You’re fine on­line, but it’s smart to step in­side

The Weekend Post - Real Estate - - Front Page -

SEARCH­ING for prop­erty, when buy­ing, rent­ing, or hol­i­day­ing was once an ex­tremely chal­leng­ing task, but now feels so easy cour­tesy of all that tech­nol­ogy that only a few years ago seemed pos­i­tively scifi, but is now com­mon­place, ac­cepted and even ex­pected.

From evolv­ing 3D in­ter­ac­tive floor plans and dolls house views of homes, to per­spec­tives from the street, the air, pro­fes­sional stills pho­tog­ra­phy and video im­agery, so much can­not only be seen of the home it­self but its en­vi­ron­ment, im­me­di­ate and dis­tant sur­round­ings.

Like most, I em­brace this re­cent phe­nom­e­non to its full ex­tent.

How­ever I would like to raise one is­sue with what I be­lieve can be a risk if you rely only on this medium.

That risk is a fail­ure to ac­knowl­edge that the cam­era not only can lie, but no amount of im­agery can re­place a phys­i­cal feel­ing or at­mos­phere a lo­ca­tion and a build­ing can emit when seen phys­i­cally.

You would think that with the vast num­ber of prop­er­ties and places I see weekly I would ac­knowl­edge this too, yet still I ar­rive at a home — hav­ing re­searched the liv­ing day­lights out it and trav­elled the streets and sub­urb nu­mer­ous times on­line — with a whole range of pre­con­cep­tions.

Th­ese can be­come ei­ther more of an is­sue or some­times a to­tal ir­rel­e­vance.

Some prop­er­ties might at­tract you for a va­ri­ety of pos­i­tive rea­sons, only to turn into a whole list of neg­a­tives once you see them.

Or, one mi­nor fac­tor you thought you could for­give be­comes too ma­jor and you take that prop­erty off your list.

Many of you know this and that is why you phys­i­cally in­spect rental or sale list­ings to avoid such mis­con­cep­tions. This is there­fore not the point of my cau­tion­ary tale.

I would like you to con­sider not the prop­er­ties you se­lect on­line as pos­si­bles, but rather to an­a­lyse the ones you’ve dis­counted and why.

Par­tic­u­larly in hous­ing mar­kets where sup­ply is lim­ited and buy­ing is a com­pet­i­tiv e game, the list­ings you have struck off your list may ac­tu­ally be an al­ter­na­tive you could, with some cre­ative think­ing, make work. So here are a few point­ers to en­sure you do not miss out.

• Never rule out a prop­erty be­lieved to be in your price range and area, sim­ply on a thumb­nail size pic­ture on­line.

Click and look at all pic­tures avail­able, a prop­erty has more than one an­gle and cer­tainly can be ini­tially mis­lead­ing both in a pos­i­tive and a neg­a­tive way.

• The same can ap­ply to a map lo­ca­tion, so re­ally check the po­si­tion out.

It may not be quite so near that main road as it ap­pears, or the as­pect may not be quite as com­pro­mised as you ini­tially thought

• Re­mem­ber the ugly duck­ling could be­come a swan. The bland or plain ugly fa­cade may hide po­ten­tial or an ac­tu­ally good, solid home with the right in­gre­di­ents and floor plan for you.

• Note that very stylised pic­tures can ac­tu­ally just be hid­ing an oth­er­wise re­ally quite drab home.

Check all pic­tures out along with the floor plan.

• Ex­pect the un­ex­pected. The un­ex­pected may be very mi­nor, like sim­ply a pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive feel a home has.

• Light and am­ple source of nat­u­ral day­light are one of those de­sign fea­tures we all love and that is one par­tic­u­lar area very hard to cap­ture through a lens or on screens.

So this week’s life les­son is to dis­count noth­ing from a quick on­line glance if it meets your gen­eral brief and al­ways ex­pect the un­ex­pected in re­al­ity.

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