Rely on newspapers for property research at your peril

I don’t usually watch ABC TV’s Media Watch show but on Monday night I was pleased to have flicked over at just the right time. Newspapers love criticising financial planners in their usual sensationalised way. One Media Watch story uncovered a dirty little secret about newspapers and how they appear to be so influenced by who pays their bills – the real estate advertisers.

So when you are investing in real estate don’t trust or rely upon property information published by newspapers. It very well could be only part of the full story – the part favourable to agents and developers. Broaden and deepen your research using other information sources.

Watch or read the full Media Watch story here on the ABC website. (5 min video)

Media Watch revealed that The Age newspaper had published an online article critical of real estate agents and their ‘dirty little secrets’. The article received lots of reader comments but was quickly removed after The Age received “a forceful complaint from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria”.

So why would The Age remove such a popular story that was driving people to their website and engaging them in the content? This is what Media Watch revealed:

“Well, perhaps because of another “dirty little secret”: property ads placed by real estate agents are worth around $60 million a year to The Age, we’ve been told. That’s more than a quarter of its total advertising revenue.

So keen is the paper to keep on the good side of the property-wallahs that it takes up to seventy of them on an annual junket – this year’s trip departs to China soon.”

And newspaper journalists and editors think the financial planning industry is corrupted by how some advisers are paid? Sounds like a case of the pot calling the kettle black!

(P.S. I am a fee based planner who rebates any commissions to you.)

One thought on “Rely on newspapers for property research at your peril

  1. Yes, it always pays to ask who’s paying the piper, and hence who gets to calls the tune. This doesn’t necessarily mean the advice is biased, but it does give you one extra factor for assessing it.

    I remember reading the same thing about the media and its unholy alliance and reliance on real estate advertising in Neil Jenman’s books, and also in a book “Confessions of a Real Estate Agent”, written by an ex-journalist.

    Fortunately the Internet now makes it easy to get a broader perspective. I’ve found plenty of on-line forums discussing property investment in Australia. As with anything, you have to take what you read with a grain of salt, but it does give another perspective as well.

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