Zillow is one of my favorite websites. We use Zillow almost every day because we are nerdy and look at homes almost every day. If you haven’t used Zillow before, this is a tutorial will help you Zillow homes for sale so you can find an awesome deal on a home. Zillow gives so much information that you could probably know as much as (or close) your realtor when you go to look at a property.
Zillow Homes for Sale to Find a Great Deal
When you Zillow homes for sale, you will see this screen below. This is the home screen where you can type in the area in which you want to live or invest. Pretty easy stuff.
Next, you get a map of the surrounding area with all the houses listed for sale in the area. The cool thing is they have information on houses that have recently sold also. If you want to know what the houses in a particular neighborhood have sold for, you can do it through this website. Below are pictures of how to find all of that information.
Next, you click on a house that interests you to find out more about the house. Let’s choose this one. Greg and I looked at this house recently so I will walk you through exactly what we looked at.
We have been in the market for a new home. I should say we casually look for new homes for ourselves. Our house isn’t on the market or anything because houses in our neighborhood generally sell fast and I don’t want to have to rent if we don’t have to. We are incredibly picky also… and cheap. Don’t forget cheap. So we look at the house to see if it is appealing or not. You can go through all the pictures. Fun, right?
Then, you get to he nitty gritty. When you Zillow homes for sale, you can find all the ins and outs about a house. How many square feet is the home, how many bedrooms, bathrooms, parking spaces and how much land comes with the home. Then you find out how many days the house has been listed fore. Generally speaking, it is on the market for over a month, they priced it too high. This is for our market anyways and we live in Ohio. Most of the houses that are priced right go in the first month. If you find yourself in this situation use that as a bargaining tool. Negotiate the price and don’t be afraid to come in with an offer that is lower than asking price.
Then you scroll down even further and you find this menu (below). This menu is awesome for digging up some really great dirt on the house you are looking at. When we Zillow homes for sale, we pay attention to this menu because we get TONS of info. Read on.
Start with the Zestimate. This is really nice. They give you a general idea of how much they think the property is worth. You then go to your local auditor website and compare. Just type in your county + auditor and you will be directed to the page. Look for “Real Estate” and search the property address. You will then be able to find out how the local auditor values the house. Two sources are always better than one. If the comparisons are similar, awesome. If not, go with your local auditor. The graph that Zillow gives you is pretty cool too. It is a trend for the value of the home. Is it trending up? If it is, that is good!
Next step when you Zillow homes for sale, look at the Price/Tax History of the home. In that tab, you find out what the house sold for and the last time it sold. This is where we find out if a house is being flipped or not. This house I am showing you is a flip. You see how they bought it at $144,000 in 2015? They are now selling it for $218,000. This means they are trying to make a profit from the house. I am sure they put a decent amount of work into the home, but they are asking a pretty penny for the home. Use that to bargain for a lower price. You know that they bought it as a flip and chances are, they have some wiggle room.
You then look at the neighborhood tab which gives you a bunch of info also. You can see if Zillow estimates the property value to go up and you can see the market temp. The market temp basically says that in our area it is still a buyers market and I agree with that. I think it still is. We still have quite a few foreclosures in our area and in some cases we have had to compete to find deals. This particular house is actually under contract so it looks like we won’t be moving (sad face). We actually were really excited to look at this house.
Next, check out the Nearby Schools. This is a pretty easy way to find out if the area is decent or not. The Elementary and Middle schools for this house are good but the high school gets low ratings. So, is this a good investment based on the schools or not? Well, since I know the area and I know the school system, I would say yes it is a good area. Plain schools get a bad rap, but I know that they have vamped up their academics and their numbers will go up over the next several years. In comparison to other school systems in our area, the high school gets lower ratings, but like I said I know they have made great strides and their ratings will improve. Remember that with good school systems come higher taxes which means an increase in your monthly payment. The other big school systems in our area show this is the case for sure.
A home like this is Jackson Township would be about $50,000 more expensive with a $1,000 more per year in taxes. The schools are all rated a 10. It is a trade off, but I personally feel this is an ok investment. Here is why. First, we would offer about $200,000 on this home and I would expect a counter offer of $210,000 to $215,000. We would probably settle around $207,000 for this house. If we tried to sell it in 3 years, we would probably only be able to ask about $220,000 for it. It has already been nicely redone and there is little room to add any value to the home. You might be able to make some other cosmetic upgrades, but for the most part it is pretty much done. Just food for thought.
So if you want to find out what houses are selling for in the neighborhood, you click Price This Home.
Or you can go to the top and click on the listing type menu and find “recently sold”. This will highlight all the houses that have sold recently and and what they sold for. Super helpful. This gives you an idea of whether or not the house you want is priced right. If houses in are selling for $150,000 in the area of our hypothetical house, there is a problem and I would personally not bid on this house.
This is how we use Zillow when we look at properties and it gives us tons of information before we even step foot into a home. It will save you a bunch of time and help you determine what a good deal on a house looks like.
Have you ever used Zillow before?
Related Posts: Buying a Foreclosure: Good Idea or Not?
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