What is a Property Report?
A Property Report is a compilation of information gathered about a particular property being offered for sale that a buyer, or buyer’s broker, will need to determine if the property in question will fit the intended use of the potential buyer. Property Reports can be found on donn.com for every property our real estate brokerage has listed.
The concept of a Property Report originated when I came back to work in mid 2008. My plan was to list as many properties as I had time to manage – and then some. The plan was to have signs planted along every major artery in San Diego’s backcountry. With time being my limiting factor, I made the decision to invest more to time to investigate and describe each property up front in an effort to eliminate pulling the file and scanning or faxing specific information to every inquiring party during the life of the active listing. The idea was to describe and disclose, photograph, research, and post online a profile of each listing so that inquiring minds could be directed to my WEB site and find what they needed to know about a specific property.
Initially, this process proved to be very labor intensive and the cost effectiveness questionable. However, practice revealed how steps could be saved when in the field and researching property. Soon, these reports were produced with relative ease, as they amounted to nothing more than documenting the steps involved in understanding what is being offered for sale. The biggest obstacle was mastering the technology to bring the information together in a concise and coherent format which would be easily accessed and accepted by clients and the broker community.
Property Reports typically include a brief description of the offering, a flyer with photos, the Multiple Listing Service output form, aerial photographs depicting the parcel boundaries and surrounding geo-social context, zoning maps and allowable uses under the appropriate zoning ordinance, socio-economic demographics, disclosure of noteworthy material facts affecting the property value, as well as other additional information specific to a given property which a potential buyer might find useful. Completion of a Property Report electronic binder signals the agents in our brokerage that the property is ready to market.
In retrospect, the Property Report concept has served our brokerage in more ways than initially intended. In fact, other brokerages are now modeling their own variation of a client handout after our report for the obvious reason, which is to inform potential buyers. One very important unintended effect of incorporating the Property Report compilation process into our business routine was the training and development of staff members responsible for putting these electronic binders together. The act of researching and compiling these reports appeared to short circuit the learning curve for these agents by directing their attention to the only relevant information and technology necessary to describe and disclose real property. Well informed agents are less likely to unintentionally perpetuate past mistakes, such as inaccurate property boundaries, encroachments, unpermitted improvements, incongruent zoning laws and intended client use, and the like.
Another benefit to our brokerage has been the ever-growing database of information gathered about a particular property. All other factors equal, there is no better agent to sell a particular property than the agent who has sold the same property previously – especially when the agent has immediate access to the due diligence and investigative work already done on the property. As a result of this phenomenon, we began keeping electronic files of this valuable information indexed by the county tax assessor’s parcel number – the atomic unit of identifying real property.
The accumulation of our indexed Property Reports also builds brokerage value. Generally speaking, the value of a real estate brokerage is limited to office location and the ability of the agents to produce successful transactions at any given point in time. There is little residual value of past efforts in this particular professional service industry, aside from repeat and referral business. In much the same way an organized and maintained client database can be a valuable asset resulting from immediate past efforts, a well-organized and easily accessible property database can hold significant future value for agents and prospective buyers and sellers.
We welcome your comments on our Property Reports!