property sales data

House-hunting expenses and how to minimise them (part 2)

by Chris Lang on December 14, 2012
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Expense: Property reports. There are many reports available: recent house sale prices per area, house history, information about suburbs, etc. Once you’ve decided on a house, you may want to check how many times it was sold in the past, when and for how much.

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House and unit prices declined in January 2012

by Chris Lang on February 13, 2012
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“Am I paying too much?” is a big question on any prospective home buyer’s mind (and if it’s not – it should be). Of course the only way to answer that question is to watch the property market. In the past some used to argue that watching the market won’t achieve you anything because the […]

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How iPhone can help make your house-hunting easier

by Chris Lang on May 10, 2010
How iPhone can help make your house-hunting easier

iPhone Home Buying AppThese days it seems like the world and his monkey is determined to make the stressed home-buyers happier. Just a couple of weeks ago Realestate.com.au came up with this huge makeover for their website, and now I find out about the Commonwealth Bank’s latest invention, that is all about helping people find and buy a home quicker and easier.

Oh, and they wouldn’t mind lending you some money, while they’re at it.

But sarcastic jokes aside, this new iPhone app by Commonwealth Bank does look promising. It’s based on what they call an “augmented reality technology”, and the way I understand it, it is “augmented” because the app takes the reality – the address of the property you’re standing in front of, when you point and shoot your iPhone camera at it ( via geo-positioning), and then adds to it some information you would need to make your property decision.

That information can be the current property listings in the same area, so you get to see what’s listed for sale, what the price range is and a 5 recently sold houses in the same area, similar to the property you’re standing next to, with sale prices. No longer will your iPhone be a mere camera to take photos at inspections.

It also will have the ability to switch to a bird’s eye view to show all properties matching the search criteria at once, save a house in Favorites, send to a friend and more.

This new app should eliminate the need to open up a website (such as realestate.com.au or domain.com.au), do a search for that specific address, and then begin navigating your way through the other listings in that area. Which basically is a fair bit of work, especially on an iPhone, which (with all due respect) is not as convenient as a computer with a large screen, a mouse and a keyboard. Plus, when you’re inspecting, often you are in a rush to get to the other properties on time and one quick look at the information this app will provide can save you about 5-10 minutes per property – looks like a worthwhile piece of software to check out.

In fact, this app should be just as good as realestate.com.au itself , because Commonwealth partnered with them and with rpdata.com to develop this new digital wonder of technology.

The word from Commonwealth Bank is that this app will become available in June this year, when Apple approves and adds it to the Apple Store – for free download!

And for the iPhone junkies amongst us, who can’t wait, here’s a teaser – click below to watch a short video about this new cool virtual reality iPhone app, or if you’re reading this in your email, click here.

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Property Reports 101: Who To Buy From and How Much?

by Chris Lang on April 8, 2010
Property Reports 101: Who To Buy From and How Much?

And now, when you’re all back from your Easter holidays and are house-hunting again, finally we get to the most interesting part. This post, in fact, will save you the “price shopping”, as it lines up all the major property report providers and compares their products and prices. There are 3 big report providers to […]

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Property Reports 101: What is “Postcode Sales History Report”?

by Chris Lang on March 26, 2010
Property Reports 101:  What is "Postcode Sales History Report"?

Suburb View Those of you who had a look at the property reports websites know that some of them call it a “Postcode Report”. You could also have noticed that there’s another similar report, named “Suburb report”.

In case you were wondering, yes, there is a difference between “Suburb report” and “Postcode report”, and the reason why “Suburb report” is normally cheaper is because it can have less data than “Postcode Report”. In many cases Postcode report includes quite a few suburbs, all sharing the same postcode, whereas Suburb report will include only one suburb.

For example Postcode Report for 3196 will include suburbs Bonbeach, Chelsea, Chelsea Heights and Edithvale because they all share the same postcode. But if you were to buy a report for Chelsea, it would not include even the adjacent suburb Chelsea Heights.

I recon that for the $10 difference Postcode report is a better buy, because it will give you a bigger and clearer picture. You might even see that there are better opportunities in another suburb nearby that you didn’t consider before.

What’s inside?

First, there are 2 kinds of Postcode reports – 12 and 24 months of data – and, of course, the price is higher when more data is included.

