Zillow http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9664/all en-US 10 Best Tools for Finding an Apartment on the Cheap http://www.wisebread.com/10-best-tools-for-finding-an-apartment-on-the-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-best-tools-for-finding-an-apartment-on-the-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_laptop_boxes_11897386.jpg" alt="Woman using best tools for finding an apartment on the cheap" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Depending on where you live, finding a new apartment can be tough &hellip; or downright overwhelming. Seinfeld once joked that in New York, the obituaries section should be coupled with the property section in a newspaper, because that's pretty much the only way to find a decent place.</p> <p>But wherever you live, you are going to need help, especially if it's a completely unknown area. What is the neighborhood like? How are the schools? Is the crime rate high? Is the rent too high? The following tools will help you get your foot in the door.</p> <h2>1. Craigslist</h2> <p>Do not underestimate the power of Craigslist. Started in 1996 by Craig Newmark, it was originally servicing only the San Francisco Bay Area. Now, it's global, and the &quot;Housing&quot; section still remains free for people to post and respond to listings. There are many subsections, including real estate for sale, vacation rentals, and even office/commercial storage. However, you will want to look into the following categories:</p> <ul> <li>Apt/housing</li> <li>Housing swap</li> <li>Rooms/shared</li> <li>Sublets/Temporary</li> </ul> <p>Once you get into any of those sections, you can narrow down your search with a great list of tools. From basic parameters like price, bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage, to more niche requirements like &quot;X miles from zip,&quot; wheelchair access, and animals, you can quickly find just the place you're looking for. It is by far the most convenient free tool out there.</p> <h2>2. Apartment Finder</h2> <p>Long before the Internet was the go-to place for, well, everything, &quot;<a href="http://www.apartmentfinder.com/">Apartment Finder</a>&quot; magazine was the essential tool for finding your next abode. Started in 1981, it has won numerous industry awards and is now available in several formats, including the traditional magazine, the website, and the app. It also part of a network that includes Apartments.com, ApartmentHomeLiving, Move, and Doorsteps.</p> <p>As it is a service focused on renting apartments, there are more slick tools here to help. You'll be able to explore the spaces using a 360-degree camera, and you'll get virtual walk-throughs, floor plans, a veritable smorgasbord of photos, and a lot of detailed information. The only downside is that you will not usually find properties from people just looking to rent out their homes. It costs money to advertise on this site, and that means it's populated by large apartment complexes. But if that's what you're looking for, and you need the extra security and benefits of a managed property with a pool and a gymnasium, this is just what you need.</p> <h2>3. Zillow</h2> <p>When <a href="http://www.zillow.com/homes/for_rent/">Zillow</a> first came onto the scene, it was primarily used as a tool to estimate your home's value (and real estate agents <em>hated </em>it because the information was always very hit or miss). Now, Zillow has become an excellent free resource for the apartment hunter. Not only does it have all the tools you'd expect to narrow down your search, but it offers advice on renting and house hunting, as well as important neighborhood information (essential if you know nothing about an area you're moving into), including school ratings. Again, it costs to list a rental property on this kind of site, so don't expect to find little hidden gems being offered by someone who has a second home.</p> <h2>4. Rentometer</h2> <p>Although it won't help you find the specific place you want to live in, it will help you research what you should (and should not) be paying for rent at any of the apartments you're checking out. If you find the home of your dreams, but aren't sure if the price is sky high, <a href="https://www.rentometer.com/">Rentometer</a> will give you a temperature check of the area. You'll see the average and median prices, and also which percentile the apartment you're looking at falls in. At the very least, you want &quot;reasonable&quot; rent. Low is great. If you're in the red zone, negotiate or move on.</p> <h2>5. The Library</h2> <p>So your local library is not an app or a website, obviously, but it is filled with resources that can help anyone find their perfect apartment. It's a shame that more people don't take full advantage of the library; after all, we all pay for libraries with our taxes. Libraries have computers to access the many online tools listed in this article. They also have copies of a plethora of local and national newspapers, which contain classified ads for apartments and homes. If you find yourself in need of a place that contains many tools under one roof, the library is hard to beat.