based on technology alone.

REBAA president Rich Harvey warned buyers not to fall into the trap of relying on technology and free online tools exclusively in their purchasing decisions.

His comments come in the wake of the launch of a new property app by US start-up, Compass, last week, which gives real-time national data to homebuyers and renters.

“There is a plethora of free information available on the internet and via mobile apps but the serious danger we see for buyers and investors is how this information is interpreted and acted upon,” Harvey says.

“Take the investor who sees a report promising high capital growth and yield based on two years figures, then buys a property but has major regrets two years later when developers flood the market or the mining boom subsides.

“While an app can punch out a price estimate in five seconds, it can takes years of training and experience to understand property values accurately.

Many free valuation tools and technology apps are highly flawed and fail to take in renovation works and aspect.

Rich Harvey

“Engaging a buyers’ agent adds yet another layer of protection by analysing the data, negotiating for the purchaser and protects them from making an emotional decision rather than an informed one.”

According to Harvey, many free valuation tools and technology apps are highly flawed and fail to take in renovation works and aspect.

“There is no dispute that technology has enabled faster delivery of information across a multitude of devices and in a more efficient timeframe,” he says.

“But it’s alarming to think that people are basing the biggest financial investment decision they’re likely to make in a lifetime on some free online tools.

“These apps generally don’t provide any financial advice but simply offer a ‘one-size-fits-all’ database of information and documents on which the naïve investor needs to make a decision.

“It might seem like you’re saving money in the house hunt by relying on property apps and free online reports, however it could be far more costly in the long run if you buy an unsuitable property.”

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