What’s your competitive advantage as a real estate investor?
Perhaps you have the best network in your local market, and know every contractor, every lender, every wholesaler, every other investor. Or maybe you do your own repairs, and have a team of workers at your beck and call.
If you don’t know what your competitive advantage is, you’re in trouble.
But what if you can buy a competitive advantage? What real estate investing tools are out there, that can give you a leg up over other investors?
One such real estate tool is PropStream’s investing software. Although the PropStream app is not free, it does have a free trial period to check it out for yourself before making any commitment, And the PropStream software comes with a pretty impressive features to help you find and analyze off-market deals before any other investors.
PropStream Features: What Does It Offer?
Mind you, I’m a licensed Realtor, with direct access to the multiple listing service (MLS). Yet even having access to a local MLS has its limitations. Namely, it is location specific.
What if I want to look beyond my state for “that one amazing deal?”
So, I tried out the PropStream app.
Being someone who loves to be in the know, I like me some details! And frankly, PropStream delivers on details.
It provides mortgage details, tax information and tax history for each property. Like Zillow, PropStream provides you with estimated property values and rent prices. But the data doesn’t end there.
Here are some of the statistics, trends, and analytics provided by PropStream’s real estate investing software:
- Property details (bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, etc.)
- Foreclosure details
- MLS details, as available
- Comparable property listings (sold and current)
- Tax information
- Mortgage information
- Transaction history
- Owner details
- Detailed documents and reports as they are available. And if you want premium reports, these too are available at a small per-report cost.
What didn’t I like about the property search feature? I noticed that after searching several addresses, the PropStream app can get “sticky.” I cleared my cache, and that did the trick.
Pre-Foreclosures and Foreclosures
In any given neighborhood, the PropStream software will display all homes in the foreclosure process, and in pre-foreclosure. And in many cases, will offer up more details than I have seen anywhere else.
You can then hone in on exactly where the home is in the foreclosure process. For instance, someone in the beginning stages may be looking for a quick sale at a discounted price.
PropStream also provides real estate analysis of local foreclosures:
- Default amount
- Type of default
- Last updated
If you want to delve a bit deeper, click on the address and voila! Data delight.
Auctions & Vacant Homes
Invest in real estate through auctions? Select the area that you want to invest in, and PropStream can list all upcoming auctions along with estimated value of the property, and default amount (if a foreclosure auction).
Click on the address and to find the auction date, time and location.
What about finding properties that are sitting vacant? Another avenue to identify potential sellers willing to sell low is finding properties that are simply costing their owners money, sitting empty. Instead of “driving for dollars,” track down vacant properties without leaving your living room.
PropStream includes contact details for the owners of the vacant homes, so you can reach out and make an offer. Get to them before anyone else does!
Liens vs. Free & Clear Properties
Even if a seller just wants to walk away, they can’t hand over the property if it has liens attached to it.
The PropStream software displays exactly what liens are listed on public record for each property. No waiting on the title report! This little feature, well perhaps not so little, provides the lien type and amount. Want more specifics? Once again, click on the address and lien details and there you have it:
- Creditor name
- Amount of the lien
- Date of recording
- Debtor Name
- Court case number
Useful information to know, before making an offer!
Alternatively, you can search for only free-and-clear properties with no liens attached. These property owners have the flexibility to sell for whatever they like, and may be open to a lowball offer – especially if the property is sitting vacant and costing them money.
You run searches to find homes that are high in equity and vacant. Think about the many uses for this tidbit of information!
That’s the name of the game in real estate investing: finding sellers who are willing and able to sell low.
What about estimating and calculating rehab costs?
Powered by BlueHammer, this handy-dandy calculator is a rehabbers dream. Save the property address to your saved properties (more on this later), and you can:
- Search by type of repair or rehab
- Decide on complete rehabbing or a smaller job
- Choose quality of materials
- Get estimated cost for the job
- Cost for a professional to do it
- Cost as a DIY project
*Warning: While I loved this calculator, there were some projects that I noticed were a bit off-price. Now, I am not in any way a contractor, however I am familiar with the costs of some projects as a landlord, property manager and Realtor.
For example, the estimated cost on a project to replace kitchen flooring seemed a bit low.
Among PropStream’s best features is its marketing platform.
Real estate investors can contact sellers directly by email, postcard, or ringless voicemail. You can skip trace owners who have abandoned their properties.
