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Why all property listings should include physical addresses

More than 60% of prospective buyers, and tenants, begin their property search online, using any one of South Africa’s half dozen or so popular property portals.

As a buyer or tenant, you will have an idea of where you would ideally like to live and what you can pay, so by narrowing down your search criteria using price, number of bedrooms and desired suburbs, you will get a list of homes currently on the market for sale or rental.

Buy by pictures

RE/MAX Coastal currently has a luxury home on the market within the Pezula Golf Estate. Set on a large stand of 4000m2, the four-bedroom home offers a sense of space with proximity to nature and the ocean.

RE/MAX Coastal currently has a luxury home on the market within the Pezula Golf Estate. Set on a large stand of 4000m2, the four-bedroom home offers a sense of space with proximity to nature and the ocean.

If the picture of the home and price entices you enough to explore further, you may save the home as a serious contender or at best, contact the agent for availability.

Based on HomeTimes research, less than 5% of suburban homes listed on the portals include actual street addresses. While some estate and complex listings do include their street addresses, a simple Google search of the estate’s name will easily reveal its exact location.

Security concerns, estate agent competition and possibly a degree of ignorance has allowed this very important factor in the home buying and renting process to be ignored for far too long. Potential buyers and tenants deserve to know exactly where they will be laying their roots before they visit the property and see that it is in fact sandwiched between semi-industrial, commercial or low-end retail property.


The exterior used on the portal

As a case in point, we searched one of South Africa’s biggest property portals and located a home for sale that had included its physical address with the following description: “House for Sale in Mountain View. This is a 3 bedroom house with 2 flats for extra income in Mountain View. In a busy street close to shops and schools.”


The house and its neighbours according to Google Street view

The photos showed that while this was an older property in need of some care, its R1m price tag gave the impression that it was likely the “ugly duckling” on a street surrounded by well-kept homes.



The church which, at the very least, is hopefully sound-proofed

A Google Maps search, using a Street View image, revealed something entirely different: The home did in fact have quite undesirable neighbours. On its right-hand side stood a large parking lot with a church at the back of the property and on its left, a Cash and Carry store adjacent to a BP petrol station (the Cash and Carry’s four dustbins placed up against the boundary wall shared by the house and a number of cars parked on the home’s pavement, likely the cars of the shop’s customers).


The Cash and Carry and petrol station add to the traffic and noise pollution, with the dustbins clearly visible beside the dividing wall



On the opposite side of the road, a local pub closed down and if there is a new business there now, it’s likely something similar

The agent selling the home should have rather marketed the home as a potential candidate for redevelopment into a business premises instead of a residential home which, with its current neighbours, will be less than pleasant.

Had this agent not included the home’s physical address, it goes without saying that many potential buyers would have been highly disappointed upon viewing, and not allowed the agent to suggest other more suitable nearby properties on her books.

We applaud agents who believe playing with open cards is the best policy, and encourage more in the industry to consider buyers’ needs as much as they do the seller’s. After all, a mandate to sell means little without a buyer.


David A Steynberg, managing editor and director of HomeTimes, has more than 10 years of experience as both a journalist and editor, having headed up Business Day’s HomeFront supplement, SAPOA’s range of four printed titles, digimags Asset in Africa and the South African Planning Institute’s official title, Planning Africa, as well as B2B titles, Building Africa and Water, Sewage & Effluent magazines. He began his career at Farmer’s Weekly magazine before moving on to People Magazine where he was awarded two Excellence Awards for Best Real Life feature as well as Writer of the Year runner-up. He is also a past fellow of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Review overview
  • Colin Michael. 14th November 2016

    I often disclose the address to my clients. There is one snag though when you do this to which I have fallen prey to. How do you know when you are dealing with an unethical seller or buyer, especially in today’s world. So is it a good idea. I don’t think so.

  • Claudie 24th March 2017

    Easy for someone to say disclose the address when they are not the ones relying on a commission only work. This makes it possible for the couch potato agent to sit on his / her bum and source your hard earned listings, as well as opening the door wide for private sales. If a Buyer makes an appointment to view a property, we show a minimum of three properties with the appointment. And if the Buyer wants to know the adresses prior to the appointments, I will happily disclose it to them directly. I have a fundamental problem with property portals in SA forcing us to disclose our stock, in order to get a better marketing rating on their sight. Would you open your client book to your competitors? No. So why are you forcing us to to this?