Real Estate Ads: Hipsters, Dogs and Pregnant Bellies

video still from realtor.com

A still from the Realtor.com video, “Doghouse Architects.”

Videos are fun, and we’ll get to those in a minute. But first, a primer for those who need one: Real estate portals are consumer-friendly websites that present real estate listings but aren’t tied to a specific brokerage or real estate firm.

The three that are most well-known are Zillow.com, Trulia.com and Realtor.com — the last of which has the most credibility because it works in tandem with the agents, as a sort of arm of the MLS. For that reason, it’s certainly the most accurate, and usually has the most up-to-date information about who to contact if a homebuyer wants more info about the home.

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Map: Neighborhoods With the Highest Rents

trulia rental map

Last months’s national rental rates rose by 3 percent year-over-year — but not in Philadelphia. According to Trulia, the city’s rents actually decreased by .1% percent (hey, it’s something) and the city is among the top 25 rental markets in the country.

The above map is the result of a year’s worth of collected data and shows median prices according to zip code. Those colored in red are the highest, while green displays the lowest. The highest rentals appear to have clustered around Center City ($1,850) and Rittenhouse Row ($1,750).

Last July, Kwelia (which did a rental-market heat map before it was cool) named Logan Square and Northern Liberties as the areas with highest rental medians. Back then Logan Square averaged to $1,765, while NoLibs came in at $1,700. Trulia’s map says the current median for those neighborhoods are $1,700 and $1,225, respectively.

How Much of Your Monthly Income Should Be Spent on Rent?

We’ve all heard the different calculations: You’ll need to spend a third of your salary on rent. Or don’t spend more than half. No, it’s actually half of your gross, but a third of your net.

Write out a monthly budget, and you’ll still be stymied by the question of utilities (included or no?) and the inevitable unexpected, which may be an oxymoron but is nonetheless accurate.

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On the Road to Recovery or Desperation? Either Way, It’s a Seller’s Market

trulia_housing_barometer_march_2013-300x209 Real estate website and research powerhouse Trulia keeps track of the housing recovery with its complex barometric tool (left) inspired by the mechanical engineering of great weather-trackers. And the news is good–sort of.

Last year around this time, existing home sales were 10 percent below where they are now. New home construction jumped almost 50 percent last month. A 1 percent dip in the ugly stuff–delinquency, foreclosure–is also a positive. Taking all that into account, Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko inched the barometer up to 56 from 54, saying the improvement was “even better than it looked.”

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Rent vs. Buy: Which Is Cheaper in Philadelphia?

Trulia has a helpful new tool on its website that allows users to enter certain variables in markets across the country and determine which is the better bet for them financially: buying a home or renting. The news is not good for defiant, perennial renters, unless they live in New York or in California.

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