The stock market these days is not the only impersonal way to make investments. I know investors who never saw their real estate properties or shook hands with the principals involved in them.
They didn’t need to.
These were not CEOs of large corporations far removed from the day-to-day details, either, but smaller investors who used the internet to do much of their research. Some would argue that this is truly a great time to be a real estate investor for that reason.
Where to find investment properties is a critical area – for both long-time investors as well as new ones.
So where do you go using the internet route?
Trulia and Zillow are only two of the sites I am familiar with (they may be your best bets because they generally live up to their claims of many listed homes for sale by owners, foreclosures, rentals, and others). You can see the school statistics, crime statistics, comparable properties and median home values for a specific area. Trulia also offers real estate advice and market trends.
In addition to the usual information such as square footage and price, they also tell you critical information such as how long properties have been on the market.
They also offer features such as estimated home values. And perhaps best of all, they are free (which leaves you free to take their advice or pass, though I think they are worth looking at).
Perhaps the most useful element of LoopNet.com is its sales comparisons in targeted areas. You have to be a member but it’s also free.
Auction.com is useful for obvious reasons in its name. In addition to short sales, it also has foreclosures. An auction calendar is particularly useful.
Craigslist.com has than hiring news and sofas for sale and has some properties. Obviously, this is a massive site and needs some “refinements.” If you type in foreclosure, for example, you can narrow the search. You can also find other ways to be more specific about what you are looking for.
REALTOR.com has millions of listings compiled from 800 MLS databases across the US. It also has a home value tool. Other personalized tools are also available.
The most useful element of Realtytrac.com is foreclosures. Tje site covers nationwide listings and covers basic information on the subject.
Propertyshark.com is useful for property records that have owner names and addresses, square footage, purchase price and other information. It also has foreclosures. In addition to providing basic house information, It also has details about the where and when of auctions.
OK. These sites are useful. But you certainly didn’t think you could really do all your real estate investment shopping ala computer, did you? Hopefully no, this is not like buying a used book from Amazon, but you surely are aware of that. Buyer beware is still always applicable, of course.