Finding Good Deals on Zillow and Loopnet

14 Replies

So I am new to the Bigger Pockets forum and community, but like many of you it has been amazing to see the resources and education available. I'm young, 23 years old, and looking to invest by the end of 2018. I've been doing my best to analyze in markets that I know -- Arizona, Utah, Missouri, Kansas, and South Carolina, but my deal analysis has been limited to using Zillow. Is this even a worthwhile resource? I've heard on many of the podcasts that speed is of the essence in finding and buying good deals. I suppose that a possible avenue is finding neglected deals where owners may be willing to go down in price since the single family home has been on the market for so long.

An example deal I've analyzed in South Carolina:

Sellers are asking 35,000 dollars for a two bed two bath duplex, 1064 square feet.

The unit in question is supposedly already rented for 425 a month per side, is in a C class neighborhood and may need some work. 

On paper it seems like a great, if small deal. I have family in the area who could help with repairs and possibly even property management, although I would like to factor that in from the start. Is it worth it to deal with properties like this, or is the potential cash flow not worth the hassle of dealing with the area and potential tenants?

Glad to finally get my start on Bigger Pockets!

@Joshua Huston You have to start somewhere. many investors start with inexpensive class c fixer uppers, make some cash, cash flow, and grow. Many will move on to class b and even a as they are not as willing to do as much work once the REI investment portfolio gains traction and value. I have purchased 3 properties under $100k in AZ this year. Many won't bother with deals this small but for me, it makes sense.

Finding and analyzing deals is the name of the game so while zillow is a resource it shouldnt be the only one. You want to check out craigslist, KSL in Utah, the MLS, and anywhere else properties are listed.

I think C class stuff is great to get your feet wet and get experience. It also give your the chance to put in some sweat equity. 

@Anissa Hernandez We rehabbed one and rented, inherited a tenant in another, flipped 1 and currently rehabbing 2 for flips. Ideally we want to grow our portfolio but with the given appreciation in prices it is harder and harder to cash flow on rentals so we flip to build our cash on hand.

Thank you for sharing.  I have been looking at different homes to start my first deal. I want to do flips and also rehab and rent the homes.  I'm just stuck on if I should do a rental first or just try and do a flip first. 

Wow, way too many markets to have any focus. Thinking your family and friends are going to fix up and manage your properties is newbie mistake #1. Who cares where they live. Invest where it makes sense and don't buy real estate expecting to give your relatives more stuff to do. I'm sure they're busy already with their own lives.

Pick one market and focus on it. Learn it inside and out. Know what the rent difference is between a 2/1 and a 3/1. Learn where the good schools are. Where the better stores are. Where crime is more rampant. 

I invest in basically 2 cities in my market. You're looking at 5 entire states. 

Oh, and Zillow sucks. It is only good for rent rates in my market. Their algorithm for determining value is horrible.

bad idea #1 Expecting relatives to hold up their end of a deal. bad idea #2 Starting in a class c neighborhood bad idea #3 long distance landlording without a professional that's three strikes.

I agree with @Joel Warner not really a good idea to have your first deal as a long distance, anything can go wrong and will go wrong especially in a class C area.  Do something small in your area to get your feet wet is the best to learn from, it can be a Class C but as long you are near you can handle it.  Good luck

This is fantastic. You are all right, I was just spouting off places that I know well, but I've been narrowing down my focus just to my hometown of Yuma AZ and Columbia South Carolina, trying to do as much deal analysis as I can. I set up Zillow to alert me to every new listing in the area, and called several realtors to talk about housing prices as well. I think it would be a better idea to get some parameters set up for an MLS email alert.

As far as the Zillow estimates, what would be the best option for gauging a home’s true value? Learning how to appraise a house yourself? Asking a real estate agent? 

Hey Joshua, Columbia is a great place to invest. The best way to gauge home values would be to find a real estate agent in the area who focuses on REI imho.

 Also, for Richland County a new beta website that has been invaluable to me is richlandmaps dot com. Basically the Richland property evaluation integrated with Google Maps, it is amazing. They also have a "comps" feature that seemed a little buggy, but insightful none the less.

If you need any insight on the area lets connect! I've been here since 2005 and know alot of the places to avoid.

Hi @Joshua Huston . Just something I thought of, not directly related to any of your questions, but you mentioned that you are using Zillow. I have alerts set up on Redfin for the areas I am interested in. I am also set up to receive MLS e-mails from my agent, and the Redfin alerts consistently beat the MLS alerts to my inbox by about a half hour. Maybe 25 or 30 minutes isn't much, but you never know.