Whether you're a seasoned investor or just starting out, knowing where to find investment properties with modernized infrastructure is an increasingly expensive challenge. According to The Counselors of Real Estate, the current and emerging issues expected to have the most significant impact on real estate in 2020 are access to affordable housing, weather and climate related risks to property, and a variety of other factors that determine property valuation.
Online databases are a great place to start your property search because they allow you to query and filter properties from all over the country based on specific qualities. Below are seven websites that are helpful for real estate investment research, chosen for their relevance to different parts of the real estate economy.
Consider the ability to search for sales comparisons in a targeted area: You can type in an address or other qualifying criteria (such as price, square footage, date of sale, and/or the number of rooms) and LoopNet will provide you with a list of comps for that area. This can help give you an idea of the potential value of an investment property.
Another useful feature is the ability to search property records in a targeted area. You can search by type of investment property, owner information, tenant information, or tax information. You can also isolate your findings to show only pre-foreclosure listings or REO/bank-owned properties, which are great finds for property investors because they can be bought at substantial discounts.
You can also query the local info section. This feature gives local real estate market trends for a number of cities throughout the country.
To use many of LoopNet's features you must become a member, but membership is free. There is a paid option that gives you greater access to the database.
As the name suggests, Auction.com is a website that focuses on housing auctions. They auction all types of real estate including foreclosures, REOs, short sales, commercial real estate, luxury real estate, new construction, and land. These auctions take place online, in courthouses, or at live mega-auctions.
You can easily browse the auctions by area or by the type of property you're interested in. When you've entered your search criteria, Auction.com will bring you a list of results, as well as the opening bids on each property and the type of auction the property is involved in.
The site has an auction calendar that lists all upcoming auctions along with the number of assets to be sold, the type of asset (bank owned, foreclosure, land, etc), and the type of auction (online or in-person). There are also how-to guides that detail the proper steps to begin bidding at auctions. The first step in the process is creating a free account.
Craigslist is a relatively simple way to find properties. You go to the area of the country you're interested in finding a property, then to the "real estate for sale" section to see if there is anything of interest to you. You can type in search words such as "foreclosure" or "short sale" to try and narrow your search, and you can also type in a minimum and maximum price range. You can find some great for-sale-by-owner deals this way as well as distressed properties that have been listed with realtors.
Realtor.com is the official site of the National Association of Realtors. You can search through millions of listings, compiled from over 800 MLS databases throughout the country. You're also given the option to search exclusively for foreclosures.
Another nice feature of Realtor.com is the home value tool. It allows you to type in a street address or zip code, whereupon it will return an assessed value of homes in the area. You must supply an email address and phone number to receive the report.
You can also sign up for "SearchAssist" by Realtor.com. This service provides up-to-date listings based upon your search criteria, the results of which are then delivered to your inbox as they hit the market. Realtor.com offers finance tools, related news, and real estate statistics, tips, and guides.
Trulia.com is a user-friendly website. You can enter a location of the country for a basic search, or type in variables such as the type of property you're interested in, your price, and foreclosure status to do a more specific search.
You can see the school statistics, crime statistics, comparable properties, and median home values for any specific area you search. Trulia also offers real estate advice and market trends.
The main focus of this site is foreclosures—although they boast of having the largest selection of MLS listings, auctions, and bank-owned homes as well.
You can search the latest foreclosure listings across the country, as well as learn the basics of foreclosures. Out of the 342,034 U.S. residential properties in the foreclosure process, 14,312 of them are vacant “zombies,” which accounts for 4.18% of the nationwide total.
RealityTrac has ample information on everything from how to buy foreclosures to the latest news and statistics on foreclosures.
PropertyShark.com focuses on providing property records, but you'll need to sign up for a free account in order to access the information. Property records are useful evidence when evaluating investment properties because they contain information such as the owner’s name and address, the assessed taxes, square footage, and the history of a property's purchase price.
PropertyShark allows you to search for residential or commercial property for sale and to look up detailed information on the neighborhood and any comparable properties. This includes recent sales data, socio-economic demographics, and even the height of the surrounding buildings. The site also has extensive foreclosure listings, including vital property information (such as the amount of any liens on the property and when and where the property is being auctioned.)