It’s fairly easy to determine the tempo and trend of real estate activity (and the ebb and flow of foreclosures in particular) in your local county area. That’s because most county recorder offices publish a monthly, computerized tabulation (see example on the reverse side hereof) of the most common documents being recorded. Title companies, and property information services (i.e. Core Logic, DataQuick, etc.), academicians and other real estate specialists avidly collect such data to keep abreast of “what’s happening” while it’s happening. We also are keenly interested in being in the vanguard of the market’s zigs and zags.
If you’d like to get such a statistical summary yourself you might copy our simple system. Just ferret out the particular clerk in your recorder’s office who’s distributing their statistical data, via email to outside parties and ask to be added to the list. They’ll agree to give you the info since they can’t agree to send it to some parties, but not to others.
We are primarily interested in the data that indicates the trend of current real estate sales, refinancings (number of deeds and trust deeds) and the current foreclosure rate (trustee’s deeds versus all deeds). We extract that data from the recorder’s statistical summary and keep a monthly, yearly and cumulative total for the comparative analysis that we base our short-term prognostications on.
Because we focus on buying deeply discounted property that’s being foreclosed upon, we don’t have to hold it for appreciation to occur. So we’re constantly flipping or reselling our properties as quickly as possible (within six to nine months). Thus our short-term outlook colors the type of property we’re interested in buying. If the market trend is restrictive we’ve learned to focus on buying just “entry level”, single family housing. However, when the market is upbeat and expansive we know we can readily flip a much wider variety of property (lots, condo’s, move-up housing, apartment houses, vacation homes, etc.).
We endeavor to stay lean and nimble and not be saddled with property we can’t readily resell. Being stuck with a bloated, non-moving inventory saps our attention and locks up our foreclosure capital. So we exercise a lot of discipline and tailor our buys according to our reading of the current market trend in terms of pricing and marketing times.
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