Many people take the source of what's going on in the housing market from the media. When talking about real estate, you must realize that real estate is a local issue, not a national issue. Each neighborhood has it's own quirks, regulations, and financial indicators. The housing market in Largo is just what it is, the housing market within Largo; not Tampa, Clearwater and St. Petersburg.
How do you find out what's going on in the Largo housing market? Well, there are a few ways you can find out. Some are the truth, some are not always the truth.
The first thing I hear when I talk to people is the "neighbors down the street" story. Now, depending on when your neighbors sold and several other factors that I won't discuss in this entry, may be a truth or a partial truth. Some neighbors will, I dare say, lie to each other because of the "Keeping up with the Jones'" factor. Others will tell the truth about how much they sold the house for, but there are things they neglect to tell you, ie. leaky roof, smelled like a zoo, etc.
Another favorite tool people use to find out how the market is, is visiting a little site called Zillow.com. This website is good for some information, but not all information. Zillow provides a tool called a "Zestimate" for your home or any home you put your mouse cursor over. Zillow has collected the data from numerous sources to do this estimator and do not discriminate transactions. Unfortunately, there are gross misrepresentations of a vast majority of homes. Zillow publishes on a monthly basis their errors and omission stats on how incorrect their "zestimates" can be for a particular area. Click the link below and as you will see, Tampa's Median Price is off by 8.6%. Which means half of the Zestimates in Tampa were closer than the error percentage and half were farther off. Their accuracy of zestimate price to true sales price within 5% plus or minus is only 31.5%. So they are really saying they are only accurate to within 5% of giving you the real truth only 31.5% of the time. If you consider money terms, that means if you have a home that Zillow zestimates at $200,000, you will be 1 out of 3 homeowners that will get within $10,000+/- your zestimate price. Only 50% of you would get within $17,200 +/- of the $200,000 they estimate as a value for your home.
Of course I'm going to tell you that the most accurate estimator of value and market is talking to your neighborhood specialist and realtor. And I would hope you would choose me to spend some time on this discussion. As most people can tell, not all realtors are created equal. You need to discuss and hire a professional agent who educates themselves on the market statistics that are published on a monthly basis and also study the market with viewing properties active on the market. These professionals eat, sleep, breath real estate - not just doing it as a hobby or supplement a retirement. To do and sell real estate, you have to be IN real estate every day.
Now I can hear some of you screaming, but why use a realtor? When you hire the right realtor, you will understand why a realtor is invaluable. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) publishes statistics on a yearly basis comparing sales across the United States on sales trends.
The most recent study released (2011) said that For Sale By Owners (FSBO) sales only accounted for 10% of total number of homes sold. The typical FSBO home sold for $150,000 compared to $215,000 for agent represented home sales. Just there alone says a lot. 9 out of every 10 homes is sold by real estate agents. And we sell homes at a higher price.
Another interesting thing to think about, how do Buyers find a home? From NAR, the 2011 stats showed that 88% of Buyers used the Internet to find more information about homes, and 87% of Buyers used their Realtor for more information. Real estate agents get the exposure for properties on the internet and have the inventory of Buyers to sell to!
To help you in your understanding of the Largo real estate market, please sign up on my website www.TheTruthAboutYourHome.com. You can search by zip code and even look up homes in your neighborhood.