30 Real Estate Fundamentals

While everything changes, most things stay very much the same.


Here is a checklist of 30 real estate evaluation fundamentals that never seem to go out of style:

  1. While the actual home matters, what do homes around this one look like? Are they improving? Neglected? Well maintained? Consistent? How a property is located within an area, building or block matters as much as the city/town/suburb.
  2. How convenient is the property to the things that matter to you and others? Selfish needs are important. The needs of others - for resale value down the road - may be as important to maintain valueIs the area growing/improving, or in decline?
  3. What is the quality of life outside the essentials of shelter?
  4. Are the views/exposures protected? Could the views be enhanced?
  5. What are the noise levels?
  6. How much light does the property get? Could it be improved? Is there too much light? Is the light blinding or livable? The strength of the sun is changing, and what was once super-desirable may impact health.
  7. How well is the town/city/suburb managed? What do their financials look like?
  8. Quality of education. What sort of schools, colleges, and other educational facilities are there for people of all ages?
  9. Demographics: is the population aging? Is it attracting a younger audience?
  10. What sort of jobs is the area creating and maintaining? How reliant is the area on one or two employers? (Some corporations are notorious for packing their bags once local incentives expire.....) Is the tech sector expanding in your area?
  11. How safe is the area, block, building? What is the history of crime?
  12. What is the quality of local utilities? Water quality? Sewage systems? Electrical supply and costs? Garbage/litter collection and management?
  13. What pollution levels will you be exposed to? Air and water quality matter.
  14. What options exist conveniently for you to enjoy in your spare time? Parks? Shopping? Sporting facilities such as golf, tennis, swimming, etc? What is their cost to you?
  15. Rate the access to healthcare facilities? Are there good hospitals close by? Doctors? Dentists? Specialists?
  16. What is the quality of food and produce? Restaurant options?
  17. What cultural options exist close by? Museums? Art galleries? Theater? Opera? Symphony? Live Music? Musicals?
  18. Quality of technology infrastructure? Do you get quality and consistent broadband and cellphone reception?
  19. How prone is the area to natural disasters and how well equipped is it to manage them? Floods, fires, storms happen almost everywhere. How close is your nearest Fire Department? How does local law enforcement rate?
  20. What is the quality of vegetation/landscaping in the area, surrounding the property, and on the property? Is there a sufficient water supply to maintain this?
  21. What is the quality of eldercare? No-one escapes aging.
  22. How high is unemployment in the area and the reliance of the population on government support?
  23. Does the area have religious institutions that matter to you? For some, walkability to a synagogue or church matters.
  24. Can you buy what you need relatively close by without ordering everything online? If you are reliant on delivery, what quality of delivery services exist?
  25. Transportation-wise, rate the public transportation, roads, traffic, access to airports (how many direct flights do they service?), railway stations, etc.
  26. What is the infrastructure for parking. Some town's retail areas suffer due to lack of parking and mismanaged congestion.
  27. What are local taxes and what exactly do you get for them?
  28. How easy/difficult/expensive/fast/slow are local building departments? The less efficient they are the less business will be attracted to the area.
  29. Rate the weather. Different people find different weather attractive. Some are more affected by weather than others. For some, living with snow (or heat) is a dream yet for others it's a nightmare. Rate weather year-round.
No place or property is perfect. What matters to some does not matter to others. Yet the fundamentals truly matter. The more you get on this checklist, chances are the more insulated you will be long-term. Remember, this is just my list. There are many more considerations. If you can help your clients address all these issues with substance and accuracy, chances are you will never be replaced by an algorithm or discounter!

Credit to Leonard Steinberg, Compass