Thinking about real estate investing? Great! You are in the right place. If you are considering starting a real estate investing business on your own, the first thing you obviously need (after money, I guess) is a rental property. Thus, here is a list of the most important stops along your rental property search.
Related: Top 5 Alternative Ways to Find an Investment Property
We live in the 21st century, right? Nowadays you can do nearly anything and everything from the convenience of your home or office as long as you have a computer (or tablet) and access to Internet. Well, the same holds true for real estate investors. These days you don’t even need to leave your home on your rental property search.
Of course, there is the obvious problem with any online posted information – how reliable and trustworthy is it? Lucky for you, there are some real estate property websites which are 100% legit. These include Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com among others. Websites give you numerous advantages. For example, they provide you with information about millions of available property listings which would otherwise take months to gather. Moreover, many of the listing websites offer amazing visuals not only of the actual property you are looking at but also of the surrounding properties and the entire neighborhood which will make your rental property search fully realistic. Websites are particularly useful when you are exploring options for out-of-state real estate investing because they save you some of the travel time and costs.
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Obviously, one website that you should absolutely definitely check out in your rental property search is Mashvisor. In addition to showing you thousands of actual properties available across the US, Mashvisor also gives you invaluable comparative and predictive info. Based on detailed data analysis of comparable properties in the area, Mashvisor’s investment property calculator computes for you the estimated rental income, cash on cash return, cap rate, and occupancy rate. While providing you with expected one-time startup costs as well as monthly expenses, it allows you to play around with the figures. All the data are separated for traditional and Airbnb, which allows you to choose the best rental strategy for you. Mashvisor also offers you help in deciding how to finance the purchase of your income property by allowing you to explore the effect of in-cash versus loans with various specifications on the key analytics.
Related: Financing a Rental Property: What’s the Best Way?
In addition to allowing you to search for and analyze specific properties, Mashvisor also provides you with the opportunity of investigating and comparing entire neighborhoods within a city. Let’s say you know you want to buy an investment property in Houston, but you have no clue which neighborhood offers the best investing options. You can simply go to Mashvisor and get the average cap rate, cash on cash return, and occupancy rate for any of the most popular neighborhoods. Moreover, the Mashmeter, Mashvisor-calculated score of how good a neighborhood is for real estate investing, will tell you exactly that – how attractive this neighborhood is for buying and renting out an income home, expressed as a percentage. What’s more, Mashvisor will tell you the best rental strategy for this neighborhood: traditional or Airbnb.
Mobile apps are another great outcome of modern technology when it comes to a rental property search. While most listing apps give you the same info as websites, they provide you with extra mobility, flexibility, and accessibility. You can use them on the go all the time. Some of the must-use mobile apps for rental property search are: the Zillow app, Trulia Mobile, and LoopNet mobile app. While you might think that the mobile apps will expose you to the same kind and amount of information as the regular websites, in some cases you are quite wrong. For instance, whereas the LoopNet website provides you with access to only a limited number of listings without membership, the mobile app gives you instant free access to all available listings, including some which are not listed for free elsewhere on the Internet.
Another place you can go to for your rental property search is more standard – local, state, and national newspapers. However, this source is likely to not be very efficient in the modern world. First of all, sellers are more prone to post their listing online as it will attract more buyers at a lower cost. Second, while newspapers might have the basic info about a property such as the location, the size, the price, etc., they will generally lack any analytics or interactive comparisons to other properties in the same area or city. So, whereas you can take a look at newspapers, don’t make them your main tool in rental property search.
As we’ve said so many times, networking is all in real estate investing. Being successful in this business is to a great extent dependent on whom you know and work with. Once you’ve decided you are ready to jump into your next income property, go to your network right away. Talk to your contacts, mentors, partners, previous buyers or sellers and ask them what they have available or what properties they have heard of being on the market recently. This method of rental property search has one important advantage: your contacts will be able (and hopefully willing) to provide you with inside information which will not be listed on the website or shared by the seller.
Related: How to Build and Maintain a Real Estate Investment Network
5. Driving Around
Last but not least, in your rental property search you should remember to always keep your eyes open. Sometimes the best investment property opportunities arise when you least expect them. Whenever you are driving around or even walking around, you should look out for “For sale” properties. Regardless of the benefits which websites and mobile apps offer, nothing can replace actually seeing the property with your own eyes.
Anyway, whichever method of rental property search you decide to employ, make sure to do the proper analysis before jumping into any real estate investment. Mashvisor provides you with important tools in this quest.