Where can you go to get a handle on whether your investment properties will appreciate or where the best deals on distressed sales will be next year?
How can you estimate what rents will be doing in your market next year?
How do you handle a difficult tenant who’s late on rent and keeps threatening to leave? How can you get the best service and price from a contractor?
The Internet is full of advice and information for every business, including residential real estate investing. Some of it is more useful than others. You already have a good idea of where to go to find great information from experienced investors. After all, you’ve discovered one of the very best, BiggerPockets.com. Take a stroll through the archives; there is a gold mine of information for free and the chances are good you’ll find answers to the problems you are facing in your business.
Here are some additional sites that every investor should bookmark. Each of them provides good, useful information for free. None of them are sponsored by consultants marketing Web sites, books or videos. To get you started, I’ve bookmarked a few of my favorites.
Real Estate Market Data and Trends
Realtor.com. The mega site from provides remarkably current data from the 900 plus MLSs that feed it listings. It breaks out data on list prices, inventories and time on market for more than 240 markets, giving you a picture of overall local market trends. If you are shopping for properties in new markets, RDC’s monthly reports give you a good overview of comparative market conditions.
Zillow.com. In addition to a timely monthly market report, Zillow’s in house economics staff conducts regular rent-vs.-buy analyses that help you get a sense of where the economics for renting are strongest. Zillow also conducts periodic reports on foreclosure prices and foreclosure discounts.
Trulia.com. Trulia provides current list and sales prices by zip code and monitors prices and rents on a regular basis. It also conducts a quarterly rent vs. buy report, which tracks the comparative costs of buying vs. renting in local markets to give you a sense of how competitive home sales are with renting in your market.
National Association of Realtors. NAR’s free data is almost exclusively national, though quarterly local market sales data can be purchased. It releases monthly existing home sales and pending sales, which are listings under contract. Existing home sales are six weeks old when released.
ForeclosureRadar.com. ForeclosureRadar has a terrific and current data on states and local markets direct from the courthouses, including graphs showing foreclosure starts, sales, prices and inventories by month. It is also as listing site to which you can subscribe. Unfortunately, the service covers only five Western states: Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
RealtyTrac.com. RealtyTrac’s monthly and quarterly market reports are widely used by the news media and include local as well as national and regional information on such foreclosure trends as filings, inventories, processing time and REO sales.
National Real Estate Investors Association. National REI is a trade association that has several local and state affiliates that offer opportunities for networking.
National Association of Residential Property Managers is the trade association the residential property management industry, which is dominantly multi-family rather than single family. It is an advocate for landlords and property managers on federal and state, and is a good source of information new state laws and regulations import to landlords.
Photo: Chris Metcalf