Web Wealth: Investing in real estate

Posted: September 02, 2007

Has real estate become another dice game for investors - and for people just looking for a home? Here are Web sites to help sort out the market, and to give yourself an education.

Home values. Plug in your address, or your neighbor's, and you'll get an idea what the place is worth, based on comparable recent sales in the area. Recently sold properties are marked on a map. You can learn when any house on your block was last sold, and at what price. A separate chart graphs how the property's value has risen or fallen.

http://realestate.yahoo.com/Homevalues

Make Me Move. Zillow.com is a site where you can list your house for sale, shop for housing, or join a discussion group about real estate in your area. One feature we liked is called Make Me Move, where you can describe your house and name the dollar amount it would take to buy you out. It may or may not sell houses, but it tells a lot about their owners.

Realty TV. Hosted by a fellow with bad hair, Realty Times TV is not exactly riveting video, but the feature does top a Web site with the latest headlines on the real estate market, and several ways to pose your own questions to real estate experts. The site seems to need some building of its own, though. It is set up to deliver highly localized information, but there was nothing specific about our own town when we clicked through.

MIT for free. If you really want to get your brain around real estate economics, you can review the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's course on the subject - and many others - at this Web site, which the university provides as a public service. Professor William Wheaton's 2004 syllabus, lecture notes, PowerPoint presentations, and homework assignments are all online. MIT's OpenCourseWare project features other economics courses, as well as engineering, sciences, and even foreign-language studies.

http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Sloan-School-of-Management/15-021jSpring2004/CourseHome/index.htm


Contact staff writer Reid Kanaley at 215-854-5114 or rkanaley@phillynews.com.

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