To be a successful real estate investor today, you must be aware of the new technology especially when it comes to the Internet. As the Internet presence grows, so do the amount of resources you can use to grow your business. Using these resources can help educate you, save you time, and expose your business to a lot of people. Now, there are many real estate investor websites out there, but how reliable are they?
One of my favorite real estate investor websites is www.zillow.com, but you must understand how to use it before you say the numbers are off. This site will give you a lot of information including property values, location and similar sales. I've asked a lot of real estate investors out there what they thought about this site and most of them have told me that the numbers were off, so they stopped using it. This was sad to hear because just like any tool, you must learn how to use it before you can see results. Lets review some of the basics for zillow.
Real estate investor websites like zillow use the cost per square foot sold to give property values. The more homes sold, the more accurate the numbers will be. Let me give you an example of what I mean.
Property Value Example:
You want to determine the average cost per sqft. Pull similar sales from zillow. Remember, the similar sales properties need to be similar to the potential property. The same square foot, bedrooms, baths, location, and date sold. Don't pull similar sales from 6 months ago as the market seems to change on a monthly basis.
Take 4 Similar Sales (Minimum)
Comp 1 – Sold Price divided by Square Foot = Sold price per square foot
Comp 2 – Sold Price divided by Square Foot = Sold price per square foot
Comp 3 – Sold Price divided by Square Foot = Sold price per square foot
Comp 4 – Sold Price divided by Square Foot = Sold price per square foot
Take these 4 numbers (Sold price per square foot), and add all 4 numbers. Then divide these numbers by the total amount of comps (In this example 4), this gives you the average cost per square foot sold. Then multiply this number by the total square feet of the potential property your interested in. This should give you the after repaired value (ARV) for that property.
Now, there are several real estate investor websites online that can help you determine your after repaired value. We are using zillow as an example for this article. You can google many of these sites but keep in mind that determining the ARV is the most important number when calculating an offer. The ARV is what the home should sell for when you are ready to sell it. So you must know what it's worth before you buy it. You make your money when you buy and realize your profit when you sell. Never forget this!
Now you may be thinking that these similar sales are off. They could be? Let's say that back in 2005 these homes sold for $500K and there have been no sales since then. Zillow would say that the homes are still worth $500K because nothing has told it differently. On the other hand, lets say there have been some foreclosure sales, then zillow would adjust those numbers which could bring down the values. Zillow also takes a radius of homes so if there are condos across the street, these values may lower the values. Always be sure that you are pulling the properties that are similar so you will have the most accurate numbers to determine the properties value.
Here Are Some Tips When Working With Real Estate Investor Websites:
- Never rely on any one source, use multiple sites and compare.
- Only pull the similar sales of homes that are comparable as far as size, style, bedrooms, baths, lot size, date sold and location.
- Use a minimum of 4 similar sales when calculating property values.
- The After Repaired Value (ARV) is the most important number when determining an offer.
- Use the Internet for resources to help start and grow your business.
- Use these guidelines for any real estate investor website.
Pulling property values are extremely important in order to make an intelligent offer. You can always use a Realtor for these numbers, which may be more accurate because most homes sold, are sold through the multiple listing service (MLS). You can also use real estate investor websites to find tax values, power team members, owners phone numbers, repair costs, business plans, marketing idea's and education. So create a bookmark with your favorite sites and start exploring all of the resources available at your fingertips.