07 Aug 2020

Melbourne property buyers warned not to buy sight unseen

With stage 4 COVID lockdown restrictions now in effect in Melbourne, homebuyers are being warned not to buy sight unseen.

Real Estate Buyers Agents Association (REBAA) president Cate Bakos said she was alarmed by the number of homebuyers considering purchasing real estate based on video footage and online photographs only.

“We’ve had lots of buyers tell us that it looks great on the internet and that they’re familiar with the area and they’re willing to buy online,” she said.

“Buying sight unseen is a definite no-no and now is not the time to take unnecessary risk.”

She advised buyers to wait until restrictions eased and when physical property inspections return, either in-person or through a reliable third party such as a professional accredited buyer’s agent.

She said while new technologies had made it easier for home buyers and investors to assess property, it was 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 and aspect.

“There is a plethora of free information available on the internet and via mobile apps but the serious danger we see for buyers and investors is how this information is interpreted and acted upon,” said Ms Bakos.

“There is no dispute that technology has enabled faster delivery of information across a multitude of devices and in a more efficient timeframe.

“But 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/or photographs that may or may not be showcasing the property’s flaws.

“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. These can include light, aspect, structural and building defects that could be prohibitively costly to fix in the long run if you buy an unsuitable property.”