This section is from the book "Practical Real Estate Methods For Broker, Operator & Owner", by Thirty Experts. Also available from Amazon: Practical Real Estate Methods for Broker, Operator, Owner.
How is one to gain the necessary knowledge? By close study of conditions as they were and now are in the thickly populated sections; by watching the shifting of neighborhoods, the increase of population and its sources, the increase of wealth and commerce and their sources and distribution; by trying to see where history should and would repeat itself and anticipate it; by studying the financing of real estate and profiting by the mistakes of others. In short, the successful real estate operator should be a veritable encyclopedia of the activities of his city, and particularly of his own section, if he is a specialist.
For example, it is evident that a wide street has a greater value than a narrow one in the same neighborhood. It affords more light and air; its capacity for handling traffic, vehicular and pedestrian, is larger. It is also evident that a long thoroughfare leading to and passing through important centers has greater possibilities than a short street, beginning at no particular point and leading to no specific place. So we find in New York that in turn Grand, 14th, 23d, 34th, 42d, and all the wide streets throughout the city and its suburbs; and Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and the other north and south thoroughfares are more or less important according to the sections they intersect; and that as a consequence, when a wide cross street intersects a prominent long thoroughfare, the junction is usually important, and the values at such a point are greater than any other in the vicinity.
But it is the value peculiar to each such intersection or neighborhood that commands study. The keenest foresight reaps the largest profits. It is not so many years ago that the corner of 34th Street and Fifth Avenue went begging, and that the wiseacres shook their heads and wondered what the Tabernacle at 34th Street and Broadway could be utilized for at the price at which it was then held. And yet to-day both of these corners are worth and would find ready sale at many times the former prices.