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5 Tips for Understanding Your Local Real Estate Market

It is easy to get caught up in the minutiae of research and data regarding the real estate market. Will the market bust? Will the market slow down? Whether you are looking to sell your home or buy a home, it is in your best interest to learn how to understand your local real estate market so that you can make informed decisions.

Here are five tips to help you navigate the real estate market in your local area or in an area you are interested in buying in.

  1. Be Informed
  2. Perform due diligence on your local real estate market. Find out what new homes are selling for, what homes that are renovated and need a little fixing up are selling for, and make sure to find out who the most qualified real estate agents are in your area. The more information and data you have, the more power you have to make the right real estate decisions.

  3. Take Cues from Market Activity
  4. How long do you want to live in the home? If you plan to stay in the home for more than five years, make sure you are choosing an area that has low crime rates, impeccable schools, and a great neighborhood vibe. If you plan to stay in the home for a shorter time period, look for neighborhoods and areas where investors are improving value. The short term gains you can experience may be more advantageous than equity built over time.

  5. Use Data from Local Resources
  6. You can analyze the same data that local real estate agents do. Just ask your local title company for their data reports. These reports are chocked full of data on recent sales and how the market has evolved and changed over time. This information is the same info that local brokers use to create listing presentations and market reports.

  7. Utilize Technology
  8. The Internet can be your best friend when it comes to searching for information on properties. Make sure you are specific with your search terms. Type in the zip code you are curious about and specific questions such as “school ratings in xxxxx (zip code).” Get to reading. You can find out raw opinions and data specific to your areas of concern with a simple Internet search.

  9. Look at Zestimates
  10. You can get a great feel for how the market is performing by looking at Zestimates on Zillow. While you can’t be sure that the estimate is 100% accurate, you can still see if the market is heating up or slowing down.

For more information on specific markets in the New Jersey area, check out the market reports on my website.