Trying to learn via automation.

7 Replies

I'm interested in "buy and hold" investing. I wanted to code my own web app that will 

  • Look up listings across the US or area i'm interested in
  • It will cross reference the crime rate and other data
  • It will also look at craigslist rents to see if the area meets the 2% rule

As you can tell I'm shooting off the hip  with the data to incorporate.  I'm new to all this and I don't know which pieces of data can help best filter my decision.

P.S: If anyone knows a good sites with an API that has data to work with, I would much appreciate it.

@Lulli Debrosse

This is just my opinion, so take it with a grain of salt, since I don't have the full scope of the data sets you'll be looking into, but I'm also employing automation/AI/Machine learning to locate fire damaged properties, nationwide, so I'm speaking from the point of having looked at crunching data on a large scale. 

The thing with this approach is that, as you're aware, RE is local; sometimes, very granular, and the amount of time you would have to expend considering, first to see what data sets you'd need to collect, then figuring out how to interpret that data, I believe is not the best use of time. 

I have a programmer friend who's also looking to launch something using automation, nationwide, but since there's no congruency in RE data across the county, or even from city to city, the hurdles you'd have to over come can be daunting.  

It may have some merit down the road, if building the infrastructure to do something like this supports the validity of having scaled something to that level, which then can be used for multiple purposes, including but not limited to locating the best buy & hold assets. However, if it's for personal use, and depending on your time line, initially I would stick to markets you know, or interested in and get to know that area and run numbers based on your criteria.

Automation is like an assembly line. It works best after the process has been streamlined; then you can scale. 


As a developer this is a pretty interesting idea, but I think it would be difficult due to the fact that as @Johnny Kang is that RE is pretty local. The best thing that I could really think of that you could do is to access the MLS. Unfortunately there is no public API for the MLS due to the fact there is no nation-wide MLS but more local MLS information. Your best bet would be to hit a third party API that does the majority of the work for you. I think Zillow is the only one that does have a public API that you can hit. Then it's more refining and shifting through the data to see which properties fit your criteria, and if a property does you can then get the neighborhood data and just keep refining and shifting through your data and see if any actually fit.

@Johnny Kang and @Benito Sifuentes what about doing it via crowd sourcing? As an example not a business idea... We provide a app that offers credit towards rent to tenants. With that app we would also get ratings from those using the app for things like area safety and make it easy to post an event that happened (like a house fire.) We can just funnel all the info for particular areas into a database. With that we can try to figure out which areas that "buy and hold", flip, etc... opportunities are.

Sorry if its vague, I'm just trying to see what your thoughts are on possibly getting something like this done.

@Lulli Debrosse

Crowd sourcing is something that's been gaining traction in many different fields & applications, so there might be something there. Too early to tell.

A common hurdle to overcome, regarding using data/automation, is trying to figure out how it fits into a usable, real-world application, whether it's commercial or not. 

Only way to find out is to do a lot of testing to see if it's something people want. Start small, then cover larger areas, data sets, and other variables. 

@Lulli Debrosse, the book " the automatic millionaire" has some good ideas in automating your business in setting up recurring pay dates, to taking rent money and deposited directly into your account. That book has a lot of insight, and I also am new to investing learning that systems really make the difference in a business that is successful and one that is not.

@Lulli Debrosse I check Craigslist and Zillow rents for my target type of property. I currently do that manually and it takes 30 minutes once a week. I log rents in a spreadsheet so I keep up on rent valued. I would love it if there was a way to automate it. As far as deal analysis, there are spreadsheets and easy tools to analyze this. Interesting idea, but I would challenge you to make sure you are not so hung up on the wep app that you never get around to investing.

So you want to crowdsource for information for markets. My question would be how would you be able to get enough data from a particular market? That becomes a bit harder because now you have to reach out to property managers or owners to have them tell their tenants to participate in your app and then you would have to pay the owner or the property manager money to give them as "credits" right.

Your best bet if I was planning on doing something like this is to utilize resources that are openly available to you through free APIs so you don't have to worry about paying anyone. There are plenty of sites ran privately and by our government that gives you city data. I would hit them for each market you're interested in and then aggregate them into a single data source that you can view and determine if that market is worth investing into.