Investors and homebuyers have been warned that they face serious dangers if they rely solely on apps and other digital platforms for information when it comes to purchasing a property.

The warning comes from the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia (REBAA) following the launch of a new app by a US based start-up that claims to provide buyers with real time data on the property market.

REBAA president Rich Harvey said the market is already flooded by a number of apps and information sources that could easily lead buyers into making potentially disastrous decisions.

“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,” Harvey said.

“Take the investor who sees a report promising high capital growth and yield based on two years figures, then buys a property but has major regrets two years later when developers flood the market or the mining boom subsides,” he said.

Harvey said the digital age has led to some benefits, mainly the fact that people can access information in a more timely manner, however he said people need to realise they likely only offer a broad overview of the market and can fail to take into account things such as renovation works and aspect.

“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 some free online tools.

“These apps generally don’t provide any financial advice but simply offer a ‘one size fits all’ database of information and documents on which the naïve investor needs to make a decision.”

While Harvey may be somewhat biased due to his role at REBAA and the fact he is a professional buyers agent, he believes buyers who rely on free information services stand a good chance of costing themselves in the long run.

“It might seem like you’re saving money in the house hunt by relying on property apps and free online reports, however it could be far more costly in the long run if you buy an unsuitable property

“While an app can punch out a price estimate in five seconds, it can take years of training and experience to understand property values accurately. 

“Engaging a buyer’s agent adds yet another layer of protection by analysing the data, negotiating for the purchaser and protecting them from making an emotional decision rather than an informed one.”