</p> <h2>6. HotPads</h2> <p>If you're looking for a tool that combines the great functionality of sites like Apartment Finder and Zillow, but also has the variety of smaller rentals offered by Craigslist, the <a href="https://hotpads.com">HotPads</a> is definitely for you. It has listings for most major cities in the U.S., and gives you a great set of criteria to help you get a list of excellent matches. Features like the &quot;walk score&quot; and neighborhood information, coupled with &quot;hot listings&quot; that show you which apartments are getting the most attention make HotPads one of the best tools for anyone looking to rent in a well-populated location.</p> <h2>7. Rent.com</h2> <p>Just like HotPads, <a href="http://www.rent.com/">Rent.com</a> gives you great choice. You can find landlords who are renting out just one or two properties, or giant apartment complexes with hundreds of units in one place. You can sort by best match, price, rating, or alphabetically, and when you narrow it down to a few properties, you can check the availability and book a tour. Definitely sort by ratings, because some of apartments have quite a few skeletons in the closet.</p> <h2>8. PadMapper</h2> <p>If you want to imagine what an apartment hunting app crossed with a mapping tool would look like, check out <a href="https://www.padmapper.com">PadMapper</a>. From the get go, you are greeted with a map of the area you want to look at, which is immediately populated by all the available rentals. It's somewhat overwhelming at first, but by using the tools provided, you can quickly take pins off the map until you get it down to some manageable choices. Save your favorites, check out floor plans and photos, and indicate your interest in the property. One downside &mdash; it appears to only list apartments in large complexes.</p> <h2>9. Lovely</h2> <p>Great name. Great site. <a href="https://livelovely.com">Lovely</a> is known as being exceptionally easy to use, simple, and direct. And it really is a soup-to-nuts kind of setup. With Lovely, you cannot only find your ideal apartment from a vast array on the market, but also submit an application through the site. Plus, you can even pay your rent through the site itself! Of course, anything that sounds too good to be true often has a downside. With Lovely, it's scope. Right now, you're limited to the Midwest and the coasts, but as word spreads, so will the range of the site.</p> <h2>10. Zumper</h2> <p>What does the name mean? Who knows. But the site (and app) look great, are easy to use, and have a wealth of information. The first question you'll be asked is where you want to move. Type in the area, and you'll get an overview of the town or city, including any annual festivities or notable attractions. You can search on a map, or by the usual parameters (bedrooms, price, amenities, and so on). One excellent feature of <a href="https://www.zumper.com">Zumper</a> is the way it seamlessly integrates with Experian, allowing you to safely and securely submit your credit report along with your application. Highly recommended.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-best-tools-for-finding-an-apartment-on-the-cheap">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-common-apartment-hunting-mistakes-to-avoid">9 Common Apartment Hunting Mistakes to Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Technology apartment finder apartments apps craigslist moving renting websites Zillow Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:30:30 +0000 Paul Michael 1816944 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Interesting Ways Technology Can Help You Buy a Home http://www.wisebread.com/6-interesting-ways-technology-can-help-you-buy-a-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-interesting-ways-technology-can-help-you-buy-a-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-looking-at-houses-on.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">In the early dot-com days, my husband and I used an online real estate agency to buy our first home. I liked the idea of a Palm Pilot-toting agent who would keep me updated via e-mails and an online calendar. I felt pretty cutting edge.</span></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">That was in 2000. The Internet today offers an array of even more amazing capabilities. Whether you use a traditional or an online agency, using the web is a helpful, even fun, part of your homebuying process. In fact, in a recent <a href="http://investorrelations.discoverfinancial.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=204177&amp;p=irol-newsArticle&amp;ID=2010824http://investorrelations.discoverfinancial.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=204177&amp;p=irol-newsArticle&amp;ID=1990390">survey</a> commissioned by Discover Home Loans, more than three quarters of recent homebuyers reported that technology made them smarter buyers, and nearly half said tech tools helped them save money. </span></p> <p>Based on my experience, the Internet has changed homebuying for the better in at least six key ways.