Estimating Property Values – This site is 1000% better than Zillow!

I hope you had an excellent weekend!  I watched my wife’s cousins play a couple basketball

games (they are in 1st and 5th grade)… man, just watching them playing really brought back great memories from when I was a kid. 

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to just go out and have fun everyday?

Oops… that’s what I do now!  And that’s what you should be doing too!  Life’s too short to do something you don’t truly love doing for 8 hours a day.

Anyhow, back on track.

Over the weekend I was reading an ebook by Preston Ely (the self proclaimed King of Wholesaling) called “Flip Your Way to Financial Freedom: The Art of Wholesaling Houses for Quick Cash“.

I told you a few weeks back that a few readers wanted my honest opinion on the ebook before they bought it…. which I’ll probably write up next week.

Well… when I was reading his ebook (one of the most to the point real estate books I’ve ever read… no crappy filler and fluffy stuff), my pen was working overtime writing down the ideas and resources he uses in his real estate wholesaling business.

One great resource I found that Preston uses everyday is a website called:

www.realquest.com

If you’ve never been there, check it out.real estate investing

Real Quest is a tool that helps you determine real estate values, find recent sales (the same databases appraisers use), find property owner addresses, find landlords, foreclosures and pre-foreclosures, auctions, and on and on.

Their website says that it is “Used by 9 of the top 10 lending institutions“… which says a lot about the confidence these lenders have in the accuracy of the property values.

Everyone is familiar with Zillow (www.zillow.com)… and by now, if you are in the real estate industry you know that Zillow doesn’t put out very accurate values.  In fact, their values are usually WAY LOW… which means that if you use Zillow’s values to analyze a deal… you’ll likely pass up deals that are actually profitable.

Well, according to Preston and a bunch of other people I’ve talked to, Real Quest puts out values that are much more accurate than Zillow… and can actually be relied on when analyzing deals or finding information on a property.

Another big difference is that Real Quest has information on over 114 million properties… to Zillow’s 80+ million.

Here are the big differences between Zillow and Real Quest:

  • Zillow is completely free… while Real Quest gives you property values for free… but charges something like $4.99 for more in-depth property information (well worth it if you ask me).
  • Zillow is more of a novelty (to me anyway), while Real Quest is for the real estate professional looking for good quality and accurate real estate property information.
  • Real Quest is a much more comprehensive resource for real estate investors and real estate professionals.  To me, it is a great resource for finding the owners of properties I am looking at buying so I can market to them or give them a call.

Anyhow, you can take my little review of www.realquest.com for what it’s worth.  I think it’s an awesome resource that you can use in your real estate investing business to get accurate property values/comps/property information/foreclosures/etc.  

Preston uses www.realquest.com to evaluate his properties every day… and he is one of the largest real estate wholesalers in Florida. 

So, my take on www.realquest.com is that it is worth bookmarking and plugging in to your process map as a way to quickly and cheaply find property information and property values.  Of course, if you can buddy up with an appraiser in your area and pay him something like $15 or $25 for a comp report… that is another option as well. 

Either way, use something accurate (not Zillow… or your gut feeling) to determine property values before you go out and make a billion offers.

If you have any other cool tools or resources like this that you use for your real estate investing business… feel free to shoot them my way.  I’m always out to learn about new tools that can help me and you grow our real estate investing businesses.

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About the Author

Hey, my name is Trevor and I'm the founder of The REI Brain and editor/contributor. I started investing in real es.tate when I was 21... and love entrepreneurship, the internet, and real estate. My main focus today is growing my companies, systemizing my businesses so I can work less and make more, and spend more time with my family. Learn more about me at trevormauch.com.

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8 Responses to “Estimating Property Values – This site is 1000% better than Zillow!”

  1. Hey Trevor,

    Check out HouseFront, you can access similar information to realquest, but its free, and you can access it on your mobile.

    Let me know how it works.

    ~ Stephen

  2. Hey Stephen,

    Thanks for the heads up on your site, http://www.housefront.com.

    I had time to check it out… and I like what I see. It is very simple to use… very clean and clear look/feel.

    I’ll have to dig into it a bit more to see how accurate it is… but it seems to be a decent tool for real estate investors.