Best of all, PropStream can automate your list of leads for you, so you don’t have to manually manage and scrub it. After you set up your parameters, they automatically add properties to your list based on your filters, and remove outdated entries. You can even set up your account to automatically contact property owners as properties get added to your leads list.
Bear in mind that contacting sellers comes with a small fee per email, postcard, or voicemail sent. Full Propstream pricing details below.
I had a question. So, I emailed PropStream’s customer service at 3:55 PM and received an email back with a direct number to call an agent at 4:40 PM for live, personal assistance.
One more reason why I was impressed with PropStream’s real estate investing software.
Want to send out a mass mailing?
In creating a campaign, you can add recipients, send out email blasts, set up mass postcard mailings, auto-voicemails, and a feature coming soon is automated online advertisement campaigns.
Some of these items do carry surcharges, heads up!
There is not a real estate investing software app, website or any technology product without its flaws. And PropStream does come with some.
There is a bit of a learning curve, to learn the system. However, there are instructional videos, and quite frankly, I found it fun to investigate the many features. What can I say, I love playing around with real estate investing software! Everyone has their quirks, right?
While the instructional videos were helpful, it would be nice to have a search function in the Help Section. That way, I could just find precisely what I needed help with instead of browsing and viewing entire videos.
I also found the font to be on the small side. Mind you, my eyes aren’t perfect, but it would be nice if there were adjustable settings to change this.
Finally, there’s PropStream’s pricing, which isn’t negligible.
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The baseline PropStream subscription costs $99 per month. For that, real estate investors get access to national data on PropStream’s website and their mobile app. That data includes county records and MLS comps, over 120 lead filters (like pre-foreclosures, divorces, tax liens, and many others), and an integrated marketing platform.
With that platform, the marketing tools include professional postcard mailing (for as little as $0.40/postcard), automated email campaigns ($0.02 each), and ringless voicemail delivery ($0.10 each). PropStream also helps you with skip tracing, starting at $0.10 per skip trace.
For an additional $27 per month, you get access to PropStream’s List Automator tool. Based on the criteria you enter for the types of properties and leads you’re interested in, it automatically updates your list of leads for you, pulling up new leads for you daily and scrubbing out old leads. With their marketing automation tools, you can have PropStream reach out to these leads automatically with postcards, emails, or ringless voicemails if you like. The tool monitors up to 2,000 properties for you.
If you work with a team and need multiple logins, you can add team member logins for an extra $20 per month.
PropStream vs. Free Real Estate Investment Analysis Tools
You’re almost certainly familiar with Trulia already. Sort through a mixture of data, location, price-points and so forth and find listings for rent or sale.
Then there’s its sister company Zillow. A great free resource, referred to as a “real estate marketplace search engine.” Zillow will not only search, but also has a proprietary formula to pop out a “Zestimate” for any property: Zillow’s estimate of a home’s worth. While the figures are only statistical guesses, there is no exact science for estimating value anyway, right?
Along with these resources there is Realtor.com. It’s been around since 1994 and is the official website of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). And though it provides a ton of information for free to the public, it limits its best information for licensed Realtors.
Looking for foreclosures? There are many free and paid resources available to real estate investors, such as RealtyTrac. And if you are so inclined, you can even visit each mortgage lender and most have lists of foreclosures. But RealtyTrac charges for its best data.
Is PropStream Worth It?
On average, MLS fees cost approximately (drum roll please) $200 – $300 per location per year-give or take. Multiply that by 51 states, (using the low end of $200) and you get $10,200. Annually. That is a monthly price of $850.
And in most states to even have access to the MLS, you will need to be a licensed real estate broker or agent. With all the attendant courses, licenses, and ongoing education requirements, plus the legal obligation to disclose your real estate license to sellers.
At $99 per month, PropStream suddenly looks like a steal.
For active real estate investors, profits from one deal on a retnal property found using the PropStream real estate software can literally wipe that cost out. But only if you’re a serious investor!
And as real estate investing tool, it’s tax-deductible for you. But make sure you check with your accountant before deducting any expenses.
If you’re not sure whether the cost will be worth it to you, try it before deciding. PropStream offers a free seven-day trial period, for you to completely experiment with the PropStream software.
So, you can play around with it and see if you like it or not.
What real estate investing tools do you use to make market and property research easier?
Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are the authors own and not influenced by the developing company or its affiliates in any way. SparkRental does maintain an affiliate relationship with some real estate investing tools that we review, including Propstream.