Five Free Online Tools for the Beginning Real Estate Investor

Every Real Estate Investor today uses a computer to look for deals. You should, too. Here are a few that I like.

When I started investing in real estate in the mid-1990s, things were very different. The World Wide Web was just starting up. Most investors relied on the local newspaper to find deals. Fast forward to today and many of those local newspapers are gone. Everything is now done on the web. But there are so many options. What to choose? Here’s a list of some of my favorites

  1. Craigslist. Yes, the oldest one. Its reputation may be tarnished, but it still can be a valuable tool. I mostly use it to advertise my vacant land for sale, but I still look for properties for sale by owner, too.
  2.,, I use combinations of these sites to check the value of properties and what they are renting for. My rule of thumb (or heuristic) is to charge less than Zillow suggests for rent. Generally, >= to $100 below Zillow. I do this because tenants will check the rent, too. If you’re charging too much, they’ll know it. Greed never pays.
  3. Redfin. This site is a lot like those mentioned in the previous bullet, but it has a bonus. When you go to, click on the Buy button and there should be a drop-down menu. On the right side of that menu, there should be a heading called Buying Resources. At the bottom of that list select U.S. Housing market. This will take you to a page with data on the U.S. Housing market including supply, demand, etc. This is good information and generally current.
  4. Housing Alerts – this is a tool that I pay for, but they have a free state version for you to try. Go to to find out how to get a free state version. I use this tool to track the market in Colorado. You can get it for your state, too. It lets me see where the market is heading and is largely the basis for my quarterly Colorado Real Estate Market updates. The Housing alerts website isn’t updated as often as Redfin.
  5. – This is new and currently free. I’ve been following Reventur Consulting and Nicholas Gerl on Youtube for the last couple of years. He’s been pretty accurate on the U.S. Market Conditions lately. Nicholas is very animated. I would recommend his Youtube channel. A few months ago, Nicholas started the website. It is very useful for looking at the basic market components for investors and home buyers. Currently, there’s no charge for using the data which mostly comes from open sources like Redfin.

These five websites are my “go to” places for real estate information. Look around, you find more that fit your needs. You’ll need these websites to identify and evaluate your potential real estate deals.

Leave a Comment

Exit mobile version