Other than hiring an appraiser or using Zillow (which is very inaccurate) how can I get a better understanding of the value of houses that I am would like to bid on at the Sheriff's sale?
A Realtor can pull comps for you. You may also be able to get data from public records such as a PVA website however many aren't user friendly or they might require a subscription.
Do what an appraiser does. Get comps in the area, make adjustments based on differences and come up with a value from the adjusted sales value. Try a search on "determining ARV" and you'll find lots of discussion about this topic.
The hardest part is finding comp data. The MLS is the best source. If you're an agent you can get access at a cost. If not, you might be able to work with an agent and have them help you, for a fee. If neither, zillow, county clerk's records or title companies are possible sources of data. Those don't usually have seller concessions, though, if that's a factor in your area. And they aren't always up to date since recording doesn't always happen right away.
Have found there is usually a ratio from the county tax appraisal numbers, for instance one area is Co Appraisal X 1.5 = FMV so if 67k x 1.5 = 100k. It's not exact, but typically it will get you a quick guesstimate.
thanks guys. Comps are definitely the best way to go, but I'm not sure how to easily find those stats by location/area. I will try to get a realtor to work with me on that on a fee basis, maybe, but I'm constantly looking at houses and buying them and I was looking for a steady and efficient method for doing this...
Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community
Basic membership is free, forever.