The latest happenings in the Melbourne property market. For our Essays and The Secret Agent Report, see our Research page.

Category Archives For: Innovation

Innovation comes from tough times

Recently when travelling in San Francisco, I used a service which I’ve written about a few times on this blog call

It’s an incredible service that I highly recommend to anyone travelling overseas. I used this to acquire a loft apartment for a week.

Basically people can lease out a bedroom, an entire apartment or even a tent in their backyard.

What’s so special about this service is that it makes the following changes:

1. It lets people slice up and lease their real estate like never before. Letting out rooms for a short term has always been tough, but lets you do this.

2. It gives travellers to a new city or country another option besides hotels. I don’t know about you – but my best experiences overseas have been when I’ve hired a private apartment and lived without the trappings of a hotel. You get to experience a destination like a local.

3. A service like this gives a mortgage holder a chance to help pay off their property debt by incurring extra income from their asset.
This in America, has helped many people fight off foreclosure.

4. Moving into a more mobile society, airbnb lets people well and truly be mobile. A web development guy that worked on our new site is currently living off the site in LA. He swears by it.

So this presents an interesting situation for real estate, landlords and agents. We normally see 12 month leases drawn for most places yet I’m sure we will see a swing in the other direction moving forward.

What’s really interesting is that New York has just banned short terms lettings of less than 30 days. Possibly under pressure from big hotel organisations.

In Melbourne, I’m noticing short term accommodation become more and more popular. In fact it also offers another opportunity to investors
who are seeking higher returns in a generally speaking poor return environment.

Moving past paper

We should really get better at paperless transactions.

It’s the frustration to many buyers on waiting for contracts getting sent by post from solicitor to agent to purchaser.

The art of a pdf contract is nothing new but still foreign to many business practices in Melbourne. Some interesting programs are coming out with digital signatures and provide a much speedier way of doing business.

Naturally we will see a slow uptake and some concerns to begin with, but just like internet banking – I think people will grow confidence with digital exchanges in the not too distant future.

Make me move

I think we will see more people embrace platforms like Make Me Move in the future.

How this works is it gives sellers an option to list their home at a ‘dream price’. If someone really wants their home then they move because the offer is really worth it, otherwise they just stay put and keep enjoying their home.

Combine scarcity and emotion, which are two prominent aspects of the home buying process and it’s no wonder that something like this will eventuate.

Growing your home

If you’re open minded and interested in how future homes could decrease your carbon foot print, this short video may be of interest.

It might take a while to catch on however. is a site in the USA which is growing incredibly quickly.

The concept is that people can rent a private or shared apartment for any duration of time (whether that be a day or a few months) from someone who has listed their place on the site.

Brian Chesky one of the co founders of has decided to use his own site to constantly move every few days rather than sign a lease for an annual term.

Interesting stuff!

These guys feel this is the future of travel and are aiming to take some market share from hotels and serviced apartments. They also see this as a rental alternative to the young and mobile, rather than signing leases.

Will we see these nomadic & social tendencies start hitting Melbourne’s rental market?

Why the iPad will change everything

Tomorrow the iPad gets released into Australia. For all of those not familiar – check Apple to see what the fuss is about.

The Real Estate industry – both consumers and those that make a living from it like me, are going to see a major change to the way Real Estate is transacted over the next 24 months.

We should see an explosion of tablet devices that are great for being mobile.
In fact Real Estate is a prime opportunity for two of the biggest trends. These are mobile + real time data which work so well together.

This means the speed of buying and communicating is going to be ramped up. It’s going to mean a large shift in business models in the Melbourne market and will set a different expectation from the consumer.

I’m looking forward to seeing this evolution taking place.

Space Savers

I was having a chat with a client today about the growing trends of people living by themselves. This really is a huge trend when looking at demographics, especially with the older market.

This video is really impressive, as it deals with the reality of more people living in smaller spaces moving forward here in Melbourne. This is extreme, but it shows what you can do with a 30m2 apartment.

It’s worth a look if you can get through the 30 second ad at the start of the clip. Who would have thought that 24 different room combination’s is possible in that space? To watch click here.

Future way of paying deposits?

Who really uses cheque books these days? I cringe that I have to, operating a trust account means that cheques are still the only solution for some payments.

If you are successful on auction day a deposit cheque will need to be produced. Many people just don’t have a personal cheque book these days, so often they need to borrow a cheque for the day or many people will get a prepaid bank cheque made up for what roughly 10% of the purchase price will be, as they still have no idea on what they might actually pay for the property. Property prices can vary massively as we all know.

Time is short and many buyers can waste so much time/money getting bank cheques drawn up for various real estate transactions.

Well meet squareup, this company is turning payment systems on its head. Watch the video to see how they might just change the way we pay for things in public spaces. I can see Real Estate using this in a big way moving forward.

The future of search?

blue3One of the most interesting future oriented ways of searching for property, is a recent launch of 'Blue Scape' by Coldwell Banker.

This feature works by displaying a series of photos to the user. A simple thumbs up or thumbs down are displayed for you the user to click on. Each person is different, so naturally some shots will be pleasing to you while others would not interest you in the slightest.

After reviewing and selecting/culling as many photos as you wish, Blue Scape will then display a series recommended property listings on yourbehalf. This really is about trying to ascertain the lifestyle you want, and then paring up the most appropriate choices.

This feature looks great and seems like a great idea. The recommended listings however really don't seem to match my idea of a desirable
property. This is really in its early stages, but I think for a computer to precisely get the right listings for your needs: we are still a long way off.

Read the full post

The power of video

As part of our service, we've really started to work hard on producing videos for clients of the property we inspect.

The response has been really positive and we look forward to continuing this in a big way moving forward.

Email us to discuss further how this might work.

{snippet articles}

Read the full post