</p> <h2>1. Neighborhood Reconnaissance</h2> <p>When moving to a new neighborhood or city, the web can help you zoom in on target neighborhoods before you visit. According to the survey, 72% of homebuyers used online maps to explore neighborhoods.</p> <p>When my family considered an international or cross-country move three years ago, I started my research by visiting official city websites and reading Wikipedia entries about neighborhoods.</p> <p>I also looked at each area's <a href="https://www.walkscore.com/">Walk Score</a>, a commute report that shares the different transportation types and what is &ldquo;walkable,&rdquo; checked police department crime maps, and evaluated potential public schools for my children if we lived there.</p> <p>Finally, I used <a href="https://www.google.com/maps/views/streetview?gl=us">Google Street View</a> to virtually stroll down the street around the property. I eliminated several properties based on Street View, which can provide more of a feel for the environment than any statistics or neighborhood association description.</p> <h2>2. Agent Search</h2> <p>Back in 2000, my online real estate agency assigned us an agent without any input from us. Nowadays, similar to an online dating site, you can select an agent with sites such as <a href="https://www.redfin.com/real-estate-agents">Redfin</a>. Or if you're using one of the still-dominant traditional agencies, you can read the agent's profile on their agency site or on <a href="http://www.realtor.com/realestateagents/">Realtor.org</a>. In addition,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.trulia.com/directory/">Trulia</a>, an online real estate site for homebuyers and sellers, also provides reviews and allows you to see an agent's track record.</p> <p>Past homebuyers can serve as great resources as well. You can reach out to your Facebook or other social network friends for recommendations, or ask other local buyers for tips and advice in an online forum.</p> <h2>3. Property Search</h2> <p>The number-one way the Internet has changed home shopping is by making the Multiple Listings Service (MLS) available to prospective buyers online. Browsing online listings has become so easy that many of us get sucked into spending too much time doing it. In fact, 67% of respondents in Discover Home Loan's survey &mdash; and 78% of millennials &mdash; reported that looking at listings became addictive.</p> <p>Before, homebuyers depended on their agent to share and search for potential homes, but now you can browse homes instantly yourself by using sites such as <a href="http://www.mls.com/">MLS.com</a>, <a href="http://www.zillow.com/">Zillow.com</a>, <a href="https://www.redfin.com/">Redfin.com</a> or from a number of home search sites.</p> <p>The survey also found that while most homebuyers still work with agents, technology is helping us become more and more involved in the homebuying process, something that rings true from my own experience. Nearly half of buyers felt they were better at finding potential properties than their agents.</p> <h2>4. Price Research</h2> <p>This is another area in which shoppers used to be more dependent on agents. A great agent will still have the best data about trending neighborhood prices to help you make the best offer, but you also can search recent home sales in the area yourself by checking the local newspaper website or sites like Zillow.com for this data.</p> <h2>5. Mortgage Application</h2> <p>I always use Bankrate.com to check prevailing rates before applying for a home loan. Many mortgage lenders also list the most recent home loan rates if you want to do your own research.</p> <p>My own bank&rsquo;s website was also helpful and made it easy to gather the personal financial information needed to apply for a home loan. By logging into my account, I was able to print out balances, past activity and anything else needed. I was also able to save these pages as PDFs and email them directly to my mortgage lender.</p> <p>Many online mortgage companies also provide great tools that make the financing process convenient. Wise Bread&rsquo;s editor-in-chief Lynn Truong had a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-experience-with-discover-home-loans-great-service-and-rewards-programs">great experience using Discover Home Loans</a>. Lynn enjoyed the personalized customer service, the 24/7 online access to check the status of her loan, the helpful <a href="https://www.discover.com/home-loans/mortgage/affordability-calculator/">online calculators</a>, and the lightning-fast responses that helped her secured her loan to purchase her dream home.</p> <h2>6. The Transaction</h2> <p>Some agents still do everything on paper, but others are equipped with online applications that make signing all the documents needed to complete a transaction easier, especially if you are geographically distant from the agent. E-signature programs, which are my favorite, are convenient tools that allow you to sign a document electronically and alert you if you've missed a signature or initial, so you don't lose time sending incomplete documents back and forth.