When I started investing in long-term rentals, I found most of my information from books, family and business associates. There is another huge resource available for investors today; the internet. I did not use the internet much to research investing. I have no excuse, I am fairly young, I am online all the time and I use the internet to get information on almost every other subject I’m interested in. I currently use the internet all the time, but don’t make the same mistake I made by waiting to use this great resource! There is so much information online to help a rookie investor get started or a seasoned investor learn new techniques. Below I will outline some of my favorite resources for investors looking to learn as much as they can.
I stumbled across this website when I started this blog. It is an absolutely amazing resource for any Real Estate investor no matter what your specialty is. BiggerPockets.com has a great forum, a great blog and tons of information and contributors who are in the field getting deals done. I wish I would have found this site sooner, because I have learned a ton since finding this BP. I highly recommend subscribing to their blog and signing up for the forums. It is free for a basic membership. They have articles on long-term rentals, fix and flips, commercial real estate, vacant land and just about anything else having to do with investing in Real Estate.
I recently became a blogger for Bigger Pockets! Be sure to check my articles for Bigger Pockets, which cover a wide range of topics from flipping to rentals. All my articles on Bigger Pockets are linked to Invest Four More.
LinkedIn is amazing! There are so many contacts that can help your business in so many ways. LinkedIn has helped me grow my REO business, my investing business and my Blog! The best part about LinkedIn is the search engine lets you narrow down your searches to exactly what you are looking for. If you want a Hard Money lender in Alabama or a wholesaler in Seattle, LinkedIn will help you find that person. LinkedIn also has great groups that will let you advertise your wants or needs.
After I started posting articles on LinkedIn, I had a ton of people contact me regarding my investing or offering properties in their area. I not looking to invest out of my area right now, but it was really cool to see all the interesting offers come in from Puerto Rico to Africa.
Zillow is a website that lists the characteristics of almost very house in the country. Zillow also gives an estimate of value for just about every house in the country. I would not depend on the values Zillow gives since they can be inaccurate. Zillow does offer a great starting point for information on homes. Zillow also lists houses for sale in the area and estimated rents.
Hard Money Lenders
Hard money lenders can be a great resource for investors just starting out with little capital. I don’t use them personally, because of the high rates they charge, but they can be a great option for the right deal. The best way to search for hard money lender is search online for hard money lender in your state. Contact them and see what kind of deals they offer. I have listed a few companies that will lend hard money, but I have never worked with them personally. I also wrote a more in-depth article on Hard Money here.
Most online private money sources I have seen are actually hard money lenders, calling themselves private money. So far the only real private money I have found are from my own personal contacts. There are probably real private money lenders out there, but my best luck is asking people who I know personally, who have money. There are a lot of wealthy people all around, that would love to make a higher interest rate than bonds or CDs. A good Real Estate investor, can provide those wealthy people with higher returns and little risk. You can’t be afraid to talk to people about money and investing if you are looking for private money.
Local Real Estate Investor Associations
These clubs can be a great resource for deals and information. Simply search for REIAs in your area in a search engine or LinkedIn and you should find a couple good resources close by. Many of these clubs let members announce deals or needs at each meeting. Some clubs will charge and others will not. Many clubs offer discounts at box stores like Lowes and Home Depot or other benefits for joining.
If you are not a Realtor and don’t know where to start, find a Realtor. It may take some time to find the right one, but the right Realtor can teach you the market, the rent rates and send you good deals. Finding a great Realtor can be the difference between a successful investor and one who can’t get a deal. Personally I think most investors should become investors themselves and I discuss why here. If you don’t want to be a Realtor I discuss how to find a great Real Estate agent here.
A property manager can be a great source for an investor as well. Not only can a great property manager help an investor rent and manage their properties, they can provide market information and local rental rates. If an investor wants to be as hands off as possible a great property manager is a must and I discuss how to find a great property manager here.
Websites for properties for sale
Many of these sites list homes that are for sale on MLS, but that can be difficult for investors to access, unless they are an agent themselves. These sites may list every home for sale in MLS, or they may list just their listings.
Realtor.com Lists houses for sale on MLS. They are not updated as quickly as MLS, but this is a great resource for investors.
Auction.com This site auctions foreclosures off to the public. Some houses are in MLS and some are not. Make sure you do your due diligence as many times the auctions do not guarantee title and only offer quit claim Deeds.
HUBZU This is another auction site that lists homes that are sold by Ocwen/Altisource, a loan servicer. Most of the homes are for sale on MLS.
News Sources for Real Estate
I use these sources to keep updated on Real Estate news across the country.
There are many other sources out there for investors, I have discussed the things that have helped me the most. If you know of another great resource please let me know.