Real Estate Investing Basics

6 Essential Considerations When Looking at Real Estate Statistics & Data

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No doubt, statistics and data can play a huge role in what investments are likely to succeed and which ones have a higher chance of tanking. Both of these, statistics and data, can give a very good picture as to the potential future of an investment or an investment’s potential. However, I oftentimes hear people justifying a particular investment based solely off some quoted pile of statistics or computerized data.

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Now, not to pull my super-nerd card and confess that I was a math geek and took AP Statistics in high school, but I’ve never forgotten that class and I catch myself remembering things I learned in it on a fairly regular basis throughout life. Granted, most of the time it’s to explain to my mother that her justifying some random fact is based on completely skewed information (she’s not always the best at seeing different sides to things), but what I learned also comes in handy in my real estate investing world as I scrounge through various investment opportunities.

In thinking of what I know about statistics and data and looking at my own experience with them, I think it’s worth throwing out some considerations for you to ponder once you start getting into them yourself.

6 Essential Considerations When Looking at Real Estate Statistics & Data

Consider the source.

I shouldn’t have to remind you of this one — I’m sure you know to be careful of the source of anything, but it’s one of those things that can be surprisingly easy to forget to consider. Where are the statistics and data coming from that you are looking at? They may be from an individual, but more often, you are probably looking at some company-published data sheet online somewhere.

It’s very easy for people to come up with statistics that support their viewpoints, so be cautious of the validity of what someone is showing you based simply off their standpoints. Or maybe it’s not that their information is biased to their viewpoint, but maybe the person just legitimately has no idea what they are talking about, and therefore the information they give you is as off-base as their education levels (not literally education levels but rather how much they know about the subject they are talking about).

So definitely consider reputation and accuracy of a company and their information before making too many decisions based on what information you are looking at. For instance, I find Yelp reviews to be extremely accurate. However, sometimes if a company is ranked a little lower than desired but I think they seem OK, I will  look at the reviews from the people who rate the company with less stars and see what they actually wrote. Very quickly, I often will ignore a review if the person wrote few details or seemed like they were whining or have some other indication of not being representative of the truth. On the other hand, if someone rates a company poorly and goes into objective detail about their reasoning for that rating, I’m much more inclined to trust it. Yelp is obviously a completely different animal than real estate statistics, but it’s a good example of the legitimacy of a source of information (the author of the Yelp rating and written review in this case). Some principles apply in considering any source.

analyze-property-income

Beware of skewed data.

This one definitely got drilled into me in AP Statistics. One of my favorite examples of skewed data is in the statistic of car accidents within a certain radius of one’s house. At the time, the statistic was something like “95% of car accidents happen within 25 miles of one’s home.” What people took out of this statistic was that they needed to be more careful closer to home because they were more likely to have an accident!

OK, no, that is skewed data. The reality for this data was that very few of those people polled ever drove further than 25 miles away from their home. So of course most of the accidents would happen within that radius — few people were ever outside of that radius! See what I mean? I have a few other favorite examples, but I’ll leave it at that one, as I think you get my point. There is often another side to the statistic that isn’t presented or considered, or there is a strong reason why the statistic would show the outcome it showed. Always consider those things!

Question how numbers were calculated.

What variables are being used to generate the statistics and data that you are looking at? This falls very closely in with considering the source of data (who is presenting it) and potential skews in the data. My favorite example of this in real estate investing is when someone presents you with the “ROI” (return on investment) of an investment. Do you know how many different versions of ROI there are being presented out there?

The minute someone tries to convince you of the ROI of anything, your first question would be asking what exactly is being included and considered in their calculation of ROI. For example, if the presented ROI of a rental property includes some years-long speculation on appreciation, I automatically start questioning the calculation. I never present an ROI of a rental property that includes appreciation. I don’t know that appreciation is actually going to happen, so I could be totally lying to you if I start making up those numbers. But you’d be surprised how many people do.

