Real estate research becoming more readily available


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Making real estate decisions may be getting easier as more and more information becomes readily available online.

For Summer Yen and her family, the day they moved in was a long time coming.

“We’ve been looking for several years, actually,” said Yen.

Yen and her husband relied on information found online, particularly pricing history and listing dates. Closing price data, typically held onto by realtors, was a key piece of information remained hard to come by.

“If you know how much the seller is in for, you know, how much they’ve invested into the property, then you know how much you can offer to them,” said Yen.

However, closing price data is becoming more available to the general public. In fact, Realty Austin just began listing that information online in the past few weeks.

“We think consumers need access to that information, to make an informed decision,” said Jonathan Boatwright, co-owner of Realty Austin. “I think because we’ve taken that step, it will become more common and more expected in Austin.”

Boatwright said even though they are now giving away data that was previously unlisted to the public, he encourages buyers and sellers to use a professional.

“We still expect that they’ll work with a Realtor most of the time to decide how much to offer for a home,” said Boatwright.

“Closing price data alone is not a true indicator of market value,” the Austin Board of Realtors echoed. “Concessions are often made in negotiations leading up to a closing and real estate market conditions in the Austin area evolve rapidly. Austin’s homebuyers and sellers still need a professional to help them navigate complex real estate decisions and transactions.”

Even without having all the market data, Yen said she couldn’t imagine navigating the housing market without the help of technology.

“All the information related to those top candidates [homes], you know, is just at your fingertips,” said Yen.

Earlier this year Forbes ranked Austin as the top place to invest in housing. It said even though the market is overpriced by about 8 percent, the population is booming. According to Zillow, the current median price of homes in Austin is almost $350,000. In comparison, the median price to rent in Austin is nearly $1,500 a month.

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