</p> <p>These are just a few ways technology has made homebuying a faster and likely easier process. Real estate buyers and sellers are likely to continue to become more comfortable using Internet-based research and tools to help them find properties and secure loans. At the same time, those tools are likely to become more robust and more responsive. Maybe in another few years we&rsquo;ll be viewing homes via Google Drones and signing mortgage documents with thumb scans on our iPads.</p> <p><i>Have you taken advantage of technology in your homebuying process?</i></p> <p><em style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 22.1000003814697px;"><a href="https://www.discover.com/home-loans/LP-SF-ds-hl/?sc=H000000000009GT&amp;amp;cmpgnid=ds-hl-H000000000009GT">Discover&nbsp;Home Loans</a> has provided me with compensation for&nbsp;my&nbsp;time and efforts on this article. As always, all&nbsp;opinions&nbsp;are 100%&nbsp;my&nbsp;own.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-interesting-ways-technology-can-help-you-buy-a-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-the-same-house-twice-for-less-than-buying-it-once">Buy the Same House Twice for Less Than Buying It Once</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-reduce-mortgage-closing-costs">8 Ways to Reduce Mortgage Closing Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/things-i-wish-i-knew-before-i-bought-my-second-house">Things I Wish I Knew Before I Bought My Second House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-didnt-pay-my-mortgage-off-in-full">Why I Didn&#039;t Pay My Mortgage Off In Full</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/denied-a-mortgage-heres-how-to-fix-it-fast">Denied a Mortgage? Here&#039;s How to Fix It Fast</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Discover Discover Home Loans home buying home buying technology millennials mortgage redfin survey results Zillow Mon, 02 Mar 2015 12:00:08 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1316188 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Ways Technology Makes Personal Finances Easier http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-technology-makes-personal-finances-easier <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-ways-technology-makes-personal-finances-easier" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mint-iphone-app.png" alt="Mint.com iPhone app" title="Tracking my finances via the Mint.com iPhone app" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="375" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="openforum-link"><em>This article is </em><a title="Warning: The Government Mail You Received Might Be a Scam" href="http://mylifescoop.com/featured-stories/2009/11/3-ways-technology-makes-personal-finances-easier.html"><em>Wise Bread's contribution</em></a><em> to <a href="http://mylifescoop.com/personal/">Life Scoop</a>, where ordinary people learn how to make surprising things happen with technology.</em></p> <p>From saving money to staying on budget, technology has made it easier than ever to stay on top of my personal finances. Here are 3 ways technology has helped me save money and time.&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. Banking, budgeting, and investment tracking always within reach.</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/bofa-bloomberg-iphone.png" alt="iPhone apps from Bank of America and Bloomberg" /><br /> <em>iPhone apps from Bank of America and Bloomberg</em></p> <p>Smartphones (and even regular cellphones) puts control of my finances in my pocket.</p> <p>Banking has become much easier since I got my <a href="http://www.apple.com/iphone/">iPhone</a>. I can check balances, transfer money between accounts, and look for the nearest ATM just by pulling out my phone. Even folks with regular cellphones can check bank balances and/or get low balance alerts via text messages.</p> <p>Budgeting -- really, sticking to a budget -- is now 10 times easier with my iPhone. One of the problems I had with sticking to a budget was keeping track of my spending. At first, I was good about keeping receipts and entering the totals into a spreadsheet at the end of the day. But as the days went by, I got lazier about entering receipts each day. Eventually, I stopped tracking my spending altogether.</p> <p>These days, I can enter amounts I've spent into my phone right away. Even when I didn't have a smartphone, my regular cellphone had a way to store simple notes. This made it easier to keep track of my spending on a day to day basis.</p> <p>Once I started using <a href="http://www.mint.com/">Mint.com</a> (and their great iPhone app), the process got even simpler. If I use a debit or credit card, the transaction is added to my Mint account automatically. Even better, Mint does a good job of automatically categorizing expenditures, which makes analyzing my spending at the end of the month easier and more accurate.</p> <p>Finally, keeping track of how my favorite stocks are doing is now a breeze with the <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/">Bloomberg</a> iPhone app. I can now easily check my portfolio daily, and make trades as soon as I notice trends or hear interesting news. Rather than waiting until the end of the month to look over statements or meeting with my broker once every quarter, I can now stay on top of my investment portfolio while waiting in line or when I'm having lunch. The iPhone has made me a faster and smarter investor.