Property-specific information

You will find a list of all the sales in the last 12 or 24 months, specifying:

– Property address (just a street name, not even a house number in Victoria)
– Type of the house / land (detached, semi-detached, hobby farm, etc)
– Sale price
– Sale date (just month and year for Victoria, not the full date)
– Estimated area (land)

Some providers will include information about the number of bedrooms / bathrooms / parking spaces in each sold house, others won’t. In some reports you will find whether the houses were sold by auction / private sale.

What can I do with this information?

If you are too busy to be to gathering this data on your own, looking through the latest auction results, this report saves you time. Or if there are no auctions in the suburb of your choice, this is your only way of knowing prices of the houses that were sold via private sales. Although some information about private sales is available online for free, it is very limited and won’t give you a clear picture.

Having the list of real sales figures in the suburb/postcode you can work out the gap between the asking price and the sale price, and therefore estimate how much you will REALLY have to spend, as advertised prices can be under-quoted or over-quoted.

You can see what locations / suburbs are more expensive than the others, and direct your search towards areas you can afford. This will save you time, money and your search will be focused (as opposed to you looking for properties all over the place and feeling overwhelmed).

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Property Reports 101: What is “Street Sales History Report”?

by Chris Lang on March 19, 2010
Property Reports 101: What is "Street Sales History Report"?

You will find this report available at different providers’ websites under the names of “Street Sales History Report”, “Street History Report” or just “Street Report” – but they all are essentially the same. What’s inside? Property-specific information For all the sold houses on that particular street you will get the following: – Property address (just […]

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Property Reports 101: What is “Individual Property Report”?

by Chris Lang on March 10, 2010
Property Reports 101:  What is "Individual Property Report"?

It’s the same story with any range of similar products: when you first look at them and there are more than just 2, it’s easy to get lost. There was a sales study I heard about, where they put 6 kinds of jam on the supermarket shelf and 30 percent of the people bought a […]

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Property Reports 101: Why use them?

by Chris Lang on March 3, 2010
Property Reports 101: Why use them?

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 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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Taking property statistics with a grain of salt

by Chris Lang on September 29, 2009
Taking property statistics with a grain of salt

Property statisticsStatistics can be useful, useless, or dangerous – take your pick. Why? Because using the same data, 3 different researchers can get 3 different results. My point is – never trust the numbers, unless you know how they worked them out.

I just was reminded about how important this rule is by an article in News.com.au

They are warning people looking to invest in property about how crucial it is for them to understand what exactly they are looking at, but I recon anybody who is looking for a house needs to learn how to read the stats, before making the big decision – to buy or not to buy.

So what is the basic mistake people make in their interpretation of statistics? Compare apples with pears. This would include compare houses with units or houses with apartments, compare 2-bedroom houses with 3 bedroom houses, etc.

Many people don’t know the difference between the median house price and the average house price. This is why, when seeing a median price in some suburb drop, people immediately think “It’s bargain hunting time” – when in reality this could have been caused by many cheaper (or perhaps smaller) houses being sold over the same period of time, or even units.

If the median price was calculated using all the prices, of houses as well as of units – people who are not statistics-savvy won’t suspect that the drop was caused by a shift of attention towards units. Which is a very likely scenario, by the way – as prices of houses rise and become less affordable, people begin buying units, because those are still in their price-range.

Also, different researchers calculate things differently, which is why you can see different figures referring to the same periods of time. According to News.com.au the difference in median house prices coming from different sources can be up to $50,000 – a huge deviation, if you ask me.

The closer to the inner city your target suburb is, the more confusing statistics can get, because in the inner city we have a mix of different housing styles – apartments of all sorts (studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom), units, houses (two-bedroom, three-bedroom, you name it). This is again a situation where you’d want to compare apples with apples.

So what is your take-away from this post? First, knowledge is power and if you know how the stats are calculated, you can use them safely, and second – question everything, and see if you can come up with a logical explanation of how this happened.

Have you ever been mislead by property statistics?

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How to buy a house – Part 3

by Chris Lang on October 3, 2008
How to buy a house - Part 3

In the part two of “How to buy a house” series I covered stages four and five, deciding what kind of house you need and what amenities you’d like to be close by. Coming to the stage six, you should have only one or two suburbs left on your list – those you will be examining very closely.

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