Looking at properties to buy?

Looking to lease them out to make top dollar?

Looking to change their use and turn them into something else?

You know you need to do your research, but maybe you’re feeling stuck.

You want to do good, in-depth market research but how do you find the information you need? That’s what I talk about in this very short video:

So which are the online tools I use?

Truth is that there are a number of good online tools (a.k.a., sites) you can use to help in your market research.

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for the best cashflowing markets, so you need tools to help you find those markets. Great. Keep reading!

In this quick piece, I’m sharing the ones I use most!

Some are free; others might cost you a little each month on subscription. Here’s a short list of good free and inexpensive online tools:

Here’s a short list of good free and inexpensive online tools  – Tweet  


City Data

www.City-Data.com – As the name of this online tool suggests, it gives you market data and lots of it about the cities, neighborhoods, crime rates in those cities, plus lots of other demographics and things you need to know when you’re not familiar with the cities you are considering for buying investment properties. Crime rates are mighty important! So are schools and retail centers in the area. Want to know what the people in a city are up to in socio-economic terms? Use this online tool and you will know.




www.Zillow.com – I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of Zillow. If you haven’t you might be living under a rock. This site gives you “Zestimates” based on aggregated data and once you sign up to receive their updates, they will send you monthly valuation reports. These are just short and sweet, giving you a quick view of an area so you’ll know if it’s going up or down in value. The good thing about Zillow is that you can get pretty detailed information about cities, neighborhoods and even streets. You’ll find easy-to-understand graphics to help you determine if an area is a good market for you or not.




www.Trulia.com – Pretty similar to Zillow, you’ll find all the same data on Trulia but in a little different format. One of the things I like about Trulia is that they’ll send you updates as often as you want about different markets. For example, let’s say you’re looking at properties on the Big Island of Hawaii. Volcanoes aside, Trulia will send you good properties to look at via your email in box. Just click on those that interest you most and a full information sheet pops up with as many pictures as they can provide. If you like working with agents and brokers, you’ll have plenty to choose from in that information page. I promise that they’ll get back to you via email and phone promptly. That’s the annoying part. They’re a little too prompt.




www.Forbes.com – You can find the best areas in which to do business. You’ll find information that applies to the state and the city level. The editors rate locations on a 1 to 50 grading scale that is pretty darned accurate. It’s a good way to keep an eye on different markets so you can make the best investing decisions. The full market data per state is updated annually, so you should get into the practice of researching every year.




www.census.gov – This tool gives you a very holistic view of markets across the United States. You can drill down from the state level to the city level. While this site doesn’t do a great job updating the information, they offer very granular information based on national census data. It’s worth a look.




www.marcusmillichap.com – Marcus and Millichap has been around for some time. There’s good reason. This site is awesome! Especially if you’re a long-distance investor like me and you like a lot of solid data points so you can do your best market research. Fact is that if you use no other online tool, you need to use this one. You can find so many reports and categories of research data that your head will spin. Plus, it’s all up-to-date information. Insights are provided by top experts. First-time users are asked to complete a quick form and let the good people at Marcus and Millichap know which markets you are most interested in. That can cut your research time down a good amount!




www.REIS.com – If you’re like me, you’ll love this tool because it gives you all sorts of market and submarket data. A paid monthly subscription, this is an online tool that I use a lot. When you need information on specific markets, the growth in those markets, trends, comps and all sorts of other data points that can affect your decision to buy properties, you can find the information on this site. In fact, you’ll find incredibly detailed information. For example, you can find out about new construction and how it will affect your rental properties. You’ll need an account to do some real research, but if you click into the site right now and poke around, you’ll see the amazing amounts and types of data you can gather there. REIS is one of my all-time favorite sites and online tools. Without it I couldn’t have chosen Charlotte, North Carolina, as a great candidate for my investment efforts!!



Property Record

www.PropertyRecord.com – I haven’t used this online tool much, but it gets high marks by other users so I’m including it here. This site sells reports about properties that include estimated value, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square feet, lot size, year built and more. According to the information I read about it online, this site uses algorithms and human review to provide high quality reports, so it’s a little different than similar sites.

Like I said earlier in this article, the above is a very short list of online tools. It’s a good start, but you’ll want to find other sites and tools that will help you gather the data you need to make your best real estate investing decisions.

Keep your ears and eyes open when listening to the news on the radio or watching the news on TV. For example, if you learn that Amazon is opening a new corporate headquarters in a certain city and state, that’s a clue to you to look into that market! If you know where Tesla is manufacturing its batteries, well, that is also called a clue and you might want to look into that market.

As one of my former mentors always said, you need to become a profession information gatherer. (Yes, a PIG.) Then use the information to aide in making your best investing decisions.

Don’t forget to talk to real human beings, too. Not everything happens online. The more real estate investing-related events you attend and the more questions you ask about different markets the better!!

If you’ve been reading my articles for a while, you know I like questions.

That said, here’s my question of the day for you:

Of the different online tools I discussed in this piece, which are those you are likely to use most often and why?

Leave your answers under my video on my YouTube channel.

Oh, and here’s a link to the checklist I mention in my video:



You can also check out my latest podcasts and collaborations here keeponcashflow.com/podcasts/