Today we tell you about a web site that will tell you everything you need to know about a property – anywhere in Australia. The site is called Microburbs and is the brainchild of Luke Metcalf who built it to help him find a property. Now you can use it – and its FREE.
Kevin: So often we’re asked the question about research, “How do I go about finding the best property in the best marketplace? Is there one site that does it all?” Up until now there have been a number of sites you had to go through to get all the detailed information you need. I’ve been contacted about a site called Microburbs. Now, I’ll give you that detail again in just a moment, but the man behind the site is Luke Metcalf, and Luke joins me.
Luke: Hi, Kevin. How are you?
Kevin: Well thanks, mate. Congratulations on what you’re doing here. Now, Microburbs: tell me how it came about and what can we expect to see?
Luke: Sure. This came about because my wife and I were looking for a property and we spent countless Saturdays going from property to property, often only to find that if we’d just done more research online we would have been able to save on inspections and really get to know what’s out there. There’s enormous amount of government data that’s out there, but it’s in a lot of different places. There’s business data, as well.
So my vision was to create a site that puts all that data into a single place, into a single report. You put in any address in Australia and it gives you a free scorecard looking at all these different ways of looking at a property.
Kevin: Of course, we’ve heard of sites like Walk Score and places like that. What you’ve actually done is combine a lot to look at things like lifestyle, tranquility, the family score, investor data, what’s happening in the community – in fact, the whole profile on the area that you’re looking at. Where did you get all this information from, Luke?
Luke: On the Walk Score point, I would consider us Walk Score on steroids. Walk Score, they’re all about walkable places – particularly good for the inner city, but for general Australians, we generally drive a lot of places. We don’t mind if it’s ten minutes’ drive to the shops. I wanted to consider that along with family and other things.
To answer your question about where we get the data from, the biggest source is the OBS with their census data. They provide very fine-grained data that we use on the site. Also, a lot of it comes from Google. When people submit their properties to Google Places, we use that data, as well, and various other sources, as well.
Kevin: It’s even as detailed as looking at what the Internet is like in different places, as well, and what applications have gone through local government for development in the area. It’s actually quite comprehensive. What’s the cost for the site? What does it cost for me to get one of these reports?
Luke: It’s absolutely free. We launched just three months ago, and our mission really is just to help out buyers. I’m sure there will be a business model further down the track. Obviously, in real estate there’s a lot of value there. For us, it’s just really sold by its promise, get the message out, and the site is completely free of charge.
Kevin: Is there at any stage a thought that you might monetize this in some way?
Luke: There will be. There are a number of different models there. Obviously, there’s the On The House model where they charge for advertising. I’m not so keen on the Domain/REA model of charging for listings, but that is another one. There’s the subscription model, like Real Estate Investor. We’re a funded start-up. We have money. We’re not about to run out of it. It’s just out there for free.
Kevin: I can see that real estate agents would love this, too, to be able to send out to their buyers. They’ll do an open house and they’ll send this information to the people who come through the open house. I can see them being all over this. Are you getting any reaction from the industry about it?
Luke: Yes, it’s very positive actually. At first, I was wondering would some agents think of it as competitive, because our slogan is “Get the facts that the property ad left out.” But they’re actually very warm to it. They themselves are the experts in their little areas and they already know about little farm areas and that, and now they have a site that they can show buyers and potential vendors, “Look this is really what your neighbors are like statistically.”
Kevin: I can see that agents will be all over this, as will buyers in particular, and I guess it’s also handy for sellers, too, to get a feel for what their market is like. I’ve been in and had a look at our place and learned a few things that I didn’t know about our neighborhood too.
Luke, it’s a great site. It’s called Microburbs. I guess that’s as in “suburbs.” It’s just Microburbs.com.au. The man I’ve been talking to is Luke Metcalf, the man behind it. Check it out for yourself, especially if you’re looking at purchasing a property.
Luke, congratulations on what you’re doing. I look forward to following it with you, and thanks for spending some time with us today.
Luke: Thank you very much, Kevin. It was a pleasure.