So you wanna get started investing in Chicago and you’re checking things out, eh?
Good for you. Always do your homework and you won’t get schooled.
Here’s some great tools that we’ve found and we use from time to time and great real estate investing resources in Chicago for investors here locally to tap into for quick research on your investment deals.
The best thing is most of these sites below are completely free!
Here’s a few sites you should get to know:
Zillow is the biggest, baddest real estate website on the block. They are building data on real estate wealth like few other sites.
The CEO of Zillow, Spencer Rascoff, said their company’s best asset was their “living database of all homes”.
The Zestimate tool is off, as a lot of folks have noted. It’s fun to see what the computer calculates, but you still gotta know how to analyze the comps and evaluate the market for yourself.
Spend a lot of time on Zillow and get to know the intimate details of each property sold in your target Chicago neighborhoods. Really try to identify the psychology of the prices, and seek to understand why the seller and buyer picked that point to settle.
Remember, each sale is like a tiny piece of a moving puzzle that makes up the whole market.
Zillow is an awesome tool for investors to get to know their markets.
Craigslist is an awesome site. There’s huge deals there, if you spend the time on the site. People write terrible ads for great properties. Happens every hour of every day across Illinois. Sometimes the best properties only get one terrible ad. So you’ve got to scour.
LoopNet is the granddaddy of commercial real estate investing.
You wanna sell a gigantic freakin building to institutional investors, this is the site you want to list it on.
Sometimes there are great deals on LoopNet, but you’re competing with every other investor to find them. If you are a Grade-A investor working with a top broker, you’ve got a chance to win the bid and seal the deal. This is not the site for rookies.
LoopNet is a great place to learn about the market in Chicago and see how the major money is moving. You’ll be surprised what you can learn, so start searching through the properties for sale and watching where they close.
Just like its name suggests, Auction.com is a big clearinghouse of auctions, — foreclosures, REOs, short sales, distressed properties, land, new construction — you name it, they probably sell it.
Definitely check out the auction calendar, and make a trip to visit some Chicago auctions. You never know who you might meet at an auction – maybe your future business partner?
The largest place to search the MLS (multiple listing service), Realtor.com is sometimes confusing and often doesn’t seem consistent with what data it displays.
But it’s got some neat search alerts and other tools that help you get alerted when a broker in your neighborhood has added a listing. If you’re serious about investing, you probably want to form a good relationship with an excellent Realtor, rather than just the website.
Most investors overlook Walkscore.com – a big mistake.
Walkscore tells you a ton about any given address. It tells you how a potential renter or buyer will evaluate it – what’s nearby and how long it takes to access.
It’s also a fantastic tool to target areas that are underpriced for their amenities. If an area has a really high walkscore and low prices, chances are good that prices will rise in the next few years. There’s big exceptions – but walkability is a really key factor in Chicago investment.
Those tools will help you to understand the Chicago area market, if you take the time to use them. Do your homework, and understand the market before you start dumping your hard-earned money into a property.
You can always give us a call (630) 796-1595 – we love to partner up with investors, and we’ve got great terms.
If you’re looking to access to local Chicago investment properties, great!