Fun Househunting Tools

Thanks to Mike from Downtown Makeover for pointing this out: Google Street View is now in Reno, and it’s flipping amazing. Just go to Google Maps, type in an address, select street view, and voila, you’ll see the subject property in a 360 view that shows the entire street, the neighbors, their cars, whatever. So you know those listings that look so fabulous in the still shot but are surrounded by RVs in the street, weeds in the neighbor yards and chain link fences across the way? Now you can see it all online.

Another cool new tool I came across this week is the HotPads Buy vs Rent Heat Map. You type in the city of interest and wait for the map to load. Then click the Heat Map tab on the left, and choose Rent Ratio. Colors will appear in the background. Red means rent, blue means buy, and green is neutral. You can also create heat maps showing median rent, household income, and more. Just for fun, click on foreclosures per household in Reno… that’s a whole lotta red!

If you have kids and need to relocate, finding top schools may be one of your biggest concerns. In looking for landing spot in the Bay Area, I’m finding greatschools.net to be a wonderful resource. Schools are ranked from 1-10 on a number of factors, and parents, teachers, staff and former students can write reviews. The reviews are particularly interesting as they may alert you to challenges the schools face, but of course I recommend investigating further by calling the schools themselves and perhaps connecting with other parents online.

Another favorite resource for learning about distant communities is City-Data.com. Type in the city of interest to see photos, maps, weather, demographics, recent home sales, crime, commute times, government links… all in a nice one-page format. But the real value of the site are its very active forums. Just scroll down the page and you’ll find the links, including the most recent topics of discussion. Click to connect with others to ask questions about that particular city. People who live there will often reply with the inside scoop about their town, or point you to other resources that might be helpful in your online research.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there who work so hard to support their families. I hope you’re doing something fun today!

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12 Responses to Fun Househunting Tools

  1. Avatar NVMojo says:

    Thanks for the links! That was interesting, especially the hotpad.com one!

  2. Avatar smarten says:

    I like your hotpad rent vs. own link. Unsurprisingly, essentially everything in the Somersett area is in colored in red and everything in the East San Francisco Bay Area is even a REDDER shade of red [this should tell you if you’re better off (investment wise) being a renter versus owner]!

    IMO your best resource for renting a replacement home in the East San Francisco Bay Area is craigslist [which is hugely popular in the Bay Area]. I don’t know if you’ve done any house searching yet, but I went to craigslist [ http://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/apa/eby?query=&minAsk=2500&maxAsk=max&bedrooms=&neighborhood= ] and pulled up 685 East Bay listings priced at $2,500/month or more [compare this to the number of similar listings in ALL of Reno (91); not just Sparks]. In order to find something comparable to your Somersett home, I think you’re probably going to have to spend at least $3,200/month. But at least this link will give you some idea about what’s available.

    Just remember that if you’re going to become a renter, you best make sure the person who represents him/herself as the landlord is REALLY the owner; and that if he/she goes into default under his/her rental mortgage[s], you get formal notice [by the landlord’s consent to recordation of a request for notice of default].

    Other than that, happing hunting!

  3. Avatar Steve says:

    Ok, off the subject, just noticed that nice little “Modern Lakeridge” home in the banner. Glad to see they are dropping the price, they were at ~$900 for so long. I actually toured it 2 years ago, YEAH, over 2 years this thing has been on the market. What the heck are they thinking? Who is more guilty, the realtor, the owner or both. Guess we will never know.

    Hey in any posted data we need to see more information on price per sq ft. Come on Guy let;’s get going. I bought in Fieldcreek a year and half ago at $181, hopin’ that we don’t see those comps go for much less than that but hey you never know. Hopefully the foreclosures up there never sell at those `150-160 price pints. 😐

  4. Avatar Steve says:

    Oh yeah and hey, toured that Primula way house 2 years ago too, and YEAH, that thing is way over priced. Maybe it’s time you guys dropped that listing.

    What is the average age of your 0-1mil listings anyways? 🙂

  5. Avatar billddrummer says:

    I’m thinking that the $1 million+ listings are more than 6 months old, on average, but I don’t have any data to back it up. Just a sense, since there’s been no activity in that sector this year.

  6. Avatar billddrummer says:

    In addition, I’ve used the GoogleMap street view in researching properties here, and it is truly amazing. Where do they get the feeds?

  7. Avatar Guy Johnson says:

    Steve, are you saying you’d like to see $/sq.ft. broken out by area?
    Btw, did you see my post last month on $/sq.ft. trends? http://renorealtyblog.com/2008/05/price-per-square-foot-the-new-metric.html

  8. Avatar Sully says:

    Guy, can you post the Ticor Title charts for NOD’s for May?

  9. Avatar Don Cooper says:

    This is soooooo funny! I tried out the Google street view. Awesome. (Hotpads is also amazing). So I showed my wife, who wanted to know if San Diego was also in the database.

    We tried and yes our area is in the database. Now the funny part. Looking at our street she noticed our car was parked in the street. That’s odd. When we zoomed in and explored a little more we figured out why: she’s immortalized, putting out stuff for the neighborhood garage sale. (So we know within about 15 minutes when the pic was taken).

    It it truly amazing. A tiny bit creepy perhaps, but definitely amazing.

  10. Avatar Tom says:

    Some areas in those views were photographed long ago and have not been updated. We have seen some Reno area model homes in those views in their construction stages and which we know have been completed about two years ago. Other areas are more recent. It probably depends upon when a particular area is added to their system, depending upon the service involved.

  11. Avatar GreenNV says:

    For those of you in San Francisco, check out http://www.mapjack.co. It is Google Streetview on steroids. They are expanding, and even have a bit of a Tahoe tour on line.

  12. Avatar chewgumm says:

    Roughly, what percentage of asking price are homes selling for in:

    * Damonte Ranch / D Diamond
    * Gardneville / Minden
    * Carson City

    I have not been keeping up, so have no clue.

    Thanks.

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