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