Relocating? 4 Ways to Research Housing Prices

Last Updated Aug 14, 2009 6:52 PM EDT

Dear Ali;
I'm thinking of moving for my new career. How do I get a handle on what housing prices are going to be in my target city?
A: Before you move, mouse.

I'm not always a fan of using the Internet for real estate advice -- except here, of course -- because you sometimes get "experts" who don't know what they're talking about. (Just the other day on my local boards, someone claimed that a real estate contract wasn't valid until it was notarized, which is nonsense.)

However, relocation is one area where the wisdom of the hive mind usually works. Try these top sites:

  1. Craigslist's relocation forums. There's an awful lot on these boards about transporting cats -- which might prove helpful -- but you can also get comments on neighborhoods. (Note: the relo boards may not immediately pop up on your first screen. Once you're in craigslist, pick your city, then hit "discussion forums" and "relocation" should show up as a choice from there.)
  2. Urban Baby. I love this sister site to Moneywatch, although -- is anybody listening? -- I liked the old design. Still, it's a great way to find out about schools and property taxes as well as get specific information about the housing stock in different areas. (UrbanBaby posters can be brutally honest about prices.) You can search a keyword like "real estate" or just post your own question.
  3. Curbed New York and Curbed LA. Best for discussions of new developments and new condos (you can use search keywords) but also has some good neighborhood information.
  4. The local boards and blogs of your new town's local newspaper. These are going to vary in quality, but if I were moving to Portland, Oregon, my first stop would be The Oregonian, because I can use its links to find out about neighborhoods like historic Kenton.

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Home office image by wonderlane via flickr, CC 2.0

  • Alison Rogers

    Since graduating from Harvard summa cum laude, Alison Rogers has been a reporter, an editor, a real-estate agent, a Wall Street desk jockey, a columnist, a failed flipper, and a landlady. A member of the National Association of Realtors, she currently sells and rents luxury co-ops in Manhattan for the Chelsea-based firm DG Neary. (If you've got $27,500 a month, the firm has an apartment for you!) Her book, Diary of a Real Estate Rookie, was called "a valuable guide for rookie buyers" by AOL/Walletpop, "beach-read fun" by the New York Observer, and "witty" by Newsweek.