You can listen to the hype, or you can do the homework. When the local real estate market looks hot, many homebuyers and sellers can get wrapped up in the sizzle and forget about the steak, throwing caution to the wind. So where can they look to help them make an informed decision about timing when purchasing a home or selling their own?
To give homebuyers and sellers a leg up in assessing their real estate market, ten members of Forbes Real Estate Council recently compiled a list of suggestions, so we are sharing some of them here.
Be the sleuth. Immerse yourself in everything real estate in your demographic. Look at what both renovated and as-is properties are selling for, who the biggest and richest employers within close proximity are and how long properties tend to sit on the market before being sold. Information is power. You do this by letting your fingers do the walking, searching the internet for what is being said about your zip code, for a start. Then get more specific — such as “real estate statistics for (zip code)" or “housing starts for (zip code) or even crime statistics. Be patient while getting curious.
If you plan to stay in the area long term, the council advises you to look for stable areas with good schools, multiple major employers, and moderate population growth. If you think you’ll be there 5 years or less (or flipping a property), look for the hot areas where investors are improving value. Your short-term equity gains may far outpace appreciation. Just remember that these areas can be cyclical, so be prepared to sell when the local values peak.
While online home value estimators may not always be accurate, it can give you a take on whether the market is heating up or cooling down based upon the periodic updates it lists for a home’s address. These websites will never give you enough information to give you an exact value, but it can reveal trends in local areas.
Pretend you are a real estate broker. No, you can’t go around representing yourself as one. But you can use some of the same public record resources they do, reaching out to one of the best resources for actionable, real-time market data: your local title companies. Title companies can provide detailed information, such as recent closed sales in the local market, sales trends over time, etc. But who ever thinks of calling one of them or going into one of them and requesting this data except for real estate professionals? Now you do.Source: Forbes, TBWS
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