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Knowledge is everything when wading into the online real estate world

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The rapid proliferation of online real estate services to research the property market is changing the way that Australians hunt for and buy residential real estate. But whether you’re using such online tools to find property listings and information on values, you need to carefully assess whether you are getting an accurate picture of the market.

You also need to gain a true insight into particular neighbourhoods – even down to comparing individual streets – before taking the decision to buy property in these locations.

In the current climate, only the foolhardy accept every scrap of information found online. A level of scepticism is especially critical when it comes to putting money into real estate, the most expensive financial outlay that Australians make in their lifetimes.

Success in buying and selling real estate ultimately depends on accessing accurate and up-to-the-minute local knowledge – and that often comes from closely liaising with a professional real estate agent who intimately knows an area.

The old adage that a good agent knows his area like the back of his hand has never been truer. As the inner and middle-ring suburbs of Melbourne attract higher density developments and different types of residents, having a highly-developed knowledge of how neighbourhoods are structured and the nuances between different pockets of a suburb puts buyers on the inside track to make well-informed property transaction decisions.

Nelson Alexander sales director Arch Staver says buyers now have all the resources to do their homework on property purchases.

The rapid proliferation of online services to research the property market is changing the way that Australians hunt for and buy residential real estate.

“Agents need to be fully up to speed with how people are researching online, as well as be fully across the intricacies of local neighbourhoods,” he says.

“You can’t wing it – you have to be knowledgeable and your vendor expects that from you. If buyers are well-researched, they will have questions that require detail, and if you as a real estate agent don’t have that detail you are letting the vendor down.”

Buyers, too, benefit from tapping the minds of agents.

Nelson Alexander agents are increasingly providing prospective buyers with information about the micro markets within suburbs and the demographic profiles of particular spots.

It all helps to underpin a sound buying decision. For example, by talking to a Nelson Alexander selling agent you can gain an insight into the characteristics of different streets in Princes Hill versus the streets in Carlton North, east of Lygon Street. Or you could learn more about the relative merits and price performance of Brunswick East, Brunswick central and Brunswick West; or how the neighbourhoods in the northern sections of Preston stack up against the best pockets of Reservoir.

“The reality is that you just don’t need the intimate knowledge of a suburb,” Mr Staver says. “It is the intimate knowledge of a neighbourhood that is really needed.

“Because we are just getting busier and busier in the inner-city and there are so many people living in intensely close proximity, every suburban block has its own intricacies. Melbourne is becoming like big overseas capitals in this regard – and these are the highly specialised and detailed facts that an agent needs to know.

“For example, a neighbourhood might vary significantly from one pocket of Fitzroy, such as the area south of Gertrude Street, to the area just north of Johnston Street because of the make-up of who lives in these particular areas.”

Mr Staver recommends that property punters should always combine their online searching with on-the-ground conversations and research.

If you want to know more about how to make online property research work best or learn about a particular spot, please contact a Nelson Alexander real estate agent.

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