The internet has changed our world. From shopping for that favourite t-shirt to ordering the monthly grocery, everything is just a few taps away. But can you find your life partner or your dream home or commercial property on the internet? Just like matrimonial websites, property portals may throw up some attractive options. But you wouldn’t marry someone without meeting them, would you? Why would you then buy a house or lease commercial real estate without actually seeing it?
The risks in finding a match or commercial real estate on the internet are quite similar. Like matrimonial sites, property portals can turn into a landmine of complications. Here is what nobody tells you about online hunts for the ideal commercial real estate.
1. Appearances are deceptive
Be it matrimonial websites or property portals, photos and words can only tell you that much. And at times they can be misleading. Photos posted on matrimonial websites are often digitally altered and touched up to make the subject look more appealing. Similarly, professional property photos are usually taken with a wide angle lens in to let in maximum light. While this technique serves to make spaces look more striking, it can also make them look significantly larger.
2. Errors galore!
How would you feel if you found out that your spouse is 5 feet 7 inches when her online profile said 5 feet 2 inches? You could face the same disappointment in your hunt for commercial real estate. Online property listings are prone to errors on key features, like number of rooms, cabins, bathrooms, parking space and more. Also, the data is not always accurate. Some websites update data every hour, others daily and others weekly. Since commercial spaces are added and removed from the market frequently, your chosen property may already be taken. Also beware of portals that post pictures of unavailable projects to generate enquiries.
3. Seeing is believing
Say you have liked a profile on a matrimonial website, and you have also shared some pleasant conversation. Yet, you can’t really form a definite opinion about the person of your interest without actually meeting him. With online leasing too, you can’t judge the condition of the property from your laptop or smartphone. Nothing beats personally checking the space or getting somebody reliable to check it on your behalf.
4. Risk of fraud
Fraud is commonplace in the virtual world. Whether it is a matrimonial site or a property portal, the information listed is usually not verified. Gullible customers make financial transactions on unsecured property portals and end up as victims of fraud.
5. Lack of personal touch
For time immemorial, relatives, neighbours or matchmakers have been instrumental in forging successful alliances. In case of a property transaction, an agent lends this personal touch. Even if you can’t view the space in person, it helps to hire a professional real estate agent. He can visit the property on your behalf and even take additional pictures and report back.
A thorough background check of a prospective bride or groom is often carried out by the matchmaker. Similarly, a property broker can also check out the surrounding area, amenities, and connectivity around a commercial property. He can also find information about a property that will not be available in its online listing, like previous rent and comparable rent in the area.
Marriages are not always made on the internet and neither are property deals. Going online may be in vogue, but do so at your own risk. Ultimately, due diligence and the services of a real estate broker are fundamental to finding your dream commercial real estate.