Property and dangers of a digital footprint
Before the Internet, properties were primarily marketed via newspaper advertisements, signs and in agents’ windows. These mediums had a remarkable and often overlooked advantage over modern forms of advertising – they left no easily traceable marketing or sales history (a digital footprint).
There is an old saying ‘nothing is as useless as yesterday’s newspapers’. In the newspaper age, an owner could dip their toe in to test the waters. If they didn’t like the result, they would take the property off the market or reduce the price. Without a digital footprint, there was very little long-term harm to the value of the property. The marketplace quickly forgot.
Conversely, the Internet remembers everything and forgets nothing.
Properties advertised in Australia appear largely on two majors: realestate.com.au and domain.com.au. CoreLogic, the parent company of RP Data and the largest supplier of property information in Australia, receives routine advertising and known property information from both sites, resulting in an easily accessible pool of information.
Why should this be a concern for property owners?
Before the Internet, the only indication a property had been on the market for an extended period was a faded card in a real estate window or a crooked, worn sign in the front yard. Once removed, these two signals faded quickly from the marketplace’s collective memory. An owner could have another attempted in twelve months and few would remember the previous attempt.
Now – the Internet creates a digital footprint, a record of a property’s advertising and pricing history for all to see.
A digital footprint intensifies the danger posed by an extended marketing period.
Significant long-term damage occurs to the property’s recorded history and eventual selling price if it is launched onto the main real estate portals at an inflated price and does not sell. As a rule, the price of a property drops if it is viewed more but not purchased.
One click on realestate.com.au will lead a user to the number of page visits, giving a buyer an early idea of a property’s time on market and desirability.
Has it sold in the past and for how much? Did the property get passed in at auction? Why hasn’t it sold? Is there a reason why so many people looked at this property and not bought it? Why has it been withdrawn from sale? The answers to these questions always increase a buyer’s negotiating power.