NSW government backs UberX of property industry to help home buyers save money

Dubbed the UberX of the property industry, costly inspection reports are sold on to other potential bidders at a discount. Now the NSW government is getting behind this emerging area of the sharing economy in a move it hopes will save prospective home buyers hundreds of dollars.

From July, in an Australian first, real estate agents will be required to keep a disclosure log of any building and pest, strata or contract review reports that have been done for a property they are marketing.

The information – including the company that did the report and their contact details – will be made available to potential purchasers when they request a contract.

The idea is to give a boost to start-ups like Before You Bid and Eyeon, which seek to reduce the cost of buying inspection reports through collaboration.

For example, Before You Bid offers to provide a building and pest inspection report for $499. If one other person purchases the report, the price falls to $259 and to $189 for three people.

The company has a panel of 20 report providers who are subject to an Uber-style rating system by customers.

Eyeon works slightly differently, focusing on reducing the risk of paying full price for a report if you are not the successful bidder.

Under its Open Access report system, the property vendor contributes to the cost of the report – which is done by Eyeon with no approval rights for the vendor – and prospective buyers can then download it from the website for $99.

Only the successful purchaser pays a top-up fee that brings the total cost to $448.

NSW Innovation and Better Regulation Minister Victor Dominello said the government will amend the Property, Stock and Business Agents Regulation 2014 to bring the new laws into force.

"Inspection reports often cost hundreds of dollars each and are a financial burden for potential buyers," he said.

"This reform will help reduce that burden by increasing transparency in the marketplace."

Before You Bid chief executive Rhys Rogers said the change would increase transparency for buyers.

"It means agents can't pick and choose what reports they make available to interested buyers," he said.

Eyeon managing director Michael Ferrier welcomed the change.

"Anything that adds to transparency in terms of the due diligence process is a good thing," he said.

The story NSW government backs UberX of property industry to help home buyers save money first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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