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Online tools for real estate investors. Is REI going social?

Real Estate Investing online tools

Ahh the interwebs that has all the answers if only the search query is done on the right browser with the right settings, depending on the history of the user. I remember when social media didn’t exist, and then when it was only for twenty-somethings. Then came the snapchat phase where it was teens who couldn’t disconnect. Now we are all connected and we all use it to search for  homes, estimate rental incomes, estimate property management costs, and predict returns. Which tools advertised online should a real estate investor pay for?

Bigger Pockets has an interesting appeal, its a social network just for investors. It bills itself as a learning and networking space, and sells analytic tools for evaluating potential purchases. With forums, podcasts, videos and guides, surely its possible to learn something.

To use the tools, however, you have to be a member, and you also have to have a paid account to post in the marketplace. Its hard to see how the marketplace is necessary when interested investors may already be on the mls. This marketplace is like a redesigned mls although limited to fix and flips, so it an mls specific for investors. “Does it have density where I live?” is the obvious next question. I’m not too interested in flips in Indiana. A cursory search did not reveal any listings in our zip codes.

The discussion section reminds me of advice column material with all the landlording woes you can imagine. If snippet stories and shout outs for advice are your thing, then the old standby is of course this Reddit Subgroup If you are a landlord in Rifle, Silt, New Castle, Parachute, Battlement Mesa or the surrounding areas and you want to avoid these headaches you should call Cheryl&Co Property Management.

This Mashvisor Post has links to a number of online tools that can help property investors, but they are all subscription paid. It touts a tool called Bill Guard but there are so much financial organization software on the market, most people already use something for this. SmartMove for tenant screening, electronic lock companies and e signature apps are all listed. Mashvisor also has a marketplace with listings especially for investors, and this one includes potentially lucrative AirBnB listings as well. Mashvisor claims to offer the analytics you need for their software to do the math for you. This website’s free trial is only 5 days, and a cursory search of the city of Rifle CO netted no results. With many participation based web sites, how much information available is directly related to how many other people in that area are using the site.

Paying for analytics is one of those things that one hesitates to do, if the service provided amounts to organizing data you could get yourself. So, if the question is, how can I analyze an investment opportunity, the answer is obviously, “there’s an app for that.” There is an app for estimating construction costs, one for flippers, and one for buy and holders.

The New Western wants to do your research for you as well. It is a property wholesaler which advertises it can save you the trouble of auctions, and save you from traditional agent/mortgage broker sales, by having no contingencies. Alarm bells anyone? The more due diligence is thrown out the window, the faster the closing. Then again, the processes of due diligence result in the variables used to set the pricing. So with no independent inspections or appraisals, there is no room for consumer counter offer on price. The whole goal here is moving houses quickly rather than you figuring the spread, they do, and you trust it.  Plug in the zip code for Rifle, Colorado and you come up with nothing. This is only an option for investors who want to focus on a metro area New Western focuses on.

The New Wire website has a number of tools listed investors can use. My radar always goes off when I see reference to the same tool by multiple sites. In this case I’ve seen Loop Net on several but it is only for finding and advertising commercial properties.

In the end, where is time better spent? Researching REI tools online, or connecting with local agents who have their ears to the ground? You could spend plenty of time on both. Social media and online tools can provide us with the data needed to make decisions, but confidence in the decision is tightly related to the research carried out and the promise of having it done instantly by others leaves my eyebrow raised.

Enjoy the amazing investment opportunities presented by Cheryl&Co on the Western Slope of Colorado. Cheryl and her company live and work daily in these areas and have for decades. You don’t have to go to Denver to be an investor. If you want commercial property, property to build on, townhomes to rent our look no further. Our communities are growing and so can your wallet.



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