The positives and negatives of RP Data…or was it just negatives?

Today’s guest speaker, Allan Teale, was to talk to us about RP Data, which in summary is an Australian electronic device offering real estate property valuation and house prices. Allan Teale took one for the team and had to step up to the lecture stand to replace the well respected Mark Tait, however Allan did it incredibly well and provided an entertaining interactive lecture. Despite the planned lecture to be on what RP data was all about and its many uses, the talk ironically ended up being steered more towards a humorous evaluation of RP data and its many negatives and reasons as to why we should not use it.

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The introduction of the talk started off with RP data’s main activity to be “the delivery of accurate and detailed property information and analytics”. Allan found it quite entertaining, as well as I, that RP data claims to be “accurate”, where he disagreed completely. Don’t worry, Allan took it upon his own to justify his reasons and provided us with well-investigated, carefully constructed evidence of numerous properties that were not so accurate. One example, which personally was my favourite, was a property in Alexandria, which claims on RP data’s site to be a unit complex when in reality the photo shows something quite different…a garage. I’m sure when the tenants went to move in to their new unit they were quite shocked with the roller door and their not so spacious unit.

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Another reason as to why RP data isn’t all its hyped up to be is that it may not be a great market indicator as property can settle up to three months later. However, one positive, and one of the only ones I can recall that was mentioned is that RP data does provide sufficient suburb profiles including household occupany and median price sales. So if you want a suburb profile, then RP data is your go-to.

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You may be thinking, well if RP data isn’t really adequate enough for the modern day electronic guru who prefer to do everything with a click of a button, like myself, then what can we use? The answer is, as provided by Allan, City Scope and Price Finder. Both sites have different markets, City Scope being commercial and Price Finder residential. City Scope provides a better form of literature info and gives its user broad details on all commercial properties and strata units within a defined geographic CBD region, including their attributes and detailed ownership and contact info, which is virtually everything you want in a commercial property information website! Keeping up with the high standards of City Scope is Price Finder, and unlike RP Data, Price Finder seems to actually have some benefit. Just to name a few, its user-friendly site provides more accurate information, photos of all the properties (detailed and more truthful than RP data) and a fantastic mapping tool (which was demonstrated during the lecture). For those who have attentively been reading my posts like no tomorrow you may remember my post on GIS, where in todays lecture GIS was directly linked to the mapping tool in Price Finder by giving each property a geo code so that it would be linked to a photo and a map. It was a very nifty and useful tool, one that made Price Finder that much better.

And if you’re not a modern day guru who prefers the more old fashioned way of collecting information, then local agents will be your main source, and usually the most accurate too! They’re up to date with recent sales and can provide loads of information on a specific property. So it’s a win-win situation…if you can get them to spare some time to talk to you!

Personally, on the most part I do have to agree with Allan in regards to RP Data and Price Finder. I sat at my computer on RP Data for half an hour the other night trying to find sales information on my house, except after about 20 attempts the only information RP Data would give me is that the address does not exist! I was confused considering I was sitting in the very house itself. After a lightbulb going off in my head, I realized that RP Data was incredibly pedantic, and I had to spell Road as ‘rd’. Don’t ask me why I didn’t think of it earlier. After navigating my way around the site I found it much more difficult to use than Price Finder, but remember I am no expert in these sites so maybe RP data has benefits that only the expert could differentiate. So I pose a question to you, my readers (if anyone apart from myself does read this), if you have used both RP data and Price Finder, which one do you prefer? Below is a quick video of one industry professional who is an avid user of RP Data.

Nonetheless, just to clarify, each site and source of information has its positives as well as its flaws (RP data just seems to have more flaws than positives), so to keep on the safe side it’s recommended, just like any serious researcher, that all information corresponds with each other to increase its reliability and accuracy. We should all know by now that relying on one source is never the answer, I learnt from that mistake when I solely used Wikipedia for my year 5 school project.

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