How do you find real estate 'comps'?

7 Replies

Does one need to have a real estate license to access that info readily.  Obviously, I use the real estate apps...but they tend to not list a price that a property sold for.  

@Denise Smith

welcome to the site. If you contact a local Realtor they would be able to provide those for you.

Josh here. I'm a newer buy/hold investor in the Atlanta area. Finding comps takes a little digging, but I have found I can do this without the help of a realtor. Any one app falls short, but the combination of apps can be yield some realistic data. I use a combo of Redfin, Zillow, FindCompsNow, HotPads, and Rentometer to put together an initial list of recently sold properties and rental rates.

Just as powerful is the often-overlooked resource of public records that are readily available online. In Atlanta, all of the counties have online portals with amazingly useful property data.

All the information you need is out there, but it needs to be assembled from multiple sources to gain a reasonably realistic picture.

Hope it helps. Cheers!

Originally posted by @Joshua Feit :

Just as powerful is the often-overlooked resource of public records that are readily available online. In Atlanta, all of the counties have online portals with amazingly useful property data.

All the information you need is out there, but it needs to be assembled from multiple sources to gain a reasonably realistic picture.

Hope it helps. Cheers!

I agree that a combination of sources is best, especially if you don't have access to the agent level MLS data.

Ideally you want the house next door, that is the same model/layout with the same size(and desirability) lot to have sold last week.  However this is rarely the case.

In most locations starting out with the same zip code makes sense.  Then if you can match the schools up, you are starting to get in the right ball-park.  

If you have enough data to match up style - colonial vs. colonial, split-level vs. split level, I would do that next.

Then look at bedrooms/baths.  One thing that is especially important for appraisals is above grade vs. below grade.  The market discounts below grade square footage, but appraisers can discount it even more.  

Look at square footage in general.  If they are close estimate an adjustment, if they are close you may want to exclude them.

Then look at the lot - both in terms of size and desirability.  A flat 1/4 acre lot on at the end of a quiet road will be a lot more desirable than a hilly one on a busy street.

I would prioritize:

recent solds

under contract

on the market(discount significantly if on the market a long time)

older sold properties

  

@Denise Smith

Hi Denise. One of the best sources for comps is the MLS. Licensed agents have ready access to this information. The trouble with relying on an agent to run your comps is the fact that an agent is looking to work with a client who will work with them on a purchase or sale. The agent is compensated on the close of a transaction. Unless you are planning to employ the agent, you are essentially asking the agent to work for free. That is the reason many investors find it difficult to obtain comps from agents.

Fortunately, there are alternative ways to get sold comparable information. You can purchase the information you need. You can also get a real estate license.  I can recommend sources to purchase comparables at a reasonable price. 

To be in control of your business is a worthy goal. When looking for help with anything, keep in mind that it is the act of giving that brings things to you.  Offer something of value to another person and you will receive something of value in return. 

You can find all comps on redfin or zillow or even ziprealty, yes past purchases, just to start off with. Unless you're doing a BPO, for regular ball-park estimates within +- 5%, these sites are just awesome. We're running about 800,000 CMAs every day, I can't even imagine putting real person manpower behind that :).

there is another way to go. If you find a realtor you like and would consider working with them, ask them what it would take to allow you to be their assistant. Legally it allows you access to the mls (you have to take some classes) and for the realtor it is a win/win because you are doing your own legwork. 

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