I live in one of the most expensive areas of the country, Sonoma/ Napa/ Marin County, and I don't see having pockets big enough to invest in my own backyard. (No pun intended) I have an investment area about 7 hours away that I recently visited and the prices are very reasonable for a new investor like myself, but outside of calling realtors or PM's I'm trying to determine the best way to determine if this is a god area to start out investing.
I did some high level research including looking into the local economy and determined it is on the decline (unfortuneately) 2% decline annually so I'm trying to determine if this is something I should consider or pass on. I'm finding multi-family properties between $60k to 120K which is crazy given my area; so I'm leaning it consideration but recognizing my inexperience as an investor.
You really need to visit and get to know your farm area. If someone says they can accurately arrive at a value without local knowledge, they don't know what they are talking about. Drive the area, walk and talk, what's the reputation of an area, what schools are more sought, study the economics of the area, know city codes, talk to a local RE attorney, what is usual and customary there, know the settlement folks, pick Realtor's brains, attend RE investor gigs. I'm getting away from valuation matters a bit, but all these folks can give you insight to area values. Pay attention to where one defined area stops and another begins, one house away on the other side of some brick post or subdivision sign can mean thousands. Understand what influences the market and property values, start evaluating from the city then drill down to areas, then subdivisions then to a specific property.
No, valuation sites are not accurate enough to base your investment decision on. :)
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