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Thanks to the Internet, it’s easier for a multifamily real estate investor than ever before to find real estate deals that are out of their market.

Even though most of these deals will look great on paper, the reality is that you’re never really going to know if it’s the right investment for you to make or not unless you take the time to thoroughly evaluate the market where the property is located.

As a multifamily real estate investor, we know that your time is busy because you may already have an existing portfolio of investment properties while you are searching for new properties to add to your portfolio.

Since you can’t always leave your home or office to travel to a new real estate market to investigate a multi-family property that you’re interested in buying, the big question is how can you research the property without having to physically travel to that location yourself?

This article will answer this question and provide you with a variety of tips that you can use for evaluating a real estate market before you choose to purchase a multi-family rental property there.

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Review the City Data

One of the great things about the internet is that you can easily research data for any city from the comfort of home. All you have to do is simply go to Google, or your favorite search engine, and type in the name of the city followed by keywords like crime, demographics, statistics, weather or even “real estate market”.

The key to success with utilizing city data that you find online is to first make sure that the data that you’re going to use is current and not more than 2 years old. A lot can obviously happen in two years so you want to make sure that the data or demographics that you’re using to evaluate an area is as up to date as possible.

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to use multiple websites to research city data online, one of the best websites that you can use to find data, demographics and other information is city-data.com.

Let’s say that you’re an internet sleuth who thrives on a challenge and enjoys digging into data and analytics, just make sure that besides verifying that the data that you find online is current, you also want to verify that any information you’re reading about a specific city or town where a property is located was actually written by someone who lives in the area.

One of the great things about 2020 is that it is also the year of the census so you can expect there to be a lot more current and up-to-date data out there this year and in coming years thanks to the census.

Find Out What’s Happening with The School Districts

Researching the school districts for a city or town that you plan on purchasing a multi-family property is also important because, if you’re a landlord who plans on renting to tenants who have children, they are obviously going to want to send their children to a safe school district.

The quality of the school district also affects the resale value of your multifamily property as well so besides verifying city data, you should also be paying close attention to information that you find out about the school district for the area that you plan on investing in.

Where can you find reliable information about school districts? Thankfully, there is a wide variety of websites that you can use to research school districts including greatschools.org and schooldigger.com.

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Find the Local County Seat Website

Another handy way to research an area before investing in a multi-family property is to find the website for the county seat. This is something that most investors have been utilizing for years because a typical county website will also have tons of invaluable data regarding the community including information about local businesses, jobs, and so much more.

By pulling up a local county website, you may also be able to find tax records and other data that you need to get started with researching the owner of the multifamily property before you decide to initially contact them.

Investigate What’s Near the Multifamily Property

After using the tips that we’ve offered you in this article, the next thing that you should also consider doing is investigating what’s near the multi-family property.

This is by far one of the most important things that you can do before purchasing a new multi-family rental because, if the property is out in the middle of nowhere, and the nearest store is 30 minutes away, this may not be a property that you want to purchase.

Ideally, any multi-family property that you purchase should be located close to shops, stores, restaurants, amenities, and other things to do in the area. Most people like to be part of the communities where they live and they don’t want to have to drive 30 minutes, one hour or more to get to the things that they need to do or use on a regular basis.

Utilize Online Forums

Another handy thing that you can do to research an area online before investing there is to start looking into online forums for the community where the multifamily property that you’re interested in buying is located.

One of the best places to start investigating an area are forums like biggerpockets.com or another real estate investing website that offers you real data and information by investors who actually live, work, and invest in the area where a multi-family property is located.

Tap into Zillow And Craigslist

There’s no doubt that Zillow and Craigslist are two of the oldest websites online so it’s best to include these sites in your online research activities. A word of caution though, Zillow has been known to use outdated statistics so it’s important to thoroughly verify the day that you find on Zillow before making your decision to purchase a property in any area based solely alone on data or information that you may have found about an area on Zillow.

Learn More About the Area Infrastructure

Yes, location, location, location is important when purchasing real estate, especially multifamily properties but, the infrastructure in an area is equally as important because of the obvious fact that people have to travel every single day.

The tenants who live in your multifamily property are going to have jobs, family in the area, or they will be attending school, so you want to make sure that your property is also in a convenient location that has quick access to major highways, trains, and airports so that your tenants can conveniently travel anywhere at any time.

When evaluating the infrastructure for a community, you should also be mindful of how close your property will be to employers in the area so that you can confirm for yourself if one of your tenants is going to have to drive 30 minutes or longer each way to get to and from work every day.

To verify the infrastructure where a multi-family property is located, one of the easiest tools that you can use online is Google Maps because, Google Maps will show you the highways, airports, bus lines and all major sources of transportation from the area where the multifamily property is located.

Utilize Social Media

We’ve offered you a lot of tips in this article for researching a real estate market that you may be unfamiliar with, another online tool that you should consider adding to your arsenal of research tools is social media.

With social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, or even YouTube, all you have to do is type in the city or town where the property is located to look up what people are saying about that area online. Using this tactic will save you the time and hassle of investing in an area that looks good on paper but may be starting to become overrun with gang activity or crime.

Lessons Learned

Research and utilizing data are one of the most important aspects of evaluating a multi-family property before you decide to purchase it. Thanks to the tips in this article, we’ve offered you a ton of ideas that you can use to research and verify an area before you decide to invest there.

If you have any favorite tools that you like to use as an investor to conduct online research into an area, feel free to leave us a comment below!

Erik Hatch

Erik is currently invested in projects in Florida, Texas and Kentucky totaling $79 Million. He is an accomplished leader who motivates and inspires action while at the same time, is grounded in business metrics and information that drives successful businesses.