I am a new real estate investor living in Houston and do not have access to the MLS. I have not decided if I will be investing within Houston (its a super hot market right now and honestly the property taxes and Hurricane threats are a drag), but I am trying to do research on some areas of Houston to see if I can make the numbers work. My typical workflow involves going to popular websites (Zillow, Redfin, etc...) and looking at the recently sold homes in the area I'm looking at. This is usually a sufficient workflow to get a feel for if an area will work for me or not. However, the majority of listings on the just sold sections of the popular website dont have the actual sale price listed. It usually says "price unavailable. "
Redfin does report a price, but I do not believe it is the actual sale price because if you look closely on the "just sold page" it reads "last listing price" and not "sale price".
I also looked on HAR and did not find a just sold section.
I know the ultimate answer is to build a relationship with a real estate agent and use him/her to run my comparables. That is my ultimate goal. However, I would really like to at least get a general feel if the numbers will work in the areas im looking before I go through the hassle of interviewing real estate agents.
So for those of you who don't have access to the MLS in the Houston market, how do you do your comps?
You could use Propelio. It costs money, but they offer a free trial to see if you like it.
I am an investor in the woodlands surroundings, which is very close to you.
I can refer my RE agent, if you like. But what i do is to get a listing price vrs rentals of similar units, and, using tax numbers and insurance, and maintenance, try to get closer to my goal.
Then if bid price is close enough, i make an offer and get into negotiation.
Off course, having an agent helps a lot as we discuss several variables together, bit sometimes i can call her to search several units i found using this strategy
Propelio is one. Propstream is another. I like both RealAcquisitions and/or Real Estate IQ. All good stuff. You'll need to go buy a subscription but they do run promotions from time to time.
For a free tool that REDFIN feature you found is not bad. You correctly noted that it was the last list price, but you know you are close, anyway.
I think with public estimates like Zillow and Redfin should get you 90% of the way there.
When you're ready to seriously make an offer, only then would I invest the time/energy to refine the comps.
Yeah -- like you said -- having MLS access (or someone with MLS access) is ideal. I've heard a number of folks mention both Propelio and Propstream. Haven't used either in depth myself so no harm checking them out.
Lmk if you still need help with pulling comps/need a soundboard in general -- good luck!
Thanks for all the responses I have received!
For anyone interested in why real estate data is not public in Texas, Texas is a non-disclosure state (1 of about 12). That means that real estate data is not required to be released publicly (and oftentimes isn't). As a result, popular websites (Zillow, et al) have no reliable way to pull data on recent sales.
I use Lifestyles Quest which is about $70 a month I think. It's a lot, but getting good comps is vital.