I have clients often ask me about the area around which a home, city or community is like. Trulia offers a wealth of information, when looking at a home in Trulia, be sure to scroll down beyond the information concerning the home itself. You’ll see information on the schools within the area; public record information on this particular home; property tax info; sales history of the home; local info (I’ll elaborate on this shortly); calculate an estimated mortgage payment; and price comparison.
Let's look into some of the tabs on the local info –
1. Comparables – be sure to look at homes within this list and find “true” comparables. In other words, homes of very nearby location (same community is best); size of home (bed/baths/square feet); features and upgrades if possible. If a home is within the same community but it was a bank owned home or short sale with extensive repairs/investment necessary… this won’t be a true comparable to a well maintained home that is a resale with upgrades such as appliances, granite, newer a/c, roof, etc.
2. Schools – By clicking on this tab, you can see some of the local school ratings. You can also check http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/ - for the accountability reports of specific public schools.
3. Estimates – estimated values, however these are automatically estimated and not accounting for condition of home, so use as a source but not a true market analysis. For an accurate market value of a home, reach out to your trusted Realtor as he/she can use their knowledge/expertise to find true comparable so you have a better idea of a more accurate value on a home so you can write an appropriate offer.
4. Crimes, amenities, and transit information sometimes also available. Check the local sheriff’s website for crimes and use other websites as additional sources, here’s a couple examples - http://www.familywatchdog.us/Search.asp; http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/.
It is against the laws of the Fair Housing Act for anyone to refuse to rent, sell or make a housing loan to you because of your race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin