08 Mar 2021

30% of buyers would buy sight unseen as property market gathers pace, survey finds

A survey by the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association (REBAA) and Property Talk Australia (PTA) has found 30% of buyers would take the risk and buy without physically inspecting a property in person.

As property markets heat up right across the country, buyer’s agents are warning would-be home buyers not to buy sight unseen or risk regret.

According to the 2021 REBAA & PTA Buyer Barometer Survey which gathered insights from 745 homebuyers and investors nationally, almost half of investors are looking to buy regional or interstate in 2021 and many are willing to buy sight unseen to get a foot in the door.

“In an increasingly digital world and in very competitive markets, our research has shown that a third of buyers feel confident enough to purchase a property sight unseen,” said Ms Bakos.

“It’s alarming to think that people are basing the biggest financial investment decision they’re likely to make in a lifetime on a video and a few photographs that may or may not be showcasing the property’s flaws.

“We are concerned at this level of apathy and warn buyers that while new technologies have made it easier for home buyers and investors to assess property, it’s risky business to invest based on technology alone.”

According to Ms Bakos many free valuation tools and technology apps are highly flawed and fail to take in renovation works, subdivided sites, orientation, and other important aspects.

“These free valuation tools are merely built with algorithms, and as clever as they are, they can’t offer the same insights that a genuine valuation does,” says Ms Bakos.

She said by not physically inspecting property, perennial and invisible problems like mould and damp, unsightly smells, noisy neighbours, flight paths and road noise could easily be overlooked.

“It might look good in the video and photographs but there may be a number of serious flaws that aren’t showcased by the selling agency,” said Ms Bakos.

“These can include light, aspect, structural and building defects, room size, low ceilings and doorways and low-quality renovations that photograph well.”

Ms Bakos urged buyers who were unable to physically inspect property to get a reputable third party, such as a professional buyer’s agent, to inspect the property on their behalf.

“It is also valuable for buyers to engage a qualified building and pest inspector to check the dwelling for them also,” she said.

“Investing in a third-party inspection with an independent professional is like an insurance policy – it could save you thousands in the long-term,” she said.

“The last thing you want to do is get the price wrong and pay too much.”