Zillow’s 5 Rules of Real Estate

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The New Rules of Real Estate is a new book published this week by Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff and Chief Economist Stan Humphries. Zillow is an online home search website in the United States that provides extensive information on the housing market for buyers, homeowners and industry professionals. The new title promises to remove the veil from the data it collects and provide valuable insight to buyers.

The book’s description teases some relevant advice—”don’t buy the worst house in the best neighbourhood,” “better street names will cost you more,” and “don’t put the word ‘cute’ in your listing” (cute means your house is small).

Toronto
Here are five insights from Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate that also rings true for Toronto.

1. Buy a house near a Starbucks.
Whether it’s US or Canada, the Starbucks’ real estate analytics team “pores over data on traffic patterns and business density to pick the best places for their stores.” Bottom line is that Starbucks invests the time and money required to figure where to expand. Take advantage of this data to buy your next place in an up-and-coming (Frappuccino) neighbourhood. Last year Starbucks opened many new locations in Toronto. Here are a few notable ones: Waterpark Place, a newer building in the Financial District close to Maple Leaf Square, at Castlefield and Caledonia, 1188 King West on the edge of Parkdale, and 1564 Royal York Road at Lawrence.

2. Don’t buy the least expensive home in the best neighbourhood.
There’s an old adage that says you should always buy the least expensive home in the best neighbourhood. The thought is houses will appreciate more than similar properties in less desirable neighbourhoods. Zillow’s data suggests the opposite is true, since people who buy in better neighbourhoods are not as price sensitive as those who buy elsewhere. In fact, buyers will look for the best house, not the cheapest one. That said,  you shouldn’t necessarily discount this strategy on resale price alone. There may be other benefits for buying in the best areas like better schools, proximity to amenities, and restaurants.

3. The best time to list your house is late March.
This one might be the most obvious of the bunch. Families prefer to move over the summer so they don’t disrupt their kids during the school year. According to Zillow data, owners who list their properties in March get a premium over other times of the year.

4. It’s better to remodel your bathroom than your kitchen.
Zillow says, always renovate your powder room before touching your kitchen. According to the book,  bathroom renovations added an average of $1.71 in value to your house for every dollar you spend. In case you agree, here are a few bathroom reno ideas from Houzz.

5. Torontonians can be very superstitious.
Zillow says, “you should never list your house for $444,000.” Take into account the multicultural nature of Toronto when you decide on the listing price of your house. For example, buyers from the Far East believe the number eight is a lucky number, while four brings bad luck. Some condo developers are skipping floor numbers altogether while councillors in Richmond Hill voted to ban the number four in street addresses.

Are you planning to read The New Rules of Real Estate?  

Photo via Wikimedia

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