Navigating real estate trends requires a combination of research, flexibility and strategic decision-making. By staying informed, utilizing the right resources and building a support team, you can unlock the door to your dream home.

Real estate market trends can vary by region and even within neighborhoods. By paying attention to shifting economic factors like mortgage interest rates, you can gain a better understanding of how to navigate current real estate trends.

1. Read Local Newspapers

One of the best ways to follow local news is to read your local newspaper. You can find them at your local library or online. However, these days most newspapers have paywalls and you must have a membership to access them. You can get around these paywalls by utilizing your public library card. Ask KCLS has information on how to access newspaper databases remotely with your public library card.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to read a whole newspaper, start by skimming the headlines and pictures on each page. The front page is considered the most valuable “real estate” and editors reserve it for big stories that have a strong impact locally or nationally. Then read the headlines on each of the other pages, including the business section and the money page.

Locally focused newspapers make up a significant portion of the journalism ecosystem. They are an important source of original reporting that holds local governments accountable and informs the community. They also frequently feed into national media outlets for discussion about issues on a larger scale. For this reason, Pew Research Center researchers reexamined data included in the State of the News Media newspapers fact sheet to assess the health of locally focused U.S. newspapers separately from four publications that have large nationwide audiences and thus tend to overshadow their local peers in the overall statistics.

2. Visit Open Houses

The internet has made the home-buying process much easier, but many buyers still choose to visit homes in person. This can help narrow down their list of potential houses and make sure they’re getting a complete picture of the neighborhood before making a purchase. It also can condense the home-hunting process, since they’ll be able to view multiple homes in one day.

Real estate open houses are often advertised on real estate websites. But it’s important to be clear about your intentions before heading to an open house. If you’re just looking for a place to rent, it may not be the best idea to visit homes in this market. If you want to buy, it’s helpful to have a seasoned pro real estate agent on your side to navigate the incredibly competitive and often high-priced housing market.

If you’re going to an open house, you can ask the listing agent about recent renovations and other pertinent details about the property. It’s also a good opportunity to test out things like appliances, lighting fixtures and more. You can even get a sense of how well the home is maintained, which is crucial to future resale value.

Besides visiting open houses, you can keep up with the latest trends in the real estate market by following local news and online blogs. You’ll find that a few sites have great information about the market and current inventory, including BiggerPockets and Parkbench. You can also check out sites that provide info on real estate agents, vendors and other industry professionals in specific neighborhoods. If you’re tech-obsessed, the Inman blog is a good place to start for insights on real estate technology and the biggest real estate agencies in the nation.

3. Talk to Real Estate Agents

When choosing a real estate agent, talk with them about your unique home buying or selling story and how they might best approach your specific situation. This can help you determine if they have the right level of experience and expertise to guide you.

Also, make sure to ask agents about their past performance. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell your current home, an agent’s track record can give you some insight into how well they work with clients. Ask about the types of homes they sold in your area, how long it took them to close sales, and what type of buyers they typically serve.

You can also learn a lot about an agent by the way they communicate with their clients. For example, if they’re comfortable answering questions via text message or email, that might be a good sign. It’s important to find a real estate agent who will respond quickly to your needs and concerns. For instance, if you are juggling appointments with inspectors and mortgage lenders while at work, you don’t want an agent who takes too long to return your calls.

Another great resource for keeping up with real estate trends is following industry news and blogs. For example, the New York Times’ real estate section has everything from local market analysis to think pieces from industry experts. Another great site is HousingWire, which covers mortgage rates and government policies that impact lending and real estate. They often cover how tax incentives, deductions, and subsidies can boost or hinder demand.

4. Visit Multiple Listing Services

Multiple listing services allow real estate agents and brokers to share property listings with each other. This makes it easier for home buyers to find homes on the market. While the MLS may seem outdated with the advent of massive real estate websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin, it’s still one of the best ways to find out about properties available for sale.

Real estate agents who want to sell their properties list them on the MLS so that other real estate professionals can access them and show them to clients. Some agents participate in multiple MLS databases to cover more geographic areas.

MLS listings usually include detailed information about the homes, such as photos, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the square footage, and the price. The information is usually updated in real time as a home seller or buyer submits a change to the listing. A real estate agent will use the data on a property to perform a comparative market analysis, which is a report comparing the selling prices of similar homes in the same area.

Aside from a local MLS, home buyers can also use online resources like Parkbench neighborhood marketing platform and BiggerPockets to learn about homes on the market in their area. These websites are free to use and provide information on local real estate listings. They can also help you identify local real estate trends and news. They can also provide tips on how to calculate mortgage rates and search for a real estate agent. You can also sign up for a newsletter from a real estate company to stay informed on the latest developments in your area.

5. Look at the Current Inventory

Buying or selling real estate can be an emotional endeavor, especially if it’s your first time. To avoid buyer’s remorse, it’s crucial to do your research and follow the news. Here are a few ways to stay in-the-know:

One of the best things you can do is check out local real estate listings online. See listings here to get a comprehensive view of available properties in your desired area.

Another important factor to consider is the state of a housing market’s inventory. This can be determined by looking at how many months of unsold inventory there are currently on the market. A higher number means a seller’s market, while a lower one favors buyers.

Aside from looking at home prices, you should also keep an eye on mortgage rates. This can have a huge impact on the cost of owning a home. When rates are rising, it’s usually a good idea to wait until the market stabilizes.

In addition, it’s important to look at the overall health of a local economy. This can be determined by looking at a variety of factors, including job growth, population density, and educational opportunities. Having a strong local economy can have a significant impact on the demand for housing in an area.

If you’re thinking of purchasing a new home, be sure to sell your current one first. Low home inventory can make it difficult to find a suitable house, and you don’t want to end up paying two mortgages at once! This is especially true if you’re planning on moving to a different city or state.