Brisbane's sales market

Finding out your property’s value – the quick and accurate way

Life with technology is all about shortcuts! So it’s no surprise property owners love the idea of getting a market estimate on the value of their property at the click of a couple of buttons. In recent weeks Australia’s large property portals have introduced this “service” and if you google your address it’ll probably be one of the first results. It’s quick and it’s free – two things we all appreciate. And better still, you don’t need to talk to us pesky real estate agents! (although with one more click on these sites they will hook you up with the agent that paid them the most money to be on the list).

It will give you a dollar range based on what the database knows about your property including the date and price of your purchase, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms at the time of that transaction, and the area of your land. It uses recent sales in your area to calculate the figures and as an estimating tool, it can’t be completely dismissed – there’s a good chance your bank manager used it today.

This isn’t a new product and we first wrote about it on this blog in 2007. Access to property data has not been exclusive to agents for some years and if you’re selling, many of the buyers coming to your property have already done their online snooping, know what you paid for it and how much Jimmy and Jenny sold for down the hall or over the back fence a couple of months back.

But here’s the problem. These online value estimators have wildly varying accuracy.

What they lack is the richness of information that only a real estate agent or property valuer can digest and consider. Critical things like aspect and views, overall space, finishes and condition and features like pools and recent improvements. We’ve tested these online estimators with sales we’ve just made (in that 3 month window before they hit the official records – this is a “database blackspot” so they’re always that bit out of date) and the accuracy is really unreliable. One property we sold for $645,000 had an online estimate of $535,000. On another we achieved $480,000 but the portal guesstimate was $560,000.

Why then do the banks use them? If the reported accuracy is plus/minus a reasonable percentage (based on the database providers own assessment of their reliability) some financiers see this as a cost-effective way to check the price and manage their risk. But you won’t see them doing it on a low deposit loan when accuracy is all important.

So how can you speed up the appraisal process, to get an estimate of value without waiting a few days for us to inspect your property and prepare a report? Real estate agents have access to databases that today record far more info than just the official sales details. The last time your place was listed for sale or for rent the databases ‘scraped’ all of the photos and floorplans, along with the agent’s description, the time on the market and prices you had it listed for. Depending what changes you might have made since that time, I can do a fairly thorough check of the place and prepare a Comparative Market Analysis in just an hour or so.

As a local agent there’s a good chance I know your apartment building and probably your floorplan, and I’ll have the same insight on the properties recently sold that form the basis of the report. Even with houses I’ll have been into many that changed hands and I’ll know when it was close to a railway line or overlooked some crappy flats. I’m handling buyer enquiry every day and I know what’s popular right now. I know what type of buyer is paying the best price and what ‘hot buttons’ need to be pushed. Yes, there is a lot we don’t know, but I’ve got that depth of knowledge you need to get a good perspective on the way the market would respond to your property if it were for sale today.

We’re free and we’re fairly accurate – and I will promise not to harass you for a sale! If you can afford the time a quick look through the property raises our accuracy, but if you’re doing that online guesstimate and would prefer advice that’s reliable, we’re ready for your call!

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. And the Bees Nees sales team are on 07 3214 6800 or info@beesnees.com.au