Author Topic: How to get a feel for the market?  (Read 2252 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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How to get a feel for the market?
« on: May 29, 2015, 08:10:03 AM »
Hi guys,

Noob to real estate here. My girlfriend and I are considering purchasing our first place. We're looking for a 2 bedroom house/condo/townhome in St. Paul, MN.

What's the best way to understand the market?

Thus far I've just been casually browsing "for sale" listings on Zillow and Redfin, and occasionally doing a "recently sold" search on Zillow. Any other advice for learning to identify a good deal vs. an overpriced property?


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: How to get a feel for the market?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2015, 08:14:46 AM »
Every week on Saturday morning, review what sold in the previous week on Redfin in the area you're interested in.

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  • Walrus Stache
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Re: How to get a feel for the market?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2015, 08:36:54 AM »
Attend a lot of open houses, get the listing sheets and make notes about what you like and don't like, and chat up the agents.  Study the information and make a list of wants and needs.  Narrow down your searches to include properties that include most of your criteria and look at new listings. pending sales and solds every week.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: How to get a feel for the market?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2015, 12:02:35 PM »
Any other advice for learning to identify a good deal vs. an overpriced property?

You can also check online what the county has for the estimated tax value.   However, realize that these are not always 100% accurate, but if you're looking only within one city or even one neighborhood, you'll get a pretty good feeling for the percentage difference to expect.

For example, if you find 5 in the same area and are all 15% more than estimated tax value, and then you find one that is right at tax value, then increased chances it's a good deal.  If then you find one that is 30% more than estimated tax value, increased chances it is overpriced.

To answer a question you didn't ask as a self-proclaimed noob - if you are looking at a condo or townhome, make sure you review all of the Association rules and financial documents.  Most people just ignore these.   At a minimum you want to confirm you're okay with their rules.  But most importantly you don't want to get a good deal on the house and then find out next year dues are going up a lot of money, and the following year the roofs are getting replaced and the association doesn't have enough money, so each owner has to pay in $10,000.   Minnesota recently passed a law that all homeowner associations must be fully-funded, or must have documentation stating why they aren't fully funded or how they plan to get there.  You want to understand these documents.

One final "noob" thing... an inspection is very important.  A lot of noobs are enticed by the visual things which can be very cheap (new carpet, new paint, etc.) and ignore the old things that are expensive to replace (old furnace, old AC, old electrical that needs to be upgraded, old roof that needs to be replaced, etc.). 


  • Bristles
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Re: How to get a feel for the market?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2015, 07:57:01 AM »
If you want a good deal, look for properties that need work.  Any other deals are going to be market priced.

Look for owners to sell, before they contact a realtor.  Or get a realtor's license for a ~3% discount.  Join MNREIA to get into the MN RE investors association.

There are LOTS of great deals out there, but you need to work for them.  When you find one, jump on it NOW.  Waiting 1 day means the deal might be gone.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: How to get a feel for the market?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2015, 10:59:10 PM »
Get out and look at a lot of properties. The ideas above are great. I want to add that you get off the computer and off the phone and go into the properties. Get a list of comps together nice and wide with at least 10 properties and have an agent take you around to see them. Be honest and let them know you are shopping agents as well.

It is good that you already have a narrow focus. Drive the areas and contact the agents that are listing the ones you might buy. Tell them you want to see their listing and comparable. Don't be shy. It is their job. While you are with them ask a million questions.

Do this with a few agents. You can't talk to too many or see too many homes. If there is an agent that is very helpful, does a great job, and negotiates well then use them.