</p> <h2>2. Crowdsourcing my way to better buying decisions.</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/yelp-amazon-iphone-400.jpg" alt="iPhone apps from Yelp and Amazon" /><br /> <em>Making smarter buys with consumer reviews on Yelp and Amazon.</em></p> <p>Between local business review site <a href="http://www.yelp.com/">Yelp</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/">Amazon</a>'s customer reviews, I now buy with a lot more confidence. No more wasting money on restaurants or products that disappoint. Nowadays, I hardly ever walk into a new restaurant before checking out what fellow foodies have to say about the place on Yelp. And I almost never buy something without checking Amazon's user reviews. Thanks for the recommendations, world!</p> <p>By the way, both Amazon and Yelp have iPhone apps so I can look up reviews while standing in front of a new restaurant or walking around a big box store.</p> <h2>3. More data than ever available to consumers.</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/zillow-screenshot.gif" alt="Zillow provides real estate info previously only available to real estate agents" /><br /> <em>Zillow provides info previously only available to real estate agents.</em></p> <p>The Internet has been a boon to consumers hungry for information. Not just product reviews, but large scale trending data that helps them make big purchases. I'm looking to buy a home in the next year or so, and I've been a frequent visitor to <a href="http://www.zillow.com/">Zillow</a>. I haven't even contacted a real estate broker yet, but I feel like I already know more about the real estate market in my area than my parents ever did when they were house shopping.</p> <p>Rather than depend on an agent to feed me limited information, I can use Zillow to get a list of all houses on sale in my neighborhood, details about each home (including nearby schools, lots of photos, and a bird's eye view of the neighborhood), and even historical charts of the home and neighborhood's value. Technology has given us home shoppers unparalleled information that was previously only available to professional real estate agents.</p> <p>Once I am ready to make an offer, I can use another site, <a href="http://www.smarthippo.com/">SmartHippo</a>, to shop for mortgages. SmartHippo is Yelp-for-mortgages. Consumers review their lending institutions and even individual agents. Again, leveraging the power of the crowd to make smarter buying decisions!</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>For more ways to do everyday tasks better, faster, and smarter, check out these great tips from <a href="http://mylifescoop.com/personal/">Life Scoop</a>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://mylifescoop.com/top-10/2009/11/10-great-blogs-for-advancing-your-career.html">10 Great Blogs for Advancing Your Career</a></li> <li><a href="http://mylifescoop.com/featured-stories/2009/11/the-wired-kitchen.html">Building a Wired Kitchen</a></li> <li><a href="http://mylifescoop.com/featured-stories/2009/11/jetset-nearly-effortlessly.html">5 Tips For Jet-setting (Nearly)&nbsp;Effortlessly</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/greg-go">Greg Go</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-technology-makes-personal-finances-easier">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you">With Micro-Investing, Your Smartphone Pays YOU</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smartphone-apps-to-help-you-save-big">6 Smartphone Apps to Help you Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-cares-about-where-the-stock-market-is-headed">Who Cares About Where The Stock Market Is Headed?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable">10 Boring Investments That Are Surprisingly Profitable</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Investment Technology iPhone lifescoop mint mortgage online banking stock market Yelp Zillow Tue, 17 Nov 2009 14:00:01 +0000 Greg Go 3829 at http://www.wisebread.com Divining Your Home’s Value, The Quick-and-Dirty Way http://www.wisebread.com/divining-your-homes-value-the-quick-and-dirty-way <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/divining-your-homes-value-the-quick-and-dirty-way" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/suburban home.jpg" alt="suburban home " title="suburban home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s the American Nightmare: your neighbor, in an effort to avoid foreclosure, sells his house for thousands less than he paid two years ago, causing your home to plummet in value. It&rsquo;s scary, but is it true? Several years ago, a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-estate-agents-do-we-really-need-them">real estate agent</a> I had intended to hire seemed to think that a low sales price on one house meant a full-scale neighborhood decline. It didn&rsquo;t. Since then, I&rsquo;ve learned how to divine home values by looking at public records and applying the methodology&nbsp;used&nbsp;by professional appraisers. I&rsquo;ll show you how to do your own public-records search, and explain why online home-valuation sites may or may not get the home-value number right.