Article: Speak Easy

Property Information You’ll Be Amazed  To Find Online with Michael BoturProperty Information You’ll Be Amazed To Find Online with Michael Botur

One of the pearls of wisdom on the website is a cringe-inducing article entitled “the best suburbs to buy when flipping property.” ‘Flipping’ property isn’t a term all of us would use with pride, when Generation Rent sees so many people left out of the housing market.

Anyway, the flipping genius behind the flipping article on says the first step to flipping property is to identify the target market of the people you’re aiming to flip the property to. “Families will want a secure home with a bath possibly and reasonably low maintenance among other things,” the anonymously-authored article argues. “Single mothers are a great target market because you can easily cater to their security wants by installing an alarm and security windows etc.”

Right. It gets even seedier. The author writes “What does your target market earn? Wouldn’t you like to know how much your potential buyer has to spend? […] The government statistics website is a place you can find out this information. If you know how much your target market earns, then you can quite easily figure out what they can afford in mortgage repayments – and therefore the total value of a property they would be likely to buy.”

It’s all rather dumb advice, because no: Statistics New Zealand doesn’t have a profile for real estate speculators listing how much each New Zealander has to spend, nor an address registry so you can go knock on their door and try flip them a house. Property flippers have little control or insight over who is going to become interested in buying the property. The only useful idea in this column is the observation that lots of insightful property data is available online. You would be amazed, actually, at what information is easy to find these days. As I wrote in PropertyPlus earlier in the year, “Several websites tell you the floor size of my house, how many rooms I have, when my home was built, how many cars I can fit in my garage, my land area and contours of my section.”

A spinoff from our overheated housing economy, websites like, Terranet and offer details about how close petrol stations, cemeteries, motorways and pylons are, sell you copies of land titles, survey plans, and transaction reports.

However, no website (yet) tells you about safety issues affecting a house such as meth contamination for dodgy wiring, although it won’t be long before a forward-thinking pioneer does build a website based on data from police or meth clean-up operators listing properties affected by meth contamination.

That’s actually a genius idea. I thought of it first, though, so all royalties go to me.

Anyway, here’s a guide to some of the info you can find out there, which may surprise you:

Want to find out the values of the houses of all your neighbours? That’s easy – head to for a map showing all market values down your street
What about sales history?
Yup, available on many property websites at the click of a button too.
Want to find out the crime rate in an area? Head to or the privately created crime maps of Fairfax or NZ Herald
Want to find out if your real estate agent has been disciplined recently for poor conduct? That info is given on the REAA Public Register of licensed real estate agents, as well as the contact details of any agent in the country
Want to find out if your house has had meth smoked or manufactured in it? You’ll have to wait until contracting the services of a real estate agent. Real estate licensees have obligations to disclose defects and obligations to act honestly and transparently and must usually disclose anything the buyer asks about meth contamination, building/structural and consent issues, or any proposed developments in the area that may impact on the property. Real estate licensees also usually have to disclose ‘Sensitive’ issues including a death at the property.

Michael Botur has published journalism in NZ Herald, Herald on Sunday, Sunday Star-Times and Mana and he writes a lot of fiction. He moved to Whangarei in 2015 and was ecstatic to be able to afford a house here.

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