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Six Resources You Can Use To Uncover The State Of Your Housing Market

The more information you have before deciding to buy or sell a home, the better your decisions will be. There are a laundry list of factors to consider, including school zones, average home prices and house amenities. There are also the issues of accessibility, both to the building, if you or a loved one have physical limitations or to local sights or resources. All these factors can impact final sale price, and no one likes surprises.

To help, members from the Forbes Real Estate Council discuss resources they recommend people buying or selling a home use in order to better understand the state of their housing market, as well as why the source is valuable. Here's what they suggest you do:

Six members of the Forbes Real Estate Council share their best tips.
All photos courtesy of Forbes Councils members.
Six members of the Forbes Real Estate Council share their best tips.

1. Research County Appraisal Districts

Buying or selling a home can be scary when placing or accepting an offer. How do you determine the right local value? Have no fear, your county appraisal district to the rescue! Simply Google "(County Name) Appraisal District" to find yours. In Dallas, I use DCAD.org to view the county's appraised value, then I add 10-20% on top of their value to determine a fair market retail price. Thanks, DCAD! - Angela YaunDay Realty Group

2. Mine Data For Market Patterns

As developers within extremely specific markets, we believe our edge comes in the data we gather and how we mine those. Some items I recommend everyone use to understand the strength of a market are total inventory days, average days on market and sales price as a percent of listing price. One shows the level of supply, one shows the temperature of a market and the other shows bargaining power. - Ridaa MuradBREAKFORM | RE

3. Visit Real Estate Sites

One of the best tools I always suggest my clients use to maximize their knowledge of the real estate market is Realtor.ca and Realtor.com. They are the closest program to what we Realtors use on a daily basis. The websites give you all the available listings in an area of preference, and also the demographic makeup of the area, such as age, languages, household income and much more. It's super insightful! - Alex ChiengA & L Real Estate Team

4. Use Mortgage And Net Sheet Calculators

A mortgage calculator will tell you how much your payment will be on any loan. You plug in the purchase price, down payment, term, interest rate and voila, you have a payment. Compare and contrast different loan options, and find the best one for you. A net sheet calculator will show you how much money the seller will net after selling a home and paying brokerage, title, escrow and other fees. - Max CourseyTiger Prop

5. Navigate with WalkScore

We recommend digging into WalkScore, which offers vast amounts of information on every neighborhood in the country. Navigating a city is increasingly important, and with WalkScore, neighborhoods are ranked by walkability, proximity to public transportation and other options, like rent-a-bikes and car sharing. Also included are rental rates, housing prices and notable nearby sights. - Joshua HuntTRELORA

6. Talk With Local Experts

Definitely communicate with the appraiser and broker to get insights on the local market trends. There is no better source to get qualitative information surrounding the quantitative information. Apart from providing you reports and appraisals, they can provide narrative surrounding the data points, too. -  Sohin Shah InstaLend

 

If You Are A First-Time Home Buyer, Look For These Traits In A Real Estate Agent

Buying a home for the first time is a remarkably scary, involved process. Buyers face a variety of paperwork, fees and inspection issues, as well as general confusion about what needs to be done and what comes next. Real estate agents help ease the process: They know the features of the houses in the area, as well as the school zones and amenities surrounding the properties you're likely to be interested in. They also can guide you through the paperwork and negotiations, both of which are places that can easily trip up even the savviest of researchers or planners.

But finding the right agent requires an entirely different kind of research. Real estate agents are part of a service industry, but there can be wide variations in how engaged or knowledgeable an agent is, which can limit your options when trying to find the right home. Below, members of the Forbes Real Estate Council talk about what qualities they recommend first-time buyers look for in a real estate agent. Here's what they say:

Members of the Forbes Real Estate Council discuss important traits of a good real estate agent.
All photos courtesy of Forbes Council Members.
Members of the Forbes Real Estate Council discuss important traits of a good real estate agent.

1. Find one who truly cares.

There's a difference between a real estate agent who sells and a real estate agent who sells and cares. Watch out for those agents who reschedule showings too often, don't know enough about the market and neighborhoods and are not willing to earn your business. Good agents will follow up promptly, offer suggestions, aid you through the buying process and understand your specific needs.  - Abhi GolharSummit & Crowne

2. Make sure they have strong market knowledge.

By and large, the most important consideration of a first-time home buyer in selecting a real estate agent is (according to Zillow's recent consumer survey) and most certainly should be: excellent market knowledge. This includes knowledge of the community, market trends, available finance options, schools, recreation and local ordinances. This simply comes with experience and a dedication to being of service. - Anthony D'AlicandroDwell Real Estate

3. Seek brokers who have previously built.

When it comes to purchasing your first home, it's important not to let emotions drive the decision. Having a broker who is honest, ethical and non-emotional is extremely important, as is one who is a local-market expert but, importantly, can tell you the flaws of the property you may be purchasing! A broker who has himself seen a build process will be more likely to point out the issues. - Ridaa MuradBREAKFORM | RE

