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Sex Rugs And Real Estate
New (and strange) rules for surviving the real estate market:
In one of the bigger acquisitions of 2014, Zillow purchased Trulia for $3.5 billion. The two companies created the market for online real estate listings and attract a combined total of well over 100 million visitors to their sites every month. Before these two firms were founded, there was no central depository for real estate data that the public could access, a dynamic that has made it difficult for the Average Joe to understand how the real estate market really works.
Now that the two companies are to become one, Zillow is an even more formidable force in the real estate industry, as well as a vital source for data on the housing market. On January 27th, the firm’s CEO, Spencer Rascoff, and Chief Economist, Stan Humphries, will publish The New Rules of Real Estate, a compendium of knowledge gleaned from the 3.2 terabytes of data processed by Zillow computers each day. The volume is loaded with secrets the average homebuyer or seller can benefit from, but here are the 13 we found most useful, or just plain entertaining.
Buy a house close to Starbucks
While it's true that homes close to a Starbucks cost more than the national average, it's also true that they appreciate faster than the average home. Rascoff and Humphries hypothesize that this might be the result of the great work of Starbucks' 20-person location analytics team, which pores over data on traffic patterns and business density to pick the best places for their stores. If Starbucks' comes to a neighborhood, it's got a good chance of being the next up-and-coming spot.
Don't buy the worst house in the best neighborhood
The old saying goes, "real estate is about location, location, location." And if neighborhoods are what drive real estate prices, then following the oft-repeated advice of buying the worst house in the best neighborhood makes sense. After all, you can always fix up a house, but you can't move your house to a new neighborhood.
In fact, the folks at Zillow found that "the more affluent a neighborhood is . . . the worse that homes in its bottom 10 percent tend to perform." They hypothesize that this is because people who look for houses in expensive neighborhoods tend not to be cheap, and will overlook your house when they are shopping for a new home.
It's not impossible to find an affordable house in a good school district
School quality can vary widely from neighborhood to neighborhood, a dynamic that is reinforced by the fact that schools are largely funded by local property taxes.
That's why home values can vary so much between neighborhoods that are otherwise very similar. But by doing a bit of homework, you can find good schools at a great value. Rascoff and Humphries give the examples of Dublin, Ohio and Greer, South Carolina as towns where you can buy affordable housing in great school districts.
Foreclosed homes don't offer good value
Following the housing bust, the media was awash with stories of homes that could be had at rock-bottom prices. But looking at the data, Zillow found that there were good reasons why these homes were inexpensive. First of all, foreclosed homes tend to be smaller than other homes nearby, and banks often require purchasers to buy without a home inspection.
When selling your home, don't describe it as "unique"
Analysis of online real estate listings show that the language used to describe a home for sale is incredibly important. Homes that are described thoroughly and honestly sell for higher prices than comparable homes that aren't, and Zillow was actually able to zero in on a few words that usually drive demand way down.
If you are selling, stay away from "unique." Homes that are described as such, "can sell for as much as 30 to 50 percent less than expected," Rascoff and Humphries write.
Wait until tomorrow for the next five Sec, Rugs and Real Estate survival rules...
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