Tuesday, September 4, 2012
We didn’t limit ourselves to just what our real estate agent provided us in the way of comps. Sure, he gave us some area comparables to which we could gauge our property and that gave us a general idea of the value of the condos in our building and surrounding buildings. However, we’ve learned in our past experience not to take just one person’s word -- even if they are trained in the field of real estate -- when it comes to buying or selling a home.
Therefore, we pulled up information regarding comps online from sites such as Zillow.com, Trulia.com, and similar websites to get a better idea of what condos of similar size and location were selling for. We also walked the area surrounding our condo of interest to get a better feel for prices and price locations before making our offer.
Property Tax Research
In the Chicagoland area especially, knowing as much as we can about property tax rates before we buy, is a huge consideration in our opinion. With our previous home’s taxes over $5,000 a year -- in a not so hot area -- we wanted to make sure that we weren’t burned again when it came to how much we were taxed.
We were able to discover the past year’s tax rates and exemption history on the property in which we were interested by following a link on Zillow.com to our county assessor’s office site.
We took time to get to know the area, spent time walking around, talked to people, and ate in the restaurants where we could people watch. We looked up the school district online, and as I previously mentioned, we researched our area comps and tax rates, as well as real estate market trends, and we ensured that we would have plenty to keep us occupied and entertained all within walking distance in this new living location before ever making the decision to buy.