Like many people interested in property, I love watching all of the property shows on TV. At the moment we are spoiled for choice with shows like The Block, Hot Property, Grand Designs, the Renovators and Top Design. Whilst I don’t get time to watch most of these I have watched every episode of ‘The Block’ this season (mostly via the internet several days or weeks after the actual show has aired).
The other night I watched a recent episode where they put on a mock game show aimed at estimating sale prices of homes. The contestants had 10 minutes to look around a home and then had to give their estimate of what the property sold for at auction. It was really entertaining for several reasons:
- The houses they were looking at were mostly in markets that I’ve not purchased in – they were in the hot and expensive suburbs of Melbourne.
- It was really interesting to see how houses are designed, decorated and furnished.
- It was fun watching the contestants try to estimate the sale prices – and often be way off.
- It was fun to try and take a stab at the estimated sales price myself and see just how close – or not – I was!
What the show reallyhighlighted to me was that unless you have studied and researched a market then you just have no idea what a property is worth. And when I say ‘a market’, I don’t mean something like ‘Melbourne’, I mean a particular suburb and even the areas and streets within that suburb.
You may think that if you are from an area then you know the market, but really, unless you have put in the time and effort to understand the market then you really are just guessing. Markets also change, so just because you looked at houses in a suburb 12 months ago or even 3 months ago, things change so you may need to revisit your research phase again.
So, if you are serious about purchasing property then you really need to take the time to research the location well before you consider buying and there are several things you can do:
- Research properties that are currently on the market via the internet
- Research recent sales prices in the area
- Research the sub areas within the location and map out the sales prices against your map to get a feel for the various price ‘pockets’.
- Visit a suburb and drive around
- Attend open for inspections – the more the better.
- Speak to agents in the area.
So the take home message – whether you are selling your own home, purchasing a new home, selling an investment property, buying an investment property, wanting to undertake a renovation project or a development project, don’t guess the market, know the market!