Related: Why People Move and What The Data Means for Real Estate Investors

Or another one is the cap rate or cash-on-cash calculations. Make sure you know that the presenter knows what the actual equation for these numbers is. Where those oftentimes go wrong is that someone doesn’t include all of the expenses of a property when determining the net. More often than I care to admit, I see someone advertise a 20% cap rate for a property. My alerts immediately go off, and I ask them to tell me how exactly they got that number because a 20% cap rate is freakishly unrealistic. Maybe not in all cases, but it’s worthy of investigating the red flag. Whatever you do, always have someone break down to you exactly how they got to the number they are presenting.

Question the relevance.

This one is huge for real estate investing and one I see more than a lot. The one I see most often is a published table of the top however many cities in the United States for some variable like cash flow or appreciation or growth or stability. I remember one table that was presented in a forum that was the top some number of cities for appreciation across the United States. What the numbers in the table reflected, though, were in relation to rental properties. There is a method of investing in rental properties solely for appreciation, yes, but more rental property owners are concerned with cash flow. This table was trying to convince rental property investors which cities to buy in based on appreciation.

Well, it is quite common knowledge that the highest appreciation cities don’t cash flow at all (LA, San Fran, New York, etc.)! There are other cities that go through shorter big waves of appreciation where you can get cash flow in for some amount of time, but those cities would need to be clarified in a table like this that is showing data for rental property owners. I think it was 16 or so cities listed in this table, and of these, only one of them that I remember being on there would have even given way to a smidge of monthly cash flow.

So if you are looking at data supporting what cities are appreciating the most, make sure you are only investing for appreciation. Don’t look at a table of only appreciation data if you are considering cash-flowing rental properties. For those, work backwards. Find information on the cities with the best cash flow, then rule out any undesirable cities (declining, scary, whatever) in this list, see what’s left, and then look at the appreciation potential of each. I’m telling you, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a single table of U.S. cities that someone has posted in a forum post be anything I would actually look at when determining where I want to buy. They are missing a ton of information, and they are rarely relevant to what I need.

Paralysis by Analysis

Know the difference between primary and supportive data.

Now, where those tables could be used, and should be considered, is as supportive material. If you find an investment opportunity and you’ve done quite a bit of analysis and all is looking good, using those kinds of tables or other data sources can be great for confirming what you have already found or questioning it. I would never use those tables as the primary reason I buy a property, but I may use them as supportive evidence as to why I should or shouldn’t buy the property. See the difference? Here’s another example of primary versus supportive data. In terms of market analysis, it is absolutely critical for me to know that a market I’m investing in is a growing market and not a declining one. Population data, jobs data, and industry data are all information I consider to be primary data. I will absolutely decide whether or not I want to pursue an investment opportunity in a particular market based on what these numbers tell me. I will rule out an investment opportunity that is in a market that shows a decline. Supportive data, on the other hand, would be something like projections for appreciation or a ranking in relation to some variable (like in the tables I mentioned) or just more specific variables — like whether a state is landlord or tenant friendly, for example.

I won’t completely accept or reject an investment property depending on what kind of laws I will be dealing with, but I will absolutely consider the direction of those laws after I look at the primary data. So the population trend for me in a market is a primary consideration, whereas the landlord/tenant laws are supportive/secondary. See how this works? And more than anything, I will never consider just one statistic or piece of data to be primary on it’s own. It’s all about painting the whole picture. I gave an example of this in an article I wrote a couple months ago when I was analyzing a possible market for investing. Read through “Real Life Analysis of a Rental Property Market: Palmdale, CA.” You’ll see in there how I sift through various pieces of information to consider. I’ve heard numerous arguments saying Palmdale is a good place to invest simply because it ranks somewhere on some kind of table. Well, I think there’s more to a market than just a number.

Remember: Reality may not always be reflected by statistics.

