5 Stats Every House Hunter Should Know

Here are five stats, numbers and percentages you’ll need to be familiar with – to give you that winning edge.

Mar 16, 2014 at 10:30AM

Buying a new home can be quite the undertaking, and in many ways, it's a numbers game.

Here are five stats, numbers and percentages you'll need to be familiar with – to give you that winning edge:

90% Of All Home Buyers Begin Their Home Shopping Online

Stock Footage Young Couple Using Laptop At Home For Online Shopping

Let your fingers do the walking. Did you know that today 90% of all buyers begin their house shopping online? It's the best way to get familiar with the market, the houses, the prices, the neighborhoods and the current inventory, without leaving your home or office. With every click of that mouse, you become a more educated, smarter home shopper. And a smart buyer gets a better house – and pays less. You can search for properties, compare similar properties, research the neighborhood, calculate commute times, rate schools and even pull up crime stats for you area. It's so easy for anyone to get instant access to a property's current value and even get a good ballpark idea of prices in each neighborhood. But most important, you will get an invaluable education about how much or how little your money will buy.

5-7 Years
Statistically, based upon the national rates of home appreciation and prices, most homebuyers should consider buying only if they plan to live in their home for 5 years, minimum.  Otherwise, financially it may not make sense. If you have to sell again relatively soon, you could lose money. Generally, a home is not a good short-term investment because the transaction costs are too high. Yes, you will have been paying down some of your mortgage monthly, but when you factor in paying an agent between 4-6% of the sales price and monthly costs, this can amount to more than the average long-term annual national home price appreciation rate. So, depending upon your metro area, if you have to sell after only a few years, it might made more financial sense to keep renting.

Number of Days on Market
When house shopping, knowing how long a home has been on the market can help you gauge if it's priced too high, has too many flaws or if something else is a factor. On Trulia, you'll find this important stat right under the photos of the for sale home. Great homes in the right neighborhoods that are priced correctly tend to spend the least amount of days on the market. Homes in fringe neighborhoods that may be overpriced compared to comps, or have major structural or cosmetic issues, tend to sit on the market much longer. These homes with long for-sale shelf lives aren't all duds. Some of them may be slightly overpriced and just need a bit of TLC.  With a little imagination and the right guidance from an agent, this could be your dream home!

$ Per Month
This is how much the home will cost you out of pocket every month: your mortgage and estimated taxes and insurance.  You can find this on Trulia on every for-sale home's listing page. Having this "stat" right up front lets you tailor your shopping choices to those homes you can actually afford.

43% of Your Income
This is a very important stat and a new development in the housing market. Under the brand new "Qualified Loan" mortgage rules, in general, the borrower's debt, including mortgage payments, can't total more than 43% of gross monthly income (although there are exceptions to that cap for the next several years). Also, points and fees are limited to 3 percent of the loan amount.

This article originally appeared on Trulia.com

A real estate winner
Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner recommended a real estate-related stock in early 2012, and it has already doubled. And he's ready to do it again. You can uncover his scientific approach to crushing the market and his carefully chosen six picks for ultimate growth instantly, because he's making this premium report free for you today. Click here now for access.

Michael Corbett is Trulia's real estate and lifestyle expert. He hosts NBC's EXTRA's Mansions and Millionaires. In additional to his regular segments on ABC's The View and Fox News, he is a national best selling author with three critically acclaimed real estate books: Find It, Fix It, FLIP IT!; Ready, Set, SOLD! and Before You BUY!

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information