In a volatile housing market it has become difficult to separate the good deals from the not-so-good deals. What makes a house for sale or an apartment for rent such a good deal is the property value and what the asking price is based on that summative value? Not everyone has a real estate agent’s eye for property value so here are a few tips on quickly assessing the value of a property.

In real estate, the phrase of “location, location, location” rings truer than ever. The number one rule of thumb is to understand where the property is located. Location drives the real estate market. People have very particular ideas of where good neighborhoods are and where they are not. It is possible to have a very nice apartment for sale, or a house for rent and because it is in a difficult neighborhood it becomes a hard sale. When looking at properties, have a decent idea of the area that is being looked at. Be careful of deals that seem too good to be true, because they usually are.

Another good tip is to research the previous selling price of the property. At first, that may not seem like a quick assessment tool but it really is. If someone has a portable device that can connect to the Internet they can quickly go to the county’s auditor page and use the real estate search tool. All that is usually needed is the physical address of the property and the auditor’s search will bring up the property’s appraised value, sale transactions and liens or deeds against the property. This gives the searcher a quick tool that gives them very valuable information that can be used for negotiations or simply walking away.

The last quick assessment of a property’s value is the good old fashioned word of mouth. If driving through a particular neighborhood, stop and talk to a few people in the area. Get their take on the safety of the neighborhood, reputation of the local schools, and even the house in question. People that live in neighborhoods for a while take great pride in their residences and usually will give valuable information. While word of mouth is not a legal or even negotiation tool, it does give the potential buyer more information from which to make a sound judgment. Being well informed on a property’s approximate or appraised value gives the potential buyer the information that they will need to decide to negotiate or walk away. Use these three tips and keep searching for a good deal.