Never Use Zillow to Comp Properties

Never Use Zillow to Comp Properties

I will cut straight to the chase on why you should not use Zillow or any other online property comping tool. You only want to use the multiple listing service (MLS) which is what Realtors have access too and use to comp properties.

To comp means to run a property comparable, to take the house you feel is a good wholesale or bird dog deal and determine a value on it according sales on houses similar to it.

The reason is this, every other online comping services only use a radius or radial search of properties. Radius means circle, so from your subject house you are trying to get a true value on, services like Zillow draws a circle around your house.

The circle can encompasses areas from 1/2 to 1, or 2 miles to greater. With your house in the center of the circle.

This is all well and good except the search brings up houses which are not all in your subdivision. It encompasses other subdivisions say across a major street. Making it impossible to compare apples to apples.

The MLS can do a radius search and most importantly can do a search by subdivision only which is what you need. Subdivision searches brings up houses that are built by the same builder, in the same era, with the same housing products available at that time. Also with similar floor plans and layouts.

The lots of land are similar in size, landscaping, and appearance, grade, and location. By location meaning in a certain plot of land, whereas across that same major street the houses are built on land differently, the land had a different grade, street plan. It could have better or less than better landscaping in its commons areas.

The house across the street could be near a nice park or a pig farm making it more or less than desirable. And because you as a real estate investor do not want to get up from your chair and run across town to determine if this is a good deal or not you need to know how to run solid comps. Thus saving your precious time.

Disclaimer. If your eager to learn investing but do not have MLS access, Zillow is better than nothing. It can help you to understand the principals and theory behind the complexity of comping your wholesale birddog deals. It is how I began, until I realized differently.

The MLS is the only software of its kind that offers the subdivision search only making it the premier comping tool. With that said how do you go about getting access to the MLS so you can run comparables, then how do you run comps that are solid once you have the software, well that is another article or e-book in its self.

Happy Trails