Tip 3: Mine Zillow and Similar Sites for Data
Real estate agents hate the Zillow.com website. And I guess that makes sense because Zillow gives buyers and sellers lots of information that only agents and brokers used to have.
If you're investing in short sale properties, however, the free Zillow.com website is your friend. Zillow.com seems in many markets to provide a better list of possible short sale properties than multiple listing services. (This seems to occur because multiple listing services remove listings when the listing period expires, but a short sale property will probably still be for sale after the listing expires.) Zillow lets you easily look for recent comparable sales in the area where you're looking for investment property. Zillow gives you a rough but useful estimate of the property's appraised value. And Zillow also gives you a good starting number for the rental income a particular property should generate.
I have many friends and clients in real estate. And they can all tell you stories about how Zillow has gotten it wrong. But in my experience, Zillow regularly and maybe even mostly gets it right. Furthermore, I think the banks respect Zillow. In a short sale situation, for example, saying to the bank, "Well, Zillow says the value is $170,000..." is compelling.
Tip: The Foreclosure.com website, which is not free, is also often useful for short sale investors. Foreclosure.com tracks properties on which homeowners are delinquent on their mortgages-properties which are often great candidates for short sale investment and for which there may not be as much buyer competition.
Next Section: Tip 4: Understand Property Tax Assessments
Additional Information for Shortsale Investors
If you want additional information about how tax laws work for a short sale investment or for an individual running a business based on short sale investing, you may also be interested in one of my downloadable e-books shown below:
Tax laws provide active real estate investors with giant tax planning loopholes. A little upfront planning on your part could save you thousands a year...Read More
One of the most powerful tactics for saving small business taxes is maximizing your deductions. You can literally save thousands in taxes each year.Read More
Using an S corp for your real estate investing? To maximize savings, you need to minimize the salary paid to shareholders. But this decision is tricky.Read More