Must-Have Tools for Real Estate Investors

May 18, 2021 | Erin Behan

Don’t travel your real estate investment journey alone. Instead, rely on these real estate investment tools to support your business. 

Today’s real estate investor shouldn’t be operating in the dark. There are plenty of real estate investment websites, books, forums, and more help available for the motivated investor. Use them to gain knowledge, share and trade ideas, and grow your business. 

Tools for real estate news, analysis, and advice

No matter if your real estate investment strategy is buying properties for passive rental income or buying properties to renovate and resell, you need to have a deep understanding of the real estate market.

Stay current on real estate news.

Local is everything in real estate. But the larger trends in the U.S. housing market, mortgage industry, and other related industries are important to keep up on too.

  • HousingWire publishes news on a slew of topics related to U.S. mortgage and housing markets.
  • MarketWatch has real estate content that focuses on the state of the economy. Look for the latest on the stock market, financial, and business news.
  • Realtor.com posts estate news on everything from interest rates to home building.
  • National Real Estate Investor focuses on the commercial real estate sector.
  • Bigger Pockets Blog offers insights into real estate investing and personal finance.
  • Roofstock Blog looks at trends, market data, real estate investment strategy, and more. 
  • Mashvisor Blog posts content around long-term rentals, short-term housing, and real estate trends in the U.S.

Post and learn on real estate investment forums.

Learn by doing, yes. But before you roll your sleeves up, jump into a real estate forum like BiggerPockets. There, forums are organized by topic, from landlord tips to property rentals. The online community of real estate professionals, ActiveRain, can be a good resource — especially the Q&A section. Then there’s Reddit’s freewheeling Real Estate forum

Get the lay of your local real estate market with listing sites.

To understand what’s happening in real estate, you need a strong understanding of what’s for sale or rent, at what price, and how fast things are moving. Have an intimate knowledge of the local market by checking in at listing sites, such as the MLS, Zillow, Realtor.com, and Apartments.com. You can get tailored cheap investment property listings at Foreclosure.com, Auction.com, and sites that list for sale by owner homes. These sites also help you come up with real estate comps, so you know what homes you’re interested in investing in are worth.

Tools for landlords

Running a rental business as a landlord means managing a lot of moving parts (and people!) and staying up on the latest landlord-tenant laws. You’ll need to figure out how to rent out a property and may have to deal with sticky situations like evicting squatters.  It helps to have resources and tools on your side to get the work done.

  • Landlordology, part of Cozy and Apartments.com, offers a collection of articles, rental tools, and property management software.
  • Zillow Rental Manager gives landlords an all-in-one platform to handle rentals, from posting listings to tenant screening to collecting rent.
  • Rentometer lets you see how your rental charges compare to that of nearby rentals.
  • American Apartment Owners Association is a landlord association. It provides plenty of helpful resources including a state-by-state overview of landlord-tenant laws.
  • Nolo is a clearinghouse for straightforward legal advice on a variety of topics, including landlord related ones.
  • Property management software, such as AppFolio can help you track the business side of rent collection and more.
  • Be sure to have your own property investment lawyer—there’s no substitute for personal advice.
  • The 2% rule is a good place to start when evaluating potential properties for a cash flow.

Tools for flippers f

To find and flip homes, you’ll want to lean on sites that specialize in flipping and in bringing together a community of successful flippers. They can guide you on everything from the best way to estimate renovation costs to the ins and outs of microflipping. You’ll also want to develop your own local contacts.

  • This Old House provides invaluable insights into the fixing up part of the fix and flip. 
  • HomeAdvisor helps connect you with local businesses that specialize in home renovation, from architects to plumbers. 
  • Houzz is designed for homeowners that are renovating. It can also help the flipper find trusted professionals. And the forums are a good place for reno advice.
  • InvestFourMore from real estate investor Mark Ferguson covers both fix and flip scenarios and long-term rental advice.
  • The Flipping Junkie podcast from Danny Johnson offers lots of practical advice for flippers. 
  • The 70% rule is a simple formula to figure out the maximum you can pay for a house and still make money on the flip.
  • Sundae’s investor marketplace currently operates in Southern California, Sacramento, Atlanta, and Tampa. It provides investors with a seamless way to research, analyze, and bid on fully vetted properties.
  • Propstream is a paid tool (with a short free trial) that helps investors sift through foreclosure housing data and offers owner info.

Tools for real estate investment financing and profit

Don’t overlook real estate investment financing as a key to figuring out the real estate investment puzzle. Take advantage of info-rich sites and calculators for property investment strategy. 

Financial calculators can also come in handy to run numbers for your business plan.

Each of these tools, websites, forums, and other things can help boost your real estate investment knowledge base and push your business forward.

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