Property Reports 101: Why use them?

by Chris Lang on March 3, 2010

House in the airThis post is the beginning of a new series “Property Reports 101”. There will be 3 posts in the series, talking about the reasons to use property reports, about the various report types and their purpose, and about the various report providers with their respective pricing.

My goal for this series is to help you understand whether you need to buy a property report, what kind of report will be right for you and how much you should spend on it.

Let’s begin.

If I had to name just one reason to purchase property reports when considering buying or selling a house, it would be the time saving. If I had to name one more – it would be the peace of mind from the knowledge that you’re getting or paying the right price for your house.

Property reports will save you time that you’d have to spend searching for free sources of property sales data. Many real estate websites will display a small number of sold houses with prices in almost any area, but to gather this information and put it together in an orderly manner will take a lot of time and patience (speaking from experience).

Before we move on to detailed comparison of various property report types, let me explain more about WHY you would need a property report for your street, suburb or area and how it can help with your decision on a price and timing of the purchase or the sale.

Home buyers – 3 more reasons to purchase a property report

1. If you’ve already decided on a suburb you want to buy in, there are more expensive and less expensive areas within the same suburb. Looking at your property report you can map those areas and see what is within your price range and what isn’t.

2. If you’ve already decided on a street or an area within a suburb, using a property report you can see what would be a reasonable price for a house in that street.

You could choose similar houses in the same street (with the same number of bedrooms / bathrooms and similar features) and compare their prices to the asking price on your house to see whether the asking price is fair.

If the house is being sold via auction, you can use the highest sale price in that street as your “stop limit” when bidding to avoid over-paying.

3. Property report will be a useful tool in the negotiation process, if you want to negotiate the price down – it will show the agent that you’ve done your homework and can’t be fooled.

Home sellers – why purchase a property report

You can use the sales data to set a reasonable price-range for your house. Why not just listen to your estate agent? Well, to win your listing an agent might give you a much higher estimate for your house price than what you’d get eventually.

But if you have a list of comparable houses in your area with the prices they were sold for, you would be able to double-check what your agent says – which, in turn, would help you choose an honest agent!

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