The truth is, reality isn’t always revealed accurately on paper or in numbers. This is one of those things that can’t really be explained, but it’s just one of those things in life that reality doesn’t always match what all the evidence shows. My favorite example of this is from when I moved to Venice Beach. It took me a while to find an apartment I liked, but I finally found it, signed the lease, and was all sorts of excited to get ready to move in. All of a sudden it dawned on me,”Wait, is Venice even safe?” I had heard the horror stories, and I suddenly wondered if I was about to get myself in trouble (I’m significantly more of a sissy than I come across as, and I am totally that one who won’t own a gun because I’d certainly shoot myself in the foot accidentally instead of hitting a bad guy).

So what did I do? I looked up crime statistics for the 0.5 mile radius surrounding my new apartment. EEK! I mean, the statistics that showed up online could seriously have put Law & Order to shame. According to these statistics, I would certainly be robbed, vandalized, shot, beheaded, and my body pieces left in a recycle bin. This would all certainly happen within about a month too of moving in. Well, to shorten the story, I moved in to the apartment anyway. I’ve now been here for three years, and not only do I leave my front door open during the day, but I walk my (extremely un-intimidating) dog at late hours of the night, and I even stumble home late nights from bars occasionally not exactly in a position to fight off any bad guys. Yes, I’ve heard gun shots around, yes, I’m only a few blocks from where some random murders have happened, and yes, some drugged-out schizos walk by my apartment on a regular basis, but the reality is my place is really safe. But if I had gone off the statistics? I never would have moved here. I don’t know how to relate statistics and data to reality — why sometimes it’s totally off and why sometimes it’s totally spot-on — but keep in mind, reality isn’t always conveyed by the numbers.

Related: How to Build a House Hunting Database to Find & Track Deals

Absolutely, statistics and data should never be ignored. It’s the same as my policy on advice — I always listen to and consider any advice (sometimes “advice” is a nice word for it) given to me. After I listen to it, though, I go through a similar analysis as I would with data or statistics. I first consider the source, then I consider the advice itself to see if it makes sense or seems fitting to what I need or what I think, and then I objectively (as best I can) accept or reject the advice. It’s the same with statistics and data. If I read some, I consider all of the above points about it in order to determine whether to consider the data or not, and if I do decide to consider it, do I consider it as a primary or supporting piece of data?

Unfortunately, not every piece of information out there can be trusted. It may not be be out of bad intentions and it may only be untrustworthy because it’s not relevant to what you need it for, but whether data is completely inaccurate or just not relevant to what you are doing, you need to understand how to sift through statistics and data on your own and not just through guidance of other people.

Hopefully these steps will help you learn how to expand your knowledge for due diligence, and more importantly lead you to an amazing investment — or help you avoid a sneaky bad one!

How is everyone using stats and data these days? What do you use it for mostly when it comes to analyzing investment opportunities?

Let me know with a comment!

Ali Boone is a lifestyle entrepreneur, business consultant, and real estate investor. Ali left her corporate job as an Aerospace Engineer to follow her passion for being her own boss and creating true lifestyle design. She did this through real estate investing, using primarily creative financing to purchase five properties in her first 18 months of investing. Ali’s real estate portfolio started with pre-construction investments in Nicaragua and then moved towards turnkey rental properties in various markets throughout the U.S. With this success, she went on to create her company Hipster Investments, which focuses on turnkey rental properties and offers hands-on support for new investors and those going through the investing process. She’s written nearly 200 articles for BiggerPockets and has been featured in Fox Business, The Motley Fool, and Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine. She still owns her first turnkey rental properties and is a co-owner and the landlord of property local to her in Venice Beach.

