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Listen to the professionals, not the speculators

By Monica Boyd

The real estate industry is unparalleled in the sheer number of pundits who are eager to discuss it.

Although many sectors suffer from a similar fate, the real estate industry holds a special place in the history books for the sheer number of pundits constantly scanning the environment, eager to find anyone who’ll listen to their latest thoughts on the market.

Whether it be discussing why (insert capital city) is about to burst, why Melbourne and Brisbane are oversupplied or how to beat your local agent at their own game, property investment and ownership are regularly at the forefront of the public’s mind – whether it be a hot topic at the dinner table, a quick word at the airport lounge, or perhaps mingling at the Saturday open for inspection of your neighbour’s place.

Recalling this fascination with property is often, and presumably, quite accurately tied in with the traditional ‘Great Australian Dream’ of owning a quarter acre block – arguably more of a ‘Great Australian Pipe Dream’ than an attainable one these days.

Nonetheless, there is no doubt that buyers participating in the market in the current climate are far more well-equipped than they were even just ten years ago – rapid advancements in the internet in particular has led to more information, analysis, statistics and opinions being accessible with just a click of the mouse than ever before in our Nation’s history.

Importantly however, in line with such an upswing in knowledge and intelligence becoming readily available is the rise and rise of self-proclaimed ‘experts’, ‘industry gurus’ and ‘authority’s on the marketplace’.

In particular, these ‘virtuoso’s’ can often be observed writing for one of the major sensationalist news’ services, running ‘what they won’t tell you’ seminars, or producing ‘why we’re shorting the housing market and you should to’ papers.

Of course, the majority of the buying public are far too educated to take any of these outrageous practices seriously, but it does raise an important question – who should people really listen to when considering buying, selling, leasing or developing property assets?

In considering this question, we must look elsewhere at other industries and pose the question as to who would be best placed to provide advice in this sector?

⁃ considering a prenuptial agreement?

⁃ reducing your business expenses?

⁃ investing in stocks?

Without too much difficulty, we all know that the answers to the above are of course the professionals within each sector – the lawyer, accountant and stockbroker respectively.

With this in mind, why is it that so many property speculators, university academics and spruikers receive the attention they crave, rather than deserve?

It’s often said that purchasing a property is one of, if not the biggest financial decision humans make in their entire lives.

If this is indeed true, and I’d be shocked if anyone seriously doubted such a statement, doesn’t it make sense to focus on the forecasts, trends and opinions provided by the professionals, i/e real estate agents and buyer’s agents, rather than those whose only interests are to sell more papers, increase attendances or sell more spin?

In marked contrast to ‘fringe-dwellers’ on the outer of the industry, heeding the advice of those that actually make it their job to be across market conditions, activity levels and future growth areas should undoubtedly be a logical first and lasting move.

Real estate agents, buyers’ agents and professionals working within the industry itself have the experience, expertise and knowledge of the market and are effectively able to provide advice on all kinds of transactions – whether it be for first home buyers, experienced investors, land developers or otherwise.

In an era of information overload, let us all pay attention to those on the inner, not the outer.

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