This is a blog site. The idea is to look at the blogs to get peoples opinion and ideas from what is written publically. If you need something specific ask it clearly and envite people to respond with the full understanding that you are getting people's opinions and experiences not necessarily their expert judgment.
What discource you find here is not intensioned to be something to make a vital decision on.
I happen to be an economist with an additional business administration degree. If you want to know what is at risk of in property purchases in Vegas. Talk to the Economic Development Department, take a look at the number of days on the market. The market trends in that area are published just make sure the sorce of the information is realistic and made for reasons other than to sell you property. I have found the most realistic information is developed by the Department of transportation to help the development of roads and road maintenance. What you are looking for is the growth rate over a number of years, amount of rental housing of a given area, crime rates and the length of time the people in that area have owned their homes. If you want to buy at a discount. Look at REO's. This stands for real estate owned by lending instutions. We used to call them Oreo's like the cookie but is for other real estate owned. When you put the information you find together you need to look for trends. The reason Real Estate is always considered a good investment is because of supply and demand .. they are not making any more land and the population is growing. The problems that limit land available involves the resorces available, ie water, electrical sewage and topography. Last but not least the economic base of a given area in terms of the quantity, quality and durability of the job market. If the jobs available are poor paying and do not require education this indicates a poor job market because the population that is in this classification usually can not afford to buy homes. However, if the percent of professional people is higher than average and the length of time pepole own their homes exceeds 7.5 years the market is stable.
Next do not buy anything that is going to require a mortgage that is more than three times your yearly income and qualify for the amount before you go out looking the bank will explain the importance of gross and net after payments. The rule is that principal interest taxes and insurance = payment. that should be between 30% of your gross and 25% of your net.
Learn something about real estate and find someone that is experienced and knowledgable, but not slick or arrogant. You want someone that likes to represent buyers. The best realtors are those that are willing to work for the home purchase and in the business for the long run. If they have a number of people that they have sold more than one property to, that is a good sign. If they have bothered to become a broker, that can be positive. You can look up their name on public court records for legal actions and find out what the cases involve. A friend is a property manager and her cases are huge but they involve evictions over the years and are not for miss representation or questionable business practices. I rarely look into the better business complaints but that is not a bad idea.
As you can see this is not the easy answere you may have been looking for but is the answer that is not going to find yourself in financial trouble. One very important issue is the kind of loan you get. If you are getting a standard fixed rate mortgage you are safe. However, If you think you can do better with an ARM or adjustible rate mortgage look at the cap rate (maximum amount of interest that can be charged) and the increments that the bank can increase your payments. They ask yourself if you can pay the max. amount. if not go for a 30 year fixed mortgage and leave the ARM's to people like doctors and Lawyers that know how to handle increasing cost or have an accountant that does.
One of the avantages of home ownership is that it is a hedge against inflation. Your payments are fixed and the cost of housing is esculating. normally! the market here is messed up by keeping interest rates low and not letting them respond to demand. Bringing in securties backed mortgages was not forced to look at the over all requlations that banks are required to deal with. This was irresponsible. The market will recover but consider this a warning if you are not willing to look at this as a longterm investment don't do it. Also if you are not willing to get educated about the market and risks then you will get in way over your head.