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Need help researching property values(12 posts)

Need help researching property valuesKristin
Aug 23, 2002 7:05 AM
Well, I had so much success buying a new car--and didn't actually have a heart attack--that I decided to buy myself a whole house. Okay, so its the kind of house that lives inside a large building with many other houses. Where can I dig up dirt on various towns/schools, etc. so that I can do some analysis?

I found a cute, little(being the operative word) place in Aurora. Its a completely re-constructed condo and the affordable units were snatched up quickly. The property gained 11% last year, which I like. The problem is that its in a bad school district, there are gangs just blocks away and there was a mob murder 2 months ago nearby. The owner has done an awesome job on the units and has won awards for his attempts to improve the area. Still, I need to do more research before I take this risk. A risk I won't take if I don't have confidence in the plans for North Aurora's economic future. Any good websites for researching property value histories, and school districts, crime rates, and to see a towns plans for growth, zoning laws, ect...
Aug 23, 2002 8:05 AM
You might consider talking to a real estate agent familiar with the areas you are considering; pick one you trust, who won't simple direct you to their listings. A good agent should have lots of information.

Keep in mind that just because value rose in an area 11% last year, that does not mean they will again, or that other areas won't rise from where they are now. Buy low, sell high. Ideally, you want to find a house still at the low end, expecting it to rise. It doesn't help as much if the value has risen before you buy. There is a good deal of speculation involved.

On the other hand, I'd buy the house you want, not one just for the anticipated appreciation.

You can go the the county recorder's office and check specific parcels for the last sales price, but that's a real pain.

All I can suggest is to talk to an agent; might want to talk to several and compare information, too.

Agree with DougLLSmith
Aug 23, 2002 9:51 AM
There is alot of public information available, but why not talk with someone that works the area for a living.If the property had 11% appreciation last year the schools must not be that bad.How do you know it was 11%? If you are already worried about North Aurora's future it sounds like you might need to look for a better area.You don't want to have to worry about some gang steeling your bike tires.Do you know anyone that can recommend a good agent?My wife and I work together and 80% of our business(referral) comes from people we have worked with.If you don't know of any agent call a local office and ask to speak with the top residential resale agent.Talk with them and see what you think.
Aug 23, 2002 10:02 AM
I had an army of rookies that began following me around like lost little puppies after I made a few listing inquiries on my own. You should see the properties they keep sending me. Do they even know that people shot to death in those complexes? That a leading member of the Mexican cartell was just arrested there? Good night!

I finally went to the Glen Ellyn Cent. 21 site and reviewed their award winning agents. Then I looked for the one with the most listings over 500K. Then I just picked the photograph I liked best. She emailed me back today and was real willing to work with me (assured her I'd be selling in 5 years). Then I got a referral from a friend who is quite promising, with several multi-million dollar listings. Of course...out of my price range. Oh well.
Aurora? What state? IL, CO? Elsewhere? (nm)ColnagoFE
Aug 26, 2002 7:14 AM
Illinois (nm)Kristin
Aug 26, 2002 9:34 AM
Oh like in Wayne's World!ColnagoFE
Aug 26, 2002 12:26 PM
Aurora, IL has gang problems? I always thought it was a little quiet suburb of Chicago.
Aurora is huge there are good parts and bad partsKristin
Aug 26, 2002 1:26 PM
South Aurora is great--lots of new luxury homes being built daily. But its really in the stix. And North Aurora is great too. But there's a pocket just below North Aurora that has some gang activity, drug traffic and mob interests--lots of union in Aurora. There was recently a mob hit near that neighborhood. Two guys got toasted in their car.

On Moliter St., where I'm shopping, there are two large housing developments and a few small ones--all of them in pretty poor condition. Of course this attracts crime and a generally bad element. The high tension wires don't help. Three years ago, a developer named John Banis, purchased The Woods ( and converted the proptery to condominiums. I love the fireplace, cabinets, attached grill and whirlpool tub. But there is NO storage space AT ALL. Now the same developer also purchased Mary Woods (the other large, scary developmet) and will be converting it to luxury apartments. So, it seems that the tide is turning in this area. But its still a risk because the future is unclear.

I just missed a deal on an awesome place not four miles from my office. Still kicking myself for not getting my realtor out of bed on Sunday morning. Kay sir ah sir aaaaah damit why didn't I wake him up? I guess that's what you get when you don't karp aye dee 'em.
Aug 24, 2002 8:49 AM
Yahoo has some cool real estate stuff, free of course.
no amount of research will help...mr_spin
Aug 26, 2002 6:49 AM
It seems to me that if this is a bad area, all you will find is more evidence it is a bad area. You should be more interested in the future, not the past, and there's no research for that. I'm sure the town will be happy to provide you with overly optimistic guesses about how wonderful the future will be.

Basically, if you buy this place, you are gambling that the neighborhood will undergo a renaissance and your home will increase in value. That's certainly possible, but not likely while the economy is in a downturn.

Don't worry so much about a bad school district. This will have an impact on resell value, but only if your unit is family oriented. A one-bedroom, for instance, is not marketed towards families.

Nearby crime is a problem. You will pay for that with higher insurance rates, on your house AND your car. If you don't feel safe walking around at night, that's a problem, too.
Couple thoughtsKristin
Aug 26, 2002 1:50 PM
Thanks for the input. I have a couple thoughts in response.

"Basically, if you buy this place, you are gambling that the neighborhood will undergo a renaissance and your home will increase in value. That's certainly possible, but not likely while the economy is in a downturn."

There's strong indication that the economic slump will not impact the housing market. At the moment it appears to be giving it s strong push in Chicagoland. We are still in the midst of a large housing boom here. Chicago ranks second in the nation for real estate growth. Lots of investors are cashing out of the poorly preforming stock market, and investing in housing. The owner of the property is getting a steal on these run-down properties and then converting them to nicer housing. Do you think that this trend will end anytime soon? I'm certainly no analyst!

"Don't worry so much about a bad school district. This will have an impact on resell value, but only if your unit is family oriented. A one-bedroom, for instance, is not marketed towards families."

My only concern here was that there are both one and two bedroom units in the building. I was thinking that the two bedrooms would attract families and it would be hard to get responsible families to move there--thus affecting the rate of the one bedrooms. However, from what I can tell, this property is heavilty marketed towards young, professional first time buyers. That being the case, it should appreciate all right.

Yesterday I placed a refundable deposit on a unit as there were only four remaining. My only sticking point is the lack of storage space and how long it will take the developer to finish the Mary Woods project. My realitor will look at the property with me tomorrow and I'll make a final decision. Ugh. I HATE making decisions.
Couple thoughtsmr_spin
Aug 26, 2002 2:34 PM
What I was sort of getting at was that in the end, it is always a gut decision. And also that you talk a lot about the future but you seem very concerned with the past. Finally, research helps a lot, but in the end, it cannot eliminate all of your fears. There are no sure things. Unless you are independently wealthy, you jump off the cliff and hope for a soft landing. The nice thing about real estate is that it rarely goes down in value, and even when it does, it rarely stays down.