Lumber Liquidators

                                                Finding Bargain Real Estate Online



Finding a house

Your first stop should be Realtor.com. This is the National Association of Realtors' official site. Realtor.com provides access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) for free. You'll see houses listed for sale in your area.

But, if you want to find foreclosures, you'll need to dig deeper. Your city or county's website probably lists foreclosures. You'll find details on houses involved in foreclosure proceedings.

If your city or county's website doesn't list foreclosures, there are alternatives. RealtyTrac.com, Foreclosures.com and BargainNetwork.com list foreclosures and other bargains.

The sites offer seven-day free trials. After that, RealtyTrac and Foreclosures.com charge about $50 monthly. BargainNetwork charges about $10 per week.

You should also visit HomeSales.gov. It lists homes that the U.S. government is selling via auction. Many of these are HUD homes.

Determining a house's value

If you find a house you like, you'll need to determine its value. Yahoo Real Estate (realestate.yahoo.com) helps you calculate the value of a house.

Simply enter an address to see a house's value range. You'll see a list of recently sold houses in the neighborhood. You'll also see the date the houses sold, along with the houses' sizes.

Zillow.com's Zestimate is the site's calculation of the value of a house. Like Yahoo's site, it lists comparable recently sold houses. You can also compare the houses' price per square foot.

You'll see the price for which a house last sold. But pay close attention to Zillow's charts. These show how a house's value has changed over the past one to 10 years.

Staying current

Even if you're not buying or selling a home, it's important to stay up-to-date. Fortunately, real estate sites provide innovative ways to do that.

At Trulia.com, you can search for houses in your area and save the searches or sign up for e-mail alerts. You'll be notified when new listings match your criteria. Or, you can find out when similar houses are sold.

The alerts are designed to help buyers find new listings as soon as possible, but homeowners can use the alerts to keep current on the market.

Zillow provides a wealth of information on the housing market. For example, it offers a heat map. The map shows you values in square feet for particular neighborhoods. At a glance, you can see how your neighborhood stacks up.

Zillow also offers a comprehensive real estate guide. You can find answers to questions about mortgages, refinancing and more. There's also information on remodeling and working with contractors.

Of course, everything has a price. So check out Zillow's "Make me move" feature. With it you list your home on the site. Then enter the price that you're willing to accept for your house. Someone might make you an offer! You're not obligated to accept an offer.

When buying or selling a house, websites are a good starting point. However, no website can replace the expertise a real estate agent provides. A real estate agent can help you navigate the buying and selling process.

                                    Lumber Liquidators
 

The baby boomer generation is notorious for having a huge impact on the economy. At every milestone in their lives, their buying power has had a huge effect on market trends. As they collectively approach retirement age, their impact on the real estate market will be tremendous.

Baby boomers are defined as people born between the years of 1946 and 1964, and they represent nearly 78 million people in the United States today. While most of them are still years away from retirement, many are starting to think seriously about their plans for the future.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) conducted a comprehensive survey of 2,000 baby boomers in 2006. Based on this study, NAR's chief economist David Lereah notes that baby boomers have very diverse retirement plans.

Lereah states, "A significant portion of baby boomers married later in life and had children at a later age, which means many will continue to work beyond the traditional retirement age. Older boomers may think about retirement, but one-third is expected to go back and forth between periods of work and periods of leisure. Another 35 percent intend to work at least part-time or start a business after reaching retirement age: all of this will impact the kind of homes they buy as well as where they buy them."

The study found that the median age at which boomers intend to retire is 70. The study also found that over a quarter of baby boomers do not intend to stop working at all. This means that they will still be a viable force in the housing market. Rather than moving into assisted living facilities as many expected, they intend to stay in their homes or seek out a property of equal or higher value. Because they intend to work longer than anticipated, they will continue to be a driving force in the real estate market for years to come.