4. Find a teacher, not a salesman.

Find an agent or broker who is willing to be a resource and a teacher throughout the buying process. A good agent will work well with inspectors, lenders, escrow officers and other professionals. Using their expertise, they will be able to help you navigate through the host of problems that often occur within a real estate transaction. As a buyer, you should always be questioning and learning. - Max CourseyTiger Prop

5. Research websites to find responsive agents.

First-time home buyers have questions and need responsive agents committed to a relationship. These agents know their local market, even listings that haven’t gone live. They guide buyers from search to closing, and have a track record of recent transactions to prove it. The best way to identify these agents is to look at their websites. The most responsive agents have up-to-date blogs and listings. - Frederick TownesPlacester

6. Remember these four crucial qualities.

Are your friends flooding you with, "Call Auntie Kay's Realtor" or "My mom is a Realtor"? That's fine; call them. The best qualities to look for in a realtor are: They know your area well, they listen to your wants and needs, they email you newly listed homes daily and they have a team of assistants. Your realtor is going to be your new best friend for the next few months, so choose wisely. - Angela YaunDay Realty Group

 

Nine Twitter Accounts For Aspiring Real Estate Investors To Follow

We've all heard success stories of individuals getting rich from a smart real estate investment opportunity. But like any other wealth-building strategy, success in the real estate market isn't based on luck: It requires real knowledge and skills that can only be obtained through learning.

A good place for aspiring investors to begin educating themselves is Twitter, where the best and brightest minds in the industry come together to share their valuable insights. We asked members of the Forbes Real Estate Council to share follow-worthy Twitter accounts for those looking to enter the world of real estate investing.

Experts share their favorite Twitter accounts for real estate advice.
All images courtesy of Forbes Councils members.
Experts share their favorite Twitter accounts for real estate advice.

1. Landlordology (@landlordology)

This free education site teaches everything to make you a rental investment and management pro. The site contains investment advice, state laws, Landlord Toolbox, and amazingly well-produced Landlord Guides book series, all for free. It's by far the richest, deepest resource for self-managers, and Lucas Hall, the founder of Landlordology, is a wealth of knowledge for newbies and pros alike. - Gino Zahnd, Cozy

‪2. Blackstone (@Blackstone)

I grew up studying Blackstone for a number of years and recently had the pleasure of meeting Tony James at an event at Yale. I was blown away by the depth of knowledge and experience they have amassed scaling this business into what is, quite arguably, one of the largest asset managers in the world. - Andr� Bueno, The BM Group

3. Seth Williams (@retipsterseth)

For investing, follow Seth Williams, the founder of REtipster.com. Seth knows other good real estate resources when he sees them, and he’s not shy about sharing their content with the world along with his own expert musings. His content is like a “Learn the Who’s Who of Real Estate 101” course that teaches followers how to find the most valuable real estate information online. - Frederick Townes, Placester

4. Don Campbell (@DonRCampbell)

I would suggest Don Campbell, the founder of the Real Estate Investment Network based in Canada. Don has been running the network for a long time and is also an avid real estate investor. His advice is timely and based on pure facts and real estate trends on a micro and macro level regionally. He has been analyzing and forecasting real estate markets since 1993 and I have found his advice spot on. - Ali Jamal, Stablegold Hospitality

5. Joe Fairless (@joefairless)

The one person that comes to mind immediately is Joe Fairless. He talks the talk and walks the walk. Not only is his attention to detail with investment strategy second to none, but his work with Junior Achievement is admirable. If you're looking for someone to look up to, learn from and model, it's Joe Fairless. - Abhi Golhar, Summit & Crowne

6. John Burns (@JBREC)

John Burns and his team do and share the best original research on changes you can expect in the real estate market. There's a reason homebuilders and investors pay attention to what he says. - JD Ross, Opendoor

7. Mitch Stephen (@Mitch_Stephen)

Do you want to start investing in real estate but you find yourself without the knowledge and funding to do so? Check out Mitch Stephen, a seasoned real estate investor and "flipper" from San Antonio, Texas. He shows the masses how to find great real estate deals, then he reveals private funding sources to finance all your real estate ventures. He teaches the entire investing package from A to Z. - Angela Yaun, Day Realty Group

8. Texas A&M Real Estate Center (@TexRec)

I personally follow Texas A&M Real Estate Center because I believe so much of success in real estate is understanding supply and demand. That truly is what determines location priority. - Tim Herriage, 2020 REI Group

9. Veterans For LIFE Foundation (@Veterans4LIFE)

I would definitely follow the Veterans for LIFE Foundation. They are a community of realtors and brokerages dedicated to building homes for families in need, creating social change with every home they buy and sell. Veterans for LIFE is HUD-approved and can provide new investors the opportunity to get into the marketplace. - Richard Wyman, First American Capital Real Estate Services, LLC


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