Savvy investors know that you don’t make your profit when you sell … you make it when you buy. Sure, the sale is your cash-out, but you lock that cash-out in by buying right. Find the right deal, and you have a high probability of making at least some money … and more likely, a lot of money.
So how do you buy right, especially if you are a beginner with no network and responsible for sourcing your own deals?
As with most business models in the digital age, the deals are hiding in the data. With access to the right data, investors can spot a great deal and act quickly to lock it down.
How to get this data? Investors used to get it by knocking on doors, stalking county courthouses, licking stamps, and haunting outdated government websites, hoping to spot the telltale signs of a motivated seller or “don’t-wanter” willing to sell below market.
PropStream aims to take the legwork out of that data gathering. This paid web app collects data relevant to real estate investors, compiles it under one platform, and distills it down to actionable insights about millions of properties in every state.
Combine that with a suite of marketing tools, and you have a compelling resource for beginning, mid-tier, and even advanced investors, especially wholesalers and beginner investors who have to source their own deals.
PropStream also offers several add-ons that investors might find interesting, including:
List Automator. Offers daily list monitoring for up to 2,000 properties, with automated list imports and append capabilities. Starts at $27/month.
Team Member. Access to PropStream for team members with managed permissions and tiered access. Up to five team members can access one PropStream account, starting at $20/month per team member.
PropStream’s Marketing Tools include a la carte services, including:
Postcards, as low as $0.40 apiece.
Skip Tracing, priced at $0.12 apiece.
Ringless Voicemail, priced at $0.10 apiece.
Automated Emails, priced at $0.02 apiece.
PropStream offers the following features with its basic membership:
Nationwide Property Database
For less than the cost of MLS membership in a single market, PropStream offers a property database with actionable data that puts Zillow, Trulia, and the MLS to shame. Key insights into each property include:
Personal data and contact info for the owners, sourced from public records and skip-trace searches.
Estimated remaining loan balance.
Past transaction details.
Targeted Property Search
PropStream can generate lists of properties based on a wide variety of vectors that other property-search platforms cannot—vectors of key interest in locating motivated sellers. PropStream lets you filter for:
Foreclosure or pre-foreclosure status.
Seasoned investors know to smell a deal when one of these factors comes into play. PropStream puts that data at their fingertips on a national level.
Homes rely on nearby comparable sales to determine their value. PropStream’s “Instant Comparables” feature generates a list of recent comps culled from local MLS data. You can massage your comps along a variety of vectors, including:
Number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
Distance from the subject property.
The quality of a fix-and-flip deal (or even a “buy-and-hold”) can often depend on the rehab. You’ve probably heard the time-honored formula that house-flippers must pay 70% of the ARV, minus rehab costs. Comps can tell you the ARV, but they can’t tell how much the rehab will cost.
PropStream’s Rehab Estimator uses the same formula that insurance companies use, making it one of the most accurate computational rehab estimators on the market. It can even generate two separate estimates based on local material and labor costs.
PropStream doesn’t just help you find the deal—Marketing Tools aim to help you win the deal. In doing so, PropStream makes a bid to be an “all-in-one” platform for a certain kind of real estate investor. Sourcing plus marketing is pretty much the whole ballgame.
The marketing tools available from PropStream include automated email campaigns, postcard campaigns, ringless voicemails, custom landing pages, and skip-traces to find missing owners. Note that each of these marketing materials cost extra on a per-unit basis. See the section on “PropStream Pricing” for more details.
Note that designing a winning postcard campaign or a converting landing page are high-level skills in and of themselves. A done-for-you service can get you started, but results may vary. Expect a lot of trial and error, and don’t expect an app-generated solution to solve problems that have vexed professional marketers for decades.
To determine how profitable a deal might or might not be, PropStream offers a Deal Analyzer, an online calculation tool that lets you plug in variables and get estimates on critical variables like:
Projected rental income.
Projected cash flow.
Tax estimates and deductions.
Local price trends.
General market performance.
These are data-generated estimates and should be corroborated. But at worst, the Deal Analyzer should give you an at-a-glance sense if a deal is worth pursuing further.
PropStream is about as user-friendly as such a feature-rich platform can be. Each tool will require a learning curve, and it helps to know what you are looking for. In other words, if you have never looked at a sales comp or done a rehab estimate, this might constitute a barrier to entry.
PropStream comes with a rich library of tutorial videos to get you started. It shouldn’t be too hard to master the tools … if you can devote the time it takes to beat the learning curve.
Considering it compiles nationwide data in an easy-to-process, investor-friendly manner, PropStream seems like an excellent deal at $99 per month. Investors should be careful, though—whether compiled by hand or from an app, data is a guideline. It helps you identify what might be a good deal. It’s no substitute for due diligence, and it can’t do your negotiating for you.
Still, for wholesalers, house flippers, and landlords who source their own deals, PropStream has obvious advantages over traditional data searches. Investors looking for a “one-and-done” solution for this kind of analysis should definitely take advantage of the free trial period and see if PropStream is the solution for them.
J.R. Medrano is a real estate investor who specializes in wholesaling inherited homes. He has been wholesaling real estate in the Corpus Christi, TX area for the past 6 years. If you would like some honest advise about wholesaling houses. Feel free to contact him at anytime.