    Randy Phillips
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    I actually target the lower income areas, my buyers luv these houses bcuz their cheap and have a great rent cash flow. Of course what works for me is, I just wholesale them to my cash buyers without touching them.
    Kevin Polite
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Lisa, some of the best advice I’ve seen and this is so true. I’ve invested in areas where the demos were changing and my thought was to renovate for the people who was starting to move there, not for the demos that were there. It’s worked so far. Thanks for a great piece. Take away it is after you’ve done your research trust your own instinct.
    Lisa Phillips
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Yes, I’ve noticed over the last 4 years the demographics are changing as working professionals are trying to make their dollars stretch more, so its changing every single day.
    A.C. Cooley
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Great article. You have to learn neighborhoods for yourself. I had a deal fall in my lap last month but it was actually in a war zone. I wouldn’t dare rehab in that neighborhood but there are some experienced rehabbers who would. If you find a deal in a war zone you can also refer it to another investor who might give you a birddog fee or if you are savvy get it under contract and wholesale it. I did not want this house but I got it under contract for $1,000. At that price I knew SOMEBODY would want it. I’m saying to target war zones but if something falls in your lap that is a steal you can do something with it even if it is only a $500 referral fee.
    Lisa Phillips
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    I’d take it 🙂 And, you’re right, other investors are more than happy to go in there and get the deal. I know my comfort level is a lot higher than normal, since I’ve been okay so far investing in lower income neighborhoods. Like anything, with experience comes more comfort with the complexities.
    chuck wilson
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Lisa you are absolutely right. I can’t tell you how many times some working stiff has told me “don’t do that, too much risk” . Lucky for me I have always looked at the source of the opinion and usually disregarded it. I am sure with the holidays approaching all of our relatives will be chimming in on what you should or shouldn’t do. Do yourself a favor and say “thanks for sharing” and ignore it!
    Lisa Phillips
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Lol, sounds like we both have the “im not going to listen to this” gene, I have it in abundance! It has really made the difference to me actually starting my businesses. If I had a dime…..
    Sergio
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Thanks again Lisa for another great article
    Lisa Phillips
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Thank you Sergio. Feel free to message me if there are any subjects in particular you would like to see addressed!
    Robert Leonard
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Great article Lisa! What I would like to add is, this idea of keeping an open mind applies to everything! Everything anybody tells you about anything related to real estate is a matter of opinion until you verify it. If you haven’t verified it yourself or from multiple trustworthy sources, it’s just an opinion. The more you get to know the people you interact with, the more you will learn who’s opinions usually prove to be accurate and who’s don’t!
    Lisa Phillips
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    That’s right. It just takes guts, and sometimes you just have to stop asking everyone else for advice, and just go out see for yourself. Imagine those first settlers coming from England in the 1600s – they just had courage and some guts, and it really turned out well. Not to get too historic, but they were the first real estate investors! 😉
    Jeff Brown
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    The real question might be, “Is the ‘expert’ a real expert?” I’ve been stupid for over 30 years now.
    Lisa Phillips
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Lol! I think I joined that club a long time ago, too, Jeff!
    Gerald Harris
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    I can’t tell you the number of investors that have told me to stay away from certain areas or certain neighborhoods. I am now realizing that old reputations are not current conditions and actually some of the neighborhoods in these areas can make you a quick buck. Great Article!
    Lisa Phillips
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Thanks! Well, Im amazed how this is “common knowledge,” because 9 times of out 10 its simply isnt true. Don’t cut out your profits listening to people who haven’t stepped foot in that location.
    Aaron Yates
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Great post Lisa. I have written a couple posts as well in regards to this. This happens all too often and clouds new investors minds. Im glad you also see the issues at hand with seasoned investors and also the fact that everyone makes money different ways in their investing.
