Note: This post is another one in my series of ABCs of Buying, Selling and Investing in Real Estate. I pick a letter (F this post) and write a fictional advice column centered on the letter. The story is fake but the advice is real(ty).
This post is a continuation of the story found at Three Freaking Things Investors Need to Know about Real Estate in Fort Worth
Frank was an experienced investor who had called me one day asking me about anything unusual about the real estate market in Fort Worth. I told him that there were some interesting aspects of the market that he needed to know about before investing in it. He came by my office later that same week to continue the discussion. He said that he had been doing some digging into the local market and was surprised about how robust it was, getting excited by the prospects. Our discussion continued on for about fifteen minutes when Frank mentioned that he was having some difficulty finding any websites that were relevant to his business, specific to Fort Worth. He asked me what sites I use, and recommend to other investors.
This is what I told Frank…
Because of the amount of main stream press we had been receiving as of late about the hot market in the Fort Worth area, there has been a push online by many to get some relevant data sources for for Fort Worth real estate investors. Of course, I told him that he could always look at my blog for some informational articles about the market and some guiding articles on buying, selling and investing in real estate. I also mentioned our newest website, imadeumove.com, as a possible vehicle to finding specific properties. I also told him that there were numerous real estate investing “clubs” in the area that he should investigate further. They each have their own websites to use. These clubs range from social gatherings of investors to full fledged organizations where investors share deals and services with each other, being able to save money through the volume purchase of the services. DFW Real Estate Investor Club and North Texas Association of Real Estate Investors are two examples of these type of organizations. He might also want to try some of the meetup groups started through meetup.com. He can probably get some recommendations on some good websites to use from these networking groups. I did have three websites that I have used for real estate investors in Fort Worth.
1. Biggerpockets. When I was first starting out in real estate as an agent, I wanted a way to quickly connect and learn from other investors. I needed a place to network with them so I could find ways to help my investor clients. Biggerpockets is one site I found that consistently helps in both these regards. It has a wealth of knowledge about REI in general and contains various REI calculators that you can use to help analyze deals. Once you join, (I pay the $29 a month for the PRO membership, but you can have a free membership as well), you are opened up to a large network of investors from around the world. Some of my best clients have come from initially meeting on biggerpockets. Another major plus about the site is that there is a large presence of DFW real estate investors and agents. Through the forum, you can learn about the market as a whole or even ask a specific question about a deal you are considering. If you sign up for a paid account, you can also get access to the marketplace, where you can get leads on some good properties. I do several keyword alerts for area cities, which sends me an email whenever a forum post is done with a specific keywords. You can also sign up to receive all the posts from various groups. I warn you not to sign up for too many of them because you soon get overwhelmed with a lot of emails. It is a very active site.
2. DFW Property Search by Metrotex – This site is run by the local Real Estate Association Metrotex Association of Realtors. Although it is not specifically for investors, you would be surprised by the number of good investor deals you can find on the local MLS. I actually look through several thousand listings a week, digging deep into the data looking for good flips or rentals for my investor clients. I usually find 5 to 10 new properties a week. There is a niche of investors who have developed a trust for the robust legal system to purchase homes in Texas. Many of these investors find that off market properties advertisements are often misleading with contracts that look like they were drawn up on napkins at Starbucks. The advantage of using the MLS, and real estate agents, to find you deals is the risk is minimized for the real estate investor. We have legal contract forms done by a team of attorneys down in Austin and MLS listings can only be made by certified real estate agents with the state of Texas. It is a safer bet for investors and they can search up to date MLS listings through DFW Property Search. It is a nice interface that is easy to learn and you can appreciate the different degrees of search criteria you can specify.
3. Realtors Property Resource (RPR) – This last source is something only agents can access and is not available to end consumers. However, if you have an agent you are working with on finding properties, you need to ask them to start using the investor tools that are included in the website. The tool available through RPR for analyzing investment opportunities is quite impressive. You have a large number of inputs to determine cash flow on a property whether it is a good short term investment or long term investment. You can also see if it would make a good flip. Be forewarned, however, that the tool can be quite overwhelming for the typical agent so you might ask for a sit down to go over the different inputs with your agent so they know what you want out of the tool. It can be complex, but once learned it can be quite the game changer on your ability to analyze good deals.
Frank seemed pleased with my advice. He said he was already a member of biggerpockets so would modify his key term alerts for the DFW area. He liked the idea of being able to search the MLS listings through DFW property search. Finally, he wanted to sit down with me almost immediately to go over the RPR tool. He felt it could really help him with analyzing his deals.