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I am thinking about getting into RE this year (as a place of residence). Before I get into anything, I try to do as much research as humanly possible though. So I am wondering how I would do research on these 2 topics:

- If I'm interested in a particular area, how would I find out the price history for a particular style of unit in that area? MLS doesn't appear to have an archive of previously sold homes.

Example: If I am interested in 1-bedroom condo's in the Davisville neighborhood in Toronto, I can see on MLS that the current market has them going for $240k to 250k. How do I find out how much those units cost a year ago, or 2 years ago, 3 years ago?


- The media says it's a buyer's market. How do I find out how much of an advantage are buyers really having? i.e. if units listed at $250-260k are actually getting negotiated down to 230k-240k how can I confirm that?
This is particularly relevant to me (for example) because while 260k is not viable for me, 240k is.

Thanks
 

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I am thinking about getting into RE this year (as a place of residence). Before I get into anything, I try to do as much research as humanly possible though. So I am wondering how I would do research on these 2 topics:

- If I'm interested in a particular area, how would I find out the price history for a particular style of unit in that area? MLS doesn't appear to have an archive of previously sold homes.

Example: If I am interested in 1-bedroom condo's in the Davisville neighborhood in Toronto, I can see on MLS that the current market has them going for $240k to 250k. How do I find out how much those units cost a year ago, or 2 years ago, 3 years ago?


- The media says it's a buyer's market. How do I find out how much of an advantage are buyers really having? i.e. if units listed at $250-260k are actually getting negotiated down to 230k-240k how can I confirm that?
This is particularly relevant to me (for example) because while 260k is not viable for me, 240k is.

Thanks
In my opinion, the best way to get information for your area is to find an agent to get it for you. As a buyer, a real estate agent is free as their commission is covered by approx. half of the sales commission.
 

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I'll 2nd the 'get an agent' mentality - just make sure you negotiate with them, and try to have them 'refund' some of the commission - many people are willing to do this.

>>"Example: If I am interested in 1-bedroom condo's in the Davisville neighborhood in Toronto, I can see on MLS that the current
>> market has them going for $240k to 250k. How do I find out how much those units cost a year ago, or 2 years ago, 3 years ago?"

In Calgary, this is all public information. The property tax is based on home values, so they keep records of all sales, and determine market valuations by comparing similar units in a community. You simply have to find comparable units.

>>How do I find out how much of an advantage are buyers really having? i.e. if units listed at $250-260k are actually getting
>> negotiated down to 230k-240k how can I confirm that?

MLS DOES have all this info. Every time a house is listed, or the listing is changed, it is recorded by MLS. A good agent should be able to pull the history of that particular unit - or again, comparable units in the area.

What we did was to determine a 'fair market value' based on comparable units in the community, then find out what houses were closing at relative to the initial listing price - so at the time say 5-10% below list price (i.e. sellers were willing to take offers 5-10% below list price). Then we considered how long the unit had been on the market (a possible indication of 'desperation') - and made an offer that fell within our comfort zone.

You can do this all on your own, its tough, so get a GOOD agent.

Good luck! and happy house hunting.
 
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