Understanding the real estate market is critical if you’re about to buy or sell a house or condo. It’ll help you choose the right agent by knowing if they’re blowing smoke or not. There’s a few really good, honest agents out there, but many of the top performing agents are specialists in the art of blowing smoke.
The good ones know the market and will help you make the best decision on how aggressive to be on setting your price, or when making offers. Many home owners think their house is worth way more than it is, so looking at market statistics and updates is a really important tool.
Listen to you agent. If you think you house is worth more than them, you might just be emotionally attached and about to make a bad decision. If you list your house and it’s taking way longer than average to sell, then it means just one thing; your price is too high. Don’t like hearing this? Well if you’ve got a good agent, then he/she won’t be afraid to give you this pill of uncomfortable news.
How do you know where to find good real estate market data? Here are a couple sites.
- http://www.northwestmls.com. This is the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, and they have all the data the everyone uses. Each month they send out a press release with the past months sales and median prices by county and area.
- Cash-Shiller Home Price Index. This is the very best data available. It’s got a bit of a delay, so it’s not real-time, but all other data is jumbled and this data is accurate and precise.
- National Association of Realtors. These guys are full of themselves. They’re just a lobbying group that real estate agents are basically forced to join. Their policies are good for real estate agents only, but are short sighted and bad for the economy. Don’t trust anything they say, they’re just always drinking their own kool-aid.