What is the Best Way to Find Comps Online?

March 9, 2015 | By | 2 Replies More

One question that stems from all our needs and is frequently asked is:

How do you find good comparables when you are actively buying properties?

A good comparable is a property that was sold within the past 6 months, or even better, in the past 3 months, and is similar in style, square footage and age.

The more similar, the better.

So in a perfect world, the comps would be within the past 3 months and within ½ mile of the property you are considering, along with the same square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and built around the same time.

Now there are going to be variances, but that’s basically the quintessential way of finding comparables.

And, without hiring an appraiser (which is too high of cost to consider), you’ve got to be able to learn how to read comps quickly for an approximate value… or at least it’s value after repairs.

Also, if you are a wholesaler, as an extra bonus you can use comps to find out what kind of cash deals are going on around in an area.

So how do you find comps?

Way #1: MLS

The most obvious that everyone is familiar with is the Realtors’ MLS (Multiple Listing Service).

The problem is, only Realtors typically have access to the MLS, and they usually keep their password under lock and key.

The MLS is one of the best, most robust ways to get comps. (The only slight downside is that it does not include for sale by owner transactions.)

If you think about it, any property listed on the MLS is going to be listed by a Realtor. But, even with this fallback, the MLS is still the crème de la crème for comps.

If you don’t know how to get access to MLS comps, I have a couple of other suggestions….

Way #2: Cut and Paste

You can do what’s called a cut and paste comps. This is when you have an investor friendly Realtor pull comps for you. I have a previous post all about cut and paste comps that may be helpful if you aren’t familiar with this concept.

RealtorWay #3: Win-Win Situation

The next way is to find an investor-friendly Realtor and create a win-win situation where you become their assistant… and to sweeten the deal, maybe you pay half their MLS dues or refer them deals on occasion. This Realtor may even be on your Power Team.

Almost every Realtor in the country gives an assistant their own password with full access.

Way #4: Real Quest

Now, those two options don’t work for you, many investors use RealQuest.com.

With a Real Quest subscription, you can get comps and actually pull them for anywhere in the U.S. What’s cool is this subscription also pulls comps for sale by owner, unlike the MLS.

And, you don’t have to be a Realtor to get access to it, you just have to pay for it.

Way #5: Investor Comps Online

Another highly-renowned place to go for comps is InvestorCompsOnline. This company is owned by a colleague of ours who is an investor and appraiser himself, Mark Jackson.

It’s a clever system. And one of the cool things is that it’s kind of creative in the way that it’s designed, keeping investors in mind, and, the way that the information is delivered is really easy for investors to consume.

Way #6: Freedom Soft

FreedomSoft was created by Preston Ely, another one of our industry colleagues. The comps from FreedomSoft seem to be pretty reliable.

And again, you don’t have to be a Realtor, you just have to have a subscription.

Avoid these

Now that you know what to look for when it comes to comps, know that we DO NOT recommend relying on Trulia or Zillow; they just don’t give you all the needed information you need to see the big picture when it comes to investing, and they don’t even list all the comps. Also, information found on those sites is often out-of-date.

Most importantly, always remember not to use data more than 6 months old.

Talk to me

Anybody else out there have some suggestions for finding comps? We’d love to hear them!


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  1. jessica Sala says:

    Great post…I prefer the MLS :)