    Lisa Phillips
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Thank you Aaron, thats exactly the point! Diversity of ways to make money, and I just don’t want people to be scared off and stricken with uncertainty once they find out its okay to have doubts, but still go forward and make it work, especially when the ROI can be so much better than others.
    Lisa Phillips
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    AND, I will definitely read your articles about this!
    chris
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    I must go against most of these replies and say this article was more fluff than substance in my mind. If you are going to touch on this topic it would be more helpful to explain how you analyze neighborhoods differently then the “experts”, and what makes them wrong? What investing strategy are you using in these areas? If the whole point of the article is just saying “don’t believe everything you hear” then it sure took you a long time to say it. Flipping houses in rough neighborhoods is a lot different then buying rentals in the same areas, and you could probably say that about all the different investing strategies in real estate. My two cents is simply this: In Minnesota (just like every state I am sure) we have the cheap houses. They are in the worst areas of the twin cities.We have our war zone of North MPLS, but there are a lot of other neighborhoods where homicides are prevalent. The city provides “a shots fired map” that is basically a heat map of the entire city and very helpful in determining where the violent crimes are. You run market trends in those neighborhoods right now and they are side-ways or still trending down, and they have been for quite some time. Even in neighborhoods I would rate just above them the trend for appreciation over the next 5 years is terrible. In other words, appreciation for single family residential rentals is extremely important and tends to get overlooked with newer investors. All they consider is cash flow, but the power of appreciation (location) in my mind is the most important factor to consider. My state is hot right now where some areas are going to perform at 14% year-over-year. Compare that with the lower rated neighborhoods where some will end up negative, or under 3% and tell me who is laughing? Investing in buy-an-hold in these neighborhoods is probably a terrible idea unless you want a rental upside down in value, but if you know how to accurately run a market trends analysis then you will know if a market is appreciating or not. You can also make some opinions on where a neighborhood is heading. For flipping? Completely different scenarios then the buy-and-hold. What does not work for one neighborhood could work just fine for another investing strategy. And that is where this topic’s advice can hold some value. When other investors say a area is “bad to invest in” or whatever it should be specified that “this area is bad to invest in with this type of strategy”. Generalizations are almost never true. Know how to run the numbers and analyze investments yourself and 3rd party opinion becomes just that: an opinion.
    Al Williamson
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Chris, I hear what you’re saying. There are many frameworks to evaluating struggling neighborhoods but I don’t hear too many people talking about them. I spot great opportunities by looking a cluster of improvements and city zoning. If I see a clump of owners trying to improve a section of a struggling neighborhood, then I check if they are in a designated improvement zone. If that’s the case, then I’ll: 1. Look at the opportunities to buy something in close proximity to the active owners. 2. Check if there’s a communication mechanism that I could use to coordinate with the group (i.e., business or neighborhood association). 3. Check the trend of employment/entrepreneurial opportunities. This is a good process to help an investor catch an improvement wave and capture appreciation as well as cash flow.
    Justin
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Great post Al. Lisa and Al, do you personally see merits in renting to section 8 tenants? Do you currently rent to them? Thanks,
    Lisa Phillips
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Hi Justin: I used to rent to section 8, however, over the last 3 years section 8 renters have been renting out homes in higher end neighborhoods in the suburbs, as their subsidies give them that option, and in my neighborhoods its more a shift to hourly wage workers (dental hygeinist, insurance brokers, veterans etc) as the need to lower housing cost but still live in a nicely renovated home. Im not opposed to it, as it has worked out for me in the past, but I have not received those rental applications recently.
    Lisa Phillips
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    And, just one point I wanted to put out there: The cashflow is amazing. All in costs are from 40-50k, with 800-1000 a month in rental income – its not an appreciation play necessarily (although with foreclosures you already have built in equity), but the monthly positive cashflow is great for any investor. Thanks for sharing your opinion though!
