Searching for Properties

3 Replies

This is definitely a rookie question, but I have been frustrated with Zillow and Trulia with not having accurate info. I do not use a realtor for me search and it looks like you have to pay for a subscription to use the MLS. I am looking at properties in the NY/NJ area. Is my best bet paying for the MLS subscription. Any advice on making the property search more streamlined would be appreciated.

Hey Paul, what part of Zillow and Trulia's info isn't accurate?  Besides their estimate of property value, which is definitely off.  Are you finding that the houses listed are really not for sale?

I don't know how your area works but tax deeds are a good source, see if you can get a list from your county.  Also, code violations, call your city's code department and see if you can get that list as well.

And there's driving for dollars, my favorite.  Just take a drive through your neighborhood, or the neighborhood you are interested in purchasing in and write down the addresses to the houses that are vacant.  Send those letters or postcards.

I personally stay away from the MLS for the most part....everyone can see the MLS and deals usually go quickly. Not to say that there aren't any...they are just harder to find.

Hope that helps...and remember, consistency is the name of the game....so keep working one strategy until you have it mastered, then move on to the next!

Hi Paul,

Its free to use www.realtor.com which is linked to the mls and updated within 15 minutes of a change on the mls.  Hope this helps, but the info from Priscilla is spot too.

How are you conducting your search? My wife and I use a combination of Redfin (my new favorite), Zillow, and Trulia. We use Zillow to scout an area, what we look for are houses selling WAY below the median for the neighborhood. Once we find one, we do a "seat of the pants" ARV and run REAL quick numbers (if I am within 10K-15K on rehab I am exctatic at this point). I use the following formula:

ARV - (Desired Profit + Purchase, Hold, and Sell+Rehab)= Max offer price. If the offer price is more than 50% of the list price, I will dive deeper. Send the listing to my agent and she will get me real ARV's with comps. Each level of inspection requires a better estimate of numbers and I keep drilling down until I make an offer.

EDIT: This is for a Fix and Flip eval...

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