</p> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-avoiding-a-foreclosure-prevention-or-loan-modification-scam">Tips for Avoiding a Foreclosure Prevention or Loan Modification Scam</a>.)</p> <p>Here are some ways of judging value:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-10-real-estate-tax-write-offs">tax value</a> (which may be based on the price paid for the house 15 years ago, the home&rsquo;s replacement cost, or other factors)</li> <li>market value based on the sales comparable approach (that is comparing your house to homes that are comparable to yours in geography and construction, and then adding or subtracting value based on features and amenities, similar to the approach taken in HGTV&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/shows_hhww" title="http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/shows_hhww"><em>My House is Worth What</em></a><em>?</em> and&nbsp;Mary's point&nbsp;#10 in&nbsp;<a href="/real-estate-appraisals-ten-things-most-people-just-dont-understand-about-them" title="http://www.wisebread.com/real-estate-appraisals-ten-things-most-people-just-dont-understand-about-them">Real Estate Appraisals</a>)</li> <li>replacement cost less depreciation plus land value</li> <li>combination of all of the above</li> </ul> <p>Information&nbsp;can be&nbsp;gleaned from the following sources:</p> <ul> <li>public records</li> <li>aggregated public records mixed with mapping technology</li> <li>site inspections combined with general knowledge of construction costs and market conditions</li> </ul> <h3>Public Records</h3> <p>Public records are a goldmine of free information regarding tax values of individual homes as well as sales histories, privacy concerns notwithstanding. Your city or county will typically house these records, which are often accessible and searchable online.&nbsp;The most recent sales price, year of construction, square footage, number of bathrooms and bedrooms, zoning information, and more are often contained in these records. (Call your local government or do a search&nbsp;on real property or tax administration to find the records.)</p> <p>Is there a political component to tax values? I think so. Higher home values can mean higher property taxes (depending on assessment rates) and more money in the public treasury. Except when, perhaps, there is a public disincentive to increasing property values, say in a neighborhood (like mine) where the state or municipality intends to acquire properties (or has in the past) by exercising <a href="http://www.expertlaw.com/library/real_estate/eminent_domain.html" title="http://www.expertlaw.com/library/real_estate/eminent_domain.html">eminent domain</a>. For example, when I reported over $40,000 in home improvements made by a licensed general contractor to my home (such as bringing the bathroom up to new building code, replacing vinyl flooring with ceramic tile, and ripping out pressed wood and installing Maple cabinets), the tax assessor increased its value by $0.&nbsp;</p> <p>I haven&rsquo;t complained, of course, and plan to resist asking for a revaluation until I put my house on the market; for now, there is a 60+% differential between my home&rsquo;s tax-assessed value and Zillow&rsquo;s.</p> <h3>Real (Certified) Appraisals</h3> <p>Real appraisals are performed by licensed or certified appraisers, <a href="http://www.appraisalfoundation.org/s_appraisal/sec.asp?CID=117&amp;DID=158" title="http://www.appraisalfoundation.org/s_appraisal/sec.asp?CID=117&amp;DID=158">regulated at the state level</a>. To get an idea of the information they gather and analyze&nbsp;(either through full-home inspections or drive-by inspections of single-family homes), check out the <a href="http://www.freddiemac.com/sell/forms/pdf/70.pdf" title="http://www.freddiemac.com/sell/forms/pdf/70.pdf">Uniform Residential Appraisal Report</a>.</p> <p>Appraisers should have an understanding of housing market trends, including sales activity relating to specific neighborhoods. Knowing the value of certain features and amenities (number of bedrooms and full baths, in-ground pools, decks, patios, 2-car garages) is especially useful for calculating replacement costs and figuring out adjustments based on differences for sales comparables, which is often the focus of the appraisal.</p> <h3><strong>Sales Comparables</strong></h3> <p>Appraisers find residential properties that are comparable to your house (the subject property). In a large suburban development, that&rsquo;s usually pretty easy because several houses of similar size and construction type will often sell each year; in a rural area, it&rsquo;s trickier because fewer houses may sell and those that do sell will often differ greatly in size and amenities.</p> <p>Next the appraiser compares your house&rsquo;s features (age, condition, number of bedrooms, etc.) to the comps and calculates an adjusted sales price for each of the comps; from that information, he/she can develop a market value.