    One thing I would love to do is to do a few case studies w/ actual properties using Zillow, housefront.com, and realquest.com… to see which one consistently is accurate. I know realquest.com puts out pretty accurate values… but it would be interesting.

    Thanks again. By the way, your blog is a fun read.

    Cheers,

    - Trevor
    The REI Brain
    http://www.thereibrain.com

  3. Trevor, I just checked out realquest.com and it was way, way off – at least in Washington, DC. I checked my own house, and the comparables it used were in a whole other neighborhood, where the houses are smaller and much less expensive. Then I checked another area that has had a bunch of recent sales, and those prices were way low. Then I went to an address where I had just prepared a really careful and thorough market analysis, and it was way off on that house, but on the high side. I think these services are pretty useless, because they don’t have the one piece of crucial data – what’s it like inside?

  4. So then I went to housefront.com. It showed a house that has been totally restored with top of the line everything at $635,000, and the granny house next door that needs a complete redo to be habitable at $735,000. The redone house would sell somewhere in the $900′s and granny might get $650,000 on a good day. And it came in way low on the house I did the market analysis on.

    In some markets it could work, but not in a city with a lot of diversity in terms of property condition.

  5. Hey Pat,

    Thanks for letting me know your thoughts on http://www.realquest.com. That’s what our site is all about… we love it when people post their thoughts and experiences with the information we present.

    Yes, these types of sites are somewhat useless for many situations, especially for real estate brokers. Real estate brokers need very precise property values to list a property.

    As for real estate investors… these types of services (from my personal experience) are great for quickly analyzing a potential property to guage where an offer should be.

    Of course, once we get a bit further down the line in the deal… I do go out and get better comps… but these sites work well for determining the kind of offer I need to make.

    After using one of these services for a while… you’ll see about how accurate the site is… and you can go from there on your offer.

    Yep… these sites have no clue about the inside of the property, which can make a huge difference in some properties.

    As you’ve found out, there is no true replacement for a localized market analysis for a property… but in my opinion, when used correctly, these sites are a useful tool to help investors make quick decisions (when they become familiar with how the site really stacks up to your area).

    Hey Pat, thanks again and be sure to bookmark our site.

    - Trevor

    P.S. – Pat pointed out a great reason that if you plan on using one of these online services for property values in your investing business… you really need to familiarize yourself with your area and your market values… so you can tell if the estimate is in the ball park. Also, get to know the site that you use, because after a while you can adjust the estimated property value according to your experience in its accuracy.

  6. Hi Trevor, it’s David from Zillow.

    FYI; we revamped Zestimate algorithms and published new Zestimates last week. As a part of that update, we now use supplemental and corrected data supplied by homeowners and listing agents to further improve Zestimate accuracy. Zestimate algorithms now incorporate 20X more statistical models.

    If you get the chance, please compare the accuracy of these new Zestimate values with your other tools.

  7. Another great real estate resource site that I have found to be very beneficial to real estate investors is http://www.realestateinvestor.com Let me know what you guys think about this site

  8. Hey David, thanks for your update on what’s going on over there at Zillow. I did check out Zillow yesterday and do like what I see. I’ll have to do a case study to study actual properties and how accurate the estimates are.

    Zillow is the original property estimator… so I’m confident you guys will keep a great product on the market.

    Hey Donny, thanks for the info on realestateinvestor.com.

    I’ve been watching them grow over the past several months and am liking what I see so far. They are excellent as a networking and social aspect of real estate investing… however, from what I can see the actual information (other than the excellent info written by the members) is somewhat lacking as of now.

    I’ve worked with Colin and Ryan over there on the launch of their Short Sale Negotiation Service ( http://www.thereibrain.com/short-sale ) and they are great guys… have a great site so far… and I expect them to become a great resource for investors in 2008.

    If you can’t tell already, I’m not afraid to point my readers to other investing sites (technically my competitors), if they are good resources.

    My aim for The REI Brain is to help struggling and new real estate investors succeed… whether it’s from our site or not.

    Keep the comments and discussion coming.

    Hey everyone… what are your thoughts on Zillow, real quest, etc. and the accuracy of their values? Let us know!

    - Trevor
    The REI Brain
    http://www.theREIbrain.com

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