Where to look and what to believe – Enzo Raimondo

There is no doubt the Internet has made it easier for buyers of property – or has it? Where do you start and what are the best tools to use?  How do you read the information?  Enzo Raimondo from VIEW throws some light on that.
Kevin:  There’s no doubt the Internet has made it easier for buyers of property – or has it? Is there too much information and therefore, the risk of paralysis by over-analysis? Where do you start, and what are the best tools to use? How do you read all of the information that’s available?
Well, View: you’ve heard us talk about View. That’s a website that’s been designed to be the property insight site. Enzo Raimondo is the driving force behind the site. He joins me now.
Enzo, thanks for your time.
Enzo:  Good day, Kevin. How are you?
Kevin:  Fantastic, mate, thank you. I’m really enjoying working with you and working with the site as well. Enzo, just a question for you. How do we make our way through this mass of information that’s available and growing all of the time, I have to say?
Enzo:  The Internet has made it so easy to find information, but sometimes, like all information, you have to sift through it to find out what is valuable and what isn’t. We decided at View.com.au that with my experience of having worked in the real estate industry in REIs in Melbourne and South Australia and also at the national level, that one of the things that consumers used to complain quite a lot about in every state is they didn’t necessarily trust the information they were being given and they found it very difficult to wade their way through numerous websites.
So, what we decided to do at View was provide a database of every address in Australia so that anyone wanting to know about a particular property, wherever they are in Australia, they can come to View.com.au and have a look at the property, its attributes, how many times it sold, what it sold for, the neighborhood, the demographics, and even construct their own desktop valuation of the property.
We think it’s great for homeowners who just want to know what their property is worth today, whether they’re thinking of selling, whether they’re thinking of buying, whether they’re thinking of investing. We want to make sure that we bridge the information asymmetry gap that currently exists between people who aren’t active in the market regularly compared to those who are working in the market every day, like estate agents and others.
Kevin:  What advice do you have for people or someone starting out their house hunting journey, Enzo?
Enzo:  The advice is very simple and it’s been consistent: do your research first. Find out what property prices are doing in an area that you’re looking to buy into or invest into. Look at the amenities, look at the price growth over the last five to ten years.
Are you buying it as an investment to make money? Are you buying it for a lifestyle? Sometimes you have to forgo capital growth for lifestyle and vice versa, so make a decision based on what you want from the property and visit View because we’ll give you as much information as we can about every property.
Kevin:  You mentioned earlier about desktop valuations. Do they really work? How accurate are they really, Enzo? What influences them?
Enzo:  Desktop valuation use a whole range of data sets and very comprehensive algorithms. Now, the banks use them, obviously, before they approve a loan. They’re a starting point or price guide for what a property may be worth. At the end of the day, the market will determine what a property is worth, but an automated valuation model or a desktop valuation model is a starting point and will give you a fairly close indication of what the property may be worth.
Some properties, if they’re unique and there are not many around that you can compare with, obviously, the algorithm is going to find it a bit more difficult to give an accurate valuation, but generally for your typical median-priced home in any capital city in Australia, it’s very, very close to what the property is worth.
Kevin:  The other thing I’ve noticed and I’ll quickly mention this about View is there is a lot of great information on the site. It tells you about the makeup of the house. Sometimes improvements happen in a house and View might not know about it necessarily, which is going to impact the valuation, so it’s always good to cross-check that. And that could be an explanation as to maybe why the valuations are not quite what you thought, Enzo.
Enzo:  We’ve even tackled that, because you can actually change the attributes. The algorithm works on the number of attributes. It works on the location, it works on the attributes of the property, how many bedrooms, how many bathrooms, car spaces, land size, sold properties in the area, and the median price. But as you said, it won’t know if you’ve added a bathroom or a bedroom or another kitchen or whatever you want to do.
So, we’ve given the public the ability to go in and change the attributes and pick their own comparables. The algorithm will serve up three of what it believes to be the closest comparables based on the attributes it knows, but if you change those attributes, you’ll be able to change the comparables, and it will change the price as you scroll through those comparables.
It’s a really easy way to get an indication of what adding a bathroom or another bedroom might do to your place, or if you’ve actually done that, to work out what the current value of your property is.
Kevin:  Well, there you go. That’s a great tool for you to start with and get a good handle of what the market is doing: View.com.au.
Enzo, thanks so much for your time and your support too. I look forward to working with you. Thanks, Enzo.
Enzo:  Thanks, Kevin.

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