    Lisa Phillips
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Hi Chris, the fact is, for a lot of new investors, this advice is definitely needed. I am in the starting out forums all the time when I see this question asked, and something that seems obvious to you is NOT obvious to the new real estate investor (it wasn’t for me, and it isn’t currently for a lot of other people). As to the metrics I use for due diligence, patience: I am a weekly contributor. I give out one spot a week, and as provide more and more articles for biggerpockets, all of these due diligence matrix have been and will be layed out. Its not overly complex, but at one article a week that I focus on putting new investors in the right frame of mind of analyzing all their options before shutting the door, it will just take a few weeks. This advice is clearly not for an experienced investor who is set in their ways, its for newer investors who are still trying to find their way. They can look at my previous articles on this sites and others to see ALL of the advice I can give on the topic. Bottom Line: What’s obvious to you, isn’t obvious to others. I think that is why there is such a disconnect for new investors on getting the information they really need, because some of the experts think its obvious. Having been on that other side (and it was extremely frustrating), its not “obvious” at all when you get started and don’t know anything about real estate, and some of whats “obvious” flies in the face of positive cashflow and mathematics many times
    James
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Lisa, I read your article and watched your video. It’s always a good reminder to remain open-minded. I tend to play it safe and buy in neighborhoods that have appreciation over time, i.e. buy and hold, but modest cash flow (Chris’s advice). I have been thinking about other areas where the cash flow could be a lot better, but I hear these people telling me, “Oh, you don’t want to buy in that neighborhood”…. projected fear. I sometimes think that I am being told to stay away because these same people giving me that advice don’t want any competition for the great deals out there! In 2014, I’m going to look into investing in neighborhoods where I normally wouldn’t. Thanks for your advice! P.S. Al, I also like your ideas…very smart!
    Lisa Phillips
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Diversify, right? Thanks for the comment, I think you’re spot on in a lot of what you say. However, when people do say “Stay Away From That Neighborhood,” i think it usually stems from a lot of projected fear. I could be wrong, but its incomprehensible to me when people tell me that, and I go there and things are just fine. Ah well, whatever the cause of them to say that sight unseen, it shouldn’t stop new investors from considering the cash flowing strategies, and to listen to their own instincts and judgements after visiting the place.
    Curt Smith rental_property_investor from Clarkston, GA
    Replied over 3 years ago
    HI Ali, can you offer websites you like for finding new hot rental areas and steps you’d use? I like city-data.com : has jobs data, rent and rent increase data craigslist has gigs jobs ads by radius (set it small) and enter local cities to get counts of jobs. Also craigslist for rentals available at price points in total numbers. I only buy in areas with high jobs, low total count of rentals, and rentometer.com showing above average rent. I do the cap rate, cash on cash, cash flow after debt service to validate whether an area is good. —– My recent metrics for last 3 new purchases since Jan 2016 all are running 21% cash on cash, $450->$550/mo positive cash flow, and the area has very low inventory of houses on the market making for high cap gain appreciation, and high rent increase prospects. All based on thin rental market, big jobs coming to town and good schools. The last rental I “pre advertised” before I closed. I closed on Friday and picked up a money order for the reservation fee, the amount of the security deposit on that Sunday. IMHO that is what high demand, low inventory, buying cute house in nice area yet cash flows $500/mo and 21% cash on cash. My peers in the Atlanta area are struggling trying to buy in the metro area, too much investor competition and doing few deals per year. I drive 1.5 hrs to a hot jobs area with few investors, good schools, few financed buyers making for easy negotiation with the banks for great prices. I found this gold mine by: clicking various cities using both craigslist and http://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=&l=Cobb+County%2C+GA&radius=5 Change the city using 5 mile radius and note the number of jobs. Click around your state on similar sized towns to find jobs areas. Then use craigslist to see how many rentals. I buy where there’s lots of jobs and few rentals. Also search chambers of commerce and google the area for new employers coming to town.
    Ali Boone from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied 6 months ago
    Oh geez, sorry everyone… never saw all of these comments! Now 3 years later… do you still have the same question? Lol. 🙁
    Brian Skinner investor from San Francisco, California
