Property hunting can give any real estate investor a headache. It’s especially challenging when you’re looking for a property that is out-of-area.
If you’re outside of your local market, the first tool most of us go to nowadays is the Internet: we grab our laptops or smartphones and head online to scour property listings on the platforms we’ve come to know and trust.
The top three platforms used by house hunters nationwide are Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. You’re no doubt familiar with all three! But even as you go online and start hunting around for real estate, there are a few things you might want to keep in mind.
While you can have thousands of potential investment properties right at your fingertips, that convenience can come with it’s fair share of risks.
5 Tips for Online Investment Property Hunting
Not all properties are listed.
While you made find hundreds, even thousands of real estate listings in some markets, one important thing to realize is that not all properties are listed online. Realtor.com, for example, doesn’t publish listings that aren’t on the MLS. You may not know it, but Zillow actually does publish listings that aren’t on the MLS—even properties that aren’t for sale. This can be useful for making comparisons and gathering information.
It’s important to remember that properties that are FSBO are still out there, and while they do come with their own risk, you may be missing out on potential opportunities if you only rely on the properties that are put in front of you by online listings.
Instant access doesn’t mean quicker deals.
With all of the information at our fingertips, the ability to see photographs, prices, demographics, and instantly contact realtors and sellers—one would think that closing deals and acquiring properties would be quicker than ever. Right?
While all of those things can help the process go more quickly, at least in the beginning, access to information doesn’t guarantee anything. It takes time and energy to continually check new listings to ensure that you are immediately aware of any new potential deals, and it can still take months of searching to find an ideal investment property.
Having access to information doesn’t mean the process is quicker—you still have to wade through it all and find the deals that are right for you.
Accuracy can be questionable.
We’re all on the hunt for a good deal, and we all know what it’s like for sellers to overestimate the value of their properties. As investors, we have to scrutinize the numbers of online listings and continue to remind ourselves that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. We can’t put our trust in numbers at face value. We can’t necessarily trust photographs, either!
It’s still going to take thorough due diligence to get a full, accurate picture of any given property.
Try out the apps instead of the websites.
Each of the big three online real estate platforms have apps that have unique features that we recommend checking out! REIClub recently went into great detail about these apps and their features: but know that there is an advantage to using the app over using the desktop websites. From automatically loading your phone with contact information to geo-targeting searching, there are special features you may want to check out.
Don’t rely on listings to score good deals.
Lastly, remember that real estate investors can’t rely on traditional means of home buying to get good deals on investment properties. While you may be able to get deals that way, it’s not always a reliable system. You need real-world connections with Realtors and agents who are experienced with investors and investment properties. They can’t be replaced by apps! You need to be looking to buy properties far under market value to truly profit in this business: and you’re not likely to find that in apps designed for mainstream home buyers.
And remember: you can skip the house hunt altogether as a turnkey real estate investor. Turnkey providers such as ourselves have already done the hunting for you. We’ve found the properties, purchased the properties, and now, they’re ready to be yours.