How to find comps when there are barely any?

8 Replies

I am trying to find comparable properties for a San Antonio 4 bedroom and 4 bathroom multi-family duplex and struggling to find comparables in the market.

My process is to:

1. Go on Zillow

2. Select Recently Sold Option

3. Select a recently sold period of the last 90 days.

4. Select Home Type as "Multi-Family"

5. Select 4 Bed Rooms Exact Match

6. Select 4+ Bathrooms

7. Zoom in on the area for where I want to see comparable properties

So what ends up happening is that I literally only have 1 property that shows up. When I zoom out even further, I only have 3 properties show up. But at that point, the other properties are so geographically distanced (~5-10 miles) that I think it would be unwise to classify them as comparable properties.

How do you currently get around having limited data to work with? Is this when you reach out to a local person in the market to verify comparable numbers? My goal is to be able to do this with data because people can fudge numbers - While data is hard facts.

@Matthew Metros well I think your first problem is using the zillow filters, people will mislabel multifamily as townhomes, or condos all the time, the best way I've found to get around this is to include those property types in your search and set max HOA to zero. Also using exact match for bedrooms on multifamily will never work out well, they are very often misstated or inaccurate because people don't know how to enter data properly. You could also reasonably expand your search up to 6 months ago. The bathrooms are probably a big hurdle too it is uncommon for a property to have 2bed 2bath units mist multifamily is going to be 2bed 1 bath and again people don't know how to enter data.

Well, you can do it one of two ways, say you think your place is worth $500K:

1) Usual way is to pull similar age, size, location properties and adjust or

2) Pul what you can buy for $500K and see if you can match it.

If you constantly invest in this area, my advice is to get licensed and then use the MLS to pull comps. Although keep in mind that some areas whether you have your license or not just doesn't have many comps. This gets even more complicated with multi family properties. Sometimes when the data is hard to find I go a bit higher in sold comp months so maybe I'll do 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, etc.

There are a lot of multifamily subdivisions here in San Antonio that only have 1-2 sales a year. You'll need to go back further than 90 days in many cases to find a truly comparable property. If that doesn't work, you will also need to expand your geographic area. If you're working with a local agent that spends much time with multifamily, they should be able to give you a decent idea about what other subdivisions are relatively comparable to the one you're looking at. If it's a one-off multifamily build, meaning it's not in a subdivision full of similar properties, then you'll have a much more difficult time. Running comps can be as much of an art as it is a science in these situations. 

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