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Zillow Talk

The New Rules of Real Estate

By Spencer Rascoff and Stan Humphries
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  • Contains 6 key ideas
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Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate by Spencer Rascoff and Stan Humphries

Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate (2015) gives the reader all the tools they need to buy, sell or rent a home. From the conundrum of whether to rent or buy, to when to sell and how to boost the value of your property, these blinks shed light on the perennially important dilemmas of real estate – the biggest investment of your life.

Key idea 1 of 6

Determine whether buying is right for you and choose an up-and-coming neighborhood to maximize your investment.

Most of us associate homeownership with a family. But buying a home can be as advantageous for a single working woman as it can be for a family of four.

How can you know if buying is right for you? It could be because buying saves you money.

Zillow developed a tool called the break even horizon, which can help you determine whether it makes more financial sense to buy or rent.

Here’s how it works.

The break even horizon compares costs over time to determine how long it will take for the home you purchase to cost less than it would to rent the same property. It does this by calculating inflation and tax rates as well as property value.

If you use Zillow’s break even horizon tool and find out that you could actually save money by buying a house, you’re ready for the next step: deciding where to buy.

When choosing a neighborhood, it’s important to consider how it will transform in the years to come. After all, buying property is a huge investment and real estate prices are directly linked to location.

So, while it may be tempting to buy the best property in the most desirable area, a wiser financial decision is to buy property in up-and-coming neighborhoods.

Luckily, by following market trends you can determine how a neighborhood will change over time.

For instance, a part of the city with bad roads or little commercial activity can become a booming center of commerce in just a few years.


Say you knew that a developer planned to build a shopping mall in the area by next year. A major commercial attraction like that would likely draw a new group of people to the area and start transforming the run-down neighborhood into a hip and attractive one.

As the atmosphere of the neighborhood improves so will the housing prices, thereby making your investment a sound one.

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