    Replied over 3 years ago
    There is always going to be data to support whatever point someone is trying to make. That’s why I think your ‘consider the source’ tip is the most important. Are they trying to get you to believe something that will benefit them? Would you come to the same conclusion given the original data?
    Ali Boone from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied 6 months ago
    Love that Brian, yes, I completely agree!
    Zach DeMaris from Ames, Iowa
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Hi Ali, I really enjoyed your story about your apartment in Venice Beach. It seems like all the properties in some of my target areas all fit the description of your apartment, the crime statistics don’t look to great. However I do have a question about how you discovered that is actually a safe area. Was it only after years of living there that you discovered it was actually safe or is it something you could have discovered by simply visiting the property as a potential buyer?
    Ali Boone from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied 6 months ago
    Hey Zach. Hmm, that’s a really good question. Not really, I guess. I just really wanted to live in Venice and I found that apartment before I thought much about the crime. I did ask the property manager and he said there really hadn’t been many problems, so I just kind of did it. There is rowdy stuff here, for sure, but I’ve never felt unsafe. I walk my dog at 2am by myself with no concerns. But it definitely isn’t for everyone.
    Liam Doig from Montreal, Quebec
    Replied 8 months ago
    Your point about data not always reflecting reality was interesting. I think that data will not accurately represent reality when you are missing something. We live in a world with extremely complex systems so often it is not possible to capture all the data to explain certain things. However, the example you gave about your apartment being in a safe area, I found myself thinking, just because it hasn’t happened to you, doesn’t mean it won’t happen to you. If I play Russian roulette with a 6-round pistol and I pull the trigger and I don’t die does not mean it is a safe game to play!
    Ali Boone from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied 6 months ago
    That’s true Liam, but in all fairness, no where seems to be safe these days. Even the most “safe” suburban areas are getting hit with the shootings and occasional Dateline episodes. But to your point, of course it’s always a possibility. But I feel no less safe here than I did in my suburban subdivision in Georgia. There’s just more interesting characters here to look at…
    Andrew Syrios from Kansas City, Missouri
    Replied 8 months ago
    Very good article Ali!
    Ali Boone from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied 6 months ago
    Thanks Andrew!
    Jason Smith
    Replied 8 months ago
    Ali, Your skepticism on data is warranted. “but I walk my (extremely un-intimidating) dog at late hours of the night, and I even stumble home late nights from bars occasionally not exactly in a position to fight off any bad guys.” I would probably refrain from writing these things, as it is very easy for someone to find out where you live if you are using your real name in your byline…. Just a thought.
    Ali Boone from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied 6 months ago
    Not sure how they would find out where I live since I rent, but fair point. I also don’t do those things every night or on any schedule, so someone may have to linger around for quite some time before they see me 🙂 And I think if someone wanted to get me because I’m me, they’d find me regardless. If someone wanted to get me because I’m just an easy opportunity because I’m walking around late at night, I can’t imagine those people are spending their time reading BiggerPockets articles.
    Jerry Maze flipper_rehabber from Portage, MI
    Replied 8 months ago
    Hi Ali! I have saved this post and also the links you recommended. I have an analytical nature as well and appreciate your take on looking at multiple sources of statistical data then drilling down to the details and support. Much like what an auditor in public accounting does. As a side note, I also lived in Venice on Thornton Ave long ago… my wife & I came over the mountains like the Beverly Hillbillies after driving from Michigan on our honeymoon and picked Venice off a map because we liked the name and it was on the beach. Ha! But, I digress,,,,, Anyway… in summary… I enjoyed the article.. it was educational and well written! Thanks!
    Ali Boone from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied 6 months ago
    You’re very welcome Jerry and thank you! And hahahaha… I love that story!! I bet you guys had quite the awakening when you got here. The place you picked randomly on the map has quite a lot going on! 🙂
    Vikram Singh
    Replied 7 months ago
    Great Article! Thanks for highlighting some important points which are often overlooked or forgotten when we get need deep into analysis.
    Ali Boone from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied 6 months ago
    You’re welcome Vikram and thanks for the compliments!