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Home » Blog » 11 Ways Non-Experts Can Keep Up With Local Housing Trends

11 Ways Non-Experts Can Keep Up With Local Housing Trends

Understanding local housing trends can be crucial to the purchase or sale of a property — no one, for instance, wants to purchase a house, only for its value to drop tremendously a month or two later. However, knowing what to look for — and why — can be challenging. While real estate professionals have a specific set of metrics or signs they watch, people outside of the industry may not know what information is particularly important to consider when buying or selling a house, much less the best place to find that data.

So how can non-industry experts keep an eye on local housing trends in order to make better-informed decisions? Here are some approaches members of Forbes Real Estate Council advise trying:

1. Use A Data-Driven Approach
An average investor would do well to utilize a data-driven approach. Truliais a great resource which provides local housing trends and data such as listing prices, sales prices, sales volume and rental prices. The data is also provided in heat map and historical chart visualizations. – Yousif Abudra,BENA Capital, LLC

2. Track Everything Online
Keeping track of the housing market is easily done online by watching what price the neighborhood homes are actually closing for and what style of properties are most popular. Following along with neighborhood developments like local coffee shops opening up or new restaurants moving in will give you a good idea of what areas will become the most popular. – Beatrice de Jong, Open Listings (YC W15)

3. Read Blogs And Newsletters
Most good agents write periodic blogs or send out newsletters. If you’re interested in a specific community or neighborhood, look for the agents with the most listings and sign up to receive market information. Some of the national portals such as Zillow or Realtor.com also offer market information. – Lisa Fettner, ReferralExchange

4. Follow Trends And Experts
Markets are often impacted by residential and commercial developments. Some people follow new construction permits. Some people follow Whole Foods into neighborhoods. Also, follow an agent in your area. Lots of agents post market updates or send out emails with market stats. Get on their distribution lists. Then, when it is time to pull the trigger, contact one of them. – Kofi Nartey, The Nartey Group – Compass

5. Use A Multiple Listing Search Engine
Ask a real estate broker friend to set up an auto-search in the Multiple Listing Service. It can be set for pricing, a specific area, age of home, new construction, size or bare land. The MLS will notify you of new listings, price reductions and back-on-the-market properties. You’ll get a feel for price fluctuations, what’s flying out the door, what isn’t and the number of days on market. – Jessica Pankratz, Town & Country Realty

6. Align Yourself With A Pro
While there’s an abundance of data and other info online, the smartest and most efficient way an average person can keep apprised of local market trends is to align themselves with a competent real estate pro. A great agent not only knows the pertinent numbers, but also the players in the market, understands trends from a first-hand perspective and can advise based on what’s happening in real time. – Thomas McCormack, Resources Real Estate

7. Set Up Google Alerts
Set up Google alerts to get notified of local real estate news, trends and statistics in your email inbox. Be careful to balance reports, consider the source and their motivation, and look for the rawest and most impartial data possible. Keep a close eye out and ear to the ground in your neighborhood too. All real estate is local. Are rent and for sale signs sitting out longer? – Kent Clothier, Real Estate Worldwide

8. Study The Area
To get a handle on housing trends, read about everything else in the community or region. A growing arts district, expanding college or university, big employer coming in (or going out), are great indicators of incoming demand levels. Many in the real estate industry look at historical trends in sales but for future demand, look into drivers such as jobs, students or the area’s rising profile. – Kristin Geenty, The Geenty Group, Realtors

9. Look For A Top Selling Agent
Every neighborhood has a “go-to” real estate agent who dominates the market. You see their “For Sale” signs everywhere. They know the local housing trends better than anyone because they typically work and live right there. And they not only have the best market data, but have inside knowledge you can’t Google. Even if you’re a seller thinking of going the iBuyer route, talk to that agent! – Lane Hornung, zavvie

10. Read The News
Real estate is excellent fodder for media that reflect the actual state of the market. Open your local paper and flip to the real estate section. Normally you’ll see stories about emerging neighborhoods, prices, or new businesses coming to the area — all which can have an effect on your real estate needs. Of course, it’s important to talk to a real estate agent before making any serious moves. – Elizabeth Ann Stribling-Kivlan, Stribling & Associates

11. Pay Attention To Detail
It’s important to frame each and every property within its own micro-market. Having the ability to showcase how a property compares to competing inventory, within its own micro-market, can provide invaluable insight to buyers. Property details can significantly increase or decrease the value of a property. – Cody Vichinsky, Bespoke Real Estate

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