</p> <p>Appraisers may also consider the replacement cost of the home or <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_approach" title="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_approach">use the income approach</a> (estimated monthly rent X GRM/gross rent multiplier) to develop market values.</p> <h3>Online Home-Valuation Sites</h3> <p>Sites such as <a href="http://www.zillow.com/" title="http://www.zillow.com/">Zillow</a>, <a href="http://www.eppraisal.com/" title="http://www.eppraisal.com/">Eppraisal</a>, and <a href="http://www.realestateabc.com/" title="http://www.realestateabc.com/">Real Estate ABC</a>&nbsp;aggregate public records and, with the help of mapping technology, develop a home value (or rather a range of values) based on recent sale prices of nearby homes (but not necessarily ones that are comparable to yours). However,&nbsp;Real Estate ABC&nbsp;has an interactive feature that allows site users to select and deselect sales comparables (comps). In my case, I could keep the comps that were in my neighborhood of single-family homes and de-select the large homes with significant acreage and the condos less than a mile away. This approach, though simplified, is most similar to methods used in a real appraisal.&nbsp;</p> <h3>Appraiser Bullying or Isn't a Home Worth Whatever Someone Will Pay?</h3> <p>When I was in the market for the house I own now, in the 1990s, a licensed real estate agent explained the appraisal process to me like this: the appraiser starts figuring the value of the house but stops when he/she gets to the contract (sales) price. I found her comments disturbing; technically, she was wrong&nbsp;but she did&nbsp;reveal to me some gaps in the real estate sales-lending system.&nbsp;According to the&nbsp;Appraisal Standards Board, <a href="http://www.appraiservalues.com/xsites/Appraisers/appraiservalues/content/uploadedFiles/APPRAISAL-%20VALUE%20CHECKS%20-%20AO-19.pdf" title="http://www.appraiservalues.com/xsites/Appraisers/appraiservalues/content/uploadedFiles/APPRAISAL-%20VALUE%20CHECKS%20-%20AO-19.pdf">potential clients have made requests that&nbsp;are contrary to industry standards for real estate appraisal</a>, such as:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><ul> <li>&quot;We need comps for (property description) that will support a loan of $_____; can you&nbsp;provide them?&quot;</li> <li>&quot;Approximate (or Minimum) value needed: ______________.&quot;</li> <li>&quot;If this&nbsp;property will not appraise for at least __________, stop and call us immediately.&quot;</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>Making the appraisal = the sales price or loan amount is not a good idea, as the <a href="http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/2007/nov/nov1a_07.html" title="http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/2007/nov/nov1a_07.html">State of New York, First American, and Washington Mutual confirmed&nbsp;last year.</a></p> <p>In regard to the pending nightmare awhile back,&nbsp;my husband and I found ourselves selling a house that we had owned for less than 6 months due to a corporate relocation; we had bought the house at a moderate bargain because it had been on the market a while and sat a couple of doors down from a foreclosed home owned by a bank. But when our first pick for a real estate agent included&nbsp;our house in her sales comps (for a market analysis not an appraisal), she saw a downward market trend and panicked. We quickly found a more enthusiastic and clear-thinking agent, who helped us to sell the home at a reasonable price within 30 days.&nbsp;Housing prices can rise and fall but one transaction doesn't make&nbsp;a trend.</p> <p>Though my quick-and-dirty methods&nbsp;aren't perfect, they should give you a guess at your home's value until you are ready to get&nbsp;a <a href="/forums/personal-finance/ask-appraiser-real-estate-questions-im-here-help-2838.html" title="http://www.wisebread.com/forums/personal-finance/ask-appraiser-real-estate-questions-im-here-help-2838.html">certified appraisal</a>.&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/divining-your-homes-value-the-quick-and-dirty-way">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why">Yes, You Need Home Title Insurance — Here&#039;s Why</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-best-tools-for-finding-an-apartment-on-the-cheap">10 Best Tools for Finding an Apartment on the Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-interesting-ways-technology-can-help-you-buy-a-home">6 Interesting Ways Technology Can Help You Buy a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-boost-your-neighborhood-and-your-homes-value">8 Ways to Boost Your Neighborhood and Your Home&#039;s Value</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/housing-values-in-relationship-to-proximity-to-certain-stores">Housing Values in Relationship to Proximity to Certain Stores</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing home values My House is Worth What? public records Real Estate ABC real estate appraisals Zillow Mon, 25 Aug 2008 20:25:48 +0000 Julie Rains 2368 at http://www.wisebread.com