In selecting the top websites for investment properties, we highlighted one website per category. Each of these is the category leader, specifically for real estate investors. This means the website focuses on investors as an audience and that they align incentives with the real estate investment community.
The top three websites for property investors are:
- Awning: Finding single-family rentals with completed comps
- PropertyShark: Analyzing property history and completing due diligence
- BiggerPockets: Networking with and learning from other real estate investors
- HousingWire: Staying up-to-date with real estate news
- NeighborhoodScout: Researching the best areas to invest in
- ActiveRain: Getting to know others in the real estate industry
- Auction.com: Finding properties to bid on
- Zillow: Finding home values and pricing trends
- REtipster: Landlords looking to passively invest
- Reddit: Discussing real estate investing with like-minded people
- LoopNet: Finding commercial property for investment
- LandWatch: Finding rural property for investment
- Rentometer: Comparing rental prices in a specific location
- Niche: Scoping out the feel of a certain neighborhood
- ClimateCheck: Checking the environmental risks and hazards in an area
- This Old House: Learning how to DIY home improvement projects and renovations
- SparkRental: Landlords that juggle multiple properties
- RealtyTrac: Finding foreclosed assets to invest in
- Nolo: Landlords and investors seeking legal advice
The three best investment property websites are:
1. Awning: Find Investment Properties
Awning is a listing platform founded in California that helps investors find investment properties in a market. The Awning team hand selects the best properties but allows investors to browse all of them. The site is unique because it combines all the investment research on the listing page.
Every listing features:
- The listing and home description
- Projected appreciation
- Niche.com neighborhood and school scores
- Estimated repair costs
- Estimated rent for the property
- Projected cash flow
- Projected cap rates
Besides that investors can fine tune any of the assumptions right on the listings and watch as the projections change.
There are no upfront costs to browse properties. Awning offers investors a buy-side brokerage that makes its money the traditional way, from commission on the sale. Awning also partners with property managers, attorneys, general contractors, and lenders to get investors the best possible rates and deals.
Awning made the top of this list because investors built it for investors. Combining the best analytics, algorithms, and data with thorough human review and support from brokers focused only on helping real estate investors in a specific market.
2. PropertyShark: Complete Due Diligence
PropertyShark is an online database of property records that grants investors access to historical data about a property. It offers investors the opportunity to review both public and non-public information about a specific property. It’s a key step in the due diligence process, especially for multi-family investors.
A typical report includes:
- Contact information
- Neighborhood Data
With a starting price of $60/month, PropertyShark offers full-time investors and real estate agents service to property investors at an affordable level of access. Gathering and calculating this information can take several days, with a high probability of missing something important.
3. BiggerPockets: Network With Investors
BiggerPockets is an online forum and education center for real estate investors. It was founded as a forum and quickly grew into all kinds of content, from books to video tutorials. BiggerPockets offers investors a community of like-minded people to learn from and ask questions of.
It isn’t very easy to meet other real estate investors, as most are quite busy, so BiggerPockets makes that easier. The company has also assembled some of the best and most accessible educational material for real estate investors.
The BiggerPockets offering includes:
- Tools and Calculators
The service is completely free if you want to just use the forum. However, for the bootcamp, property analysis, and other tools, you’ll need to pay $39 per month. If you’re an avid investor and get value out of the site, upgrading can make sense.
4. HousingWire: Best for Staying On Top of Industry News
HousingWire is a great resource to check out for the latest news and analyses on the real estate market. It has everything you need to dive into the current state of the market, mortgage rates, and even how fintech affects the real estate space. It’s a fantastic source to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in the industry.
HousingWire’s resources include:
- News and analytic articles
HousingWire has a wealth of information that you can access without having to register, but you can opt to pay $295 for an annual membership to HW+ (or $100 for a quarterly membership). With HW+, you get access to ten magazine issues, exclusive content, entry into their Slack channel for more networking opportunities, free seats to their virtual events–with discounted rates for in-person events–and premium newsletters.
5. NeighborhoodScout: Best for Checking Out a Neighborhood
Before making a real estate purchase, it’s extremely important to get a feel of the location you’re looking at. Enter NeighborhoodScout, a platform that lets you scope out an area to see if it’s worth the investment or not. What’s unique about NeighborhoodScout is that it can be as local as you need it to be.
For example, if you search a state, it will narrow it down to the top cities. If you search a city, it will narrow it down to the top neighborhoods. You can also search a specific neighborhood, but to unlock microneighborhood reports you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan starting at $39.99 per month.
NeighborhoodScout ranks places by:
- Most expensive
- Highest appreciating
- Demographics by income
- Proximity to the best schools
NeighborhoodScout also has a nifty search function that lets you search for your “ideal” neighborhood with hundreds of criteria. However, to access all the criteria, and to increase your radius by more than 5 miles of a search, you’ll need to upgrade your plan.
6. ActiveRain: Best for Connecting With Those in the Industry
ActiveRain is a community with thousands of active members, all of whom are involved in real estate. Whether you’re a broker, an agent, an inspector, or an investor, ActiveRain has something to offer. It has millions of blog posts from different members, a ton of groups that you can join to network with others, and even a Q&A section where you can ask your peers any questions you may have. Think of it like a social media platform for real estate.
Here are just some topics you can find on ActiveRain’s blog:
- Mortgages and finances
- Best practices in the industry
- Sales and marketing
- Real estate tools
- Home buying and selling
- Home improvement
While ActiveRain is completely free to join, a paid RainMaker account will help you build out your blog and have it indexed by Google. If you’re only interested in reading others’ posts, then create a free ActiveRain account today. However, if you’re looking to generate leads through digital content, then ActiveRain is a great place to start.
7. Auction.com: Best for Finding Properties on Auction
Auction.com is exactly what it sounds like: a place to find property to bid on. You can choose from bank owned properties, foreclosed assets, or short sales. Listings come with pictures, basic information (like square footage), estimated resale value, estimated debt, and rental estimates.
You can also perform due diligence on Auction.com, as listings also come with:
- A property information report
- Preliminary title report
- Sample certificate of sale and sample deed
It’s free to create an account, which opens up a section on basic market analysis. With this section, you’ll see nearby houses that have been sold, their information, and their sale price.
8. Zillow: Best for Figuring Out Home Values and Pricing Trends
Zillow is most famous for being a listing website (and is in fact one of the best platforms you can list on), but that’s not the only thing it can do. Zillow can also estimate the value of a property using “Zestimate”, a proprietary formula that calculates home value based on publicly available and user-submitted data. It’s free to get a quote, and while it won’t be as accurate as a realtor’s appraisal, it’s still a good place to start when assessing a property.
Aside from Zestimate, here are just some things Zillow has on its website:
- Listings for sale and for rent
- Resources for selling
- Mortgage and refinance resources
- Calculators (e.g., mortgage, refinance, amortization, etc.)
- A portal for managing rentals
Zillow is free to use–yes, even to list on–but you can pay a fee to increase your exposure with its premium listings.
9. RETipster: Best for Learning How to Passively Invest
RETipster is a goldmine of information for passive investing. Seth, the founder of RETipster, is a real estate investor with tons of experience and knowledge about the industry. He shares his strategies and tips on his blog and podcast.
RETipster also has the Toolbox–a resource with videos, guides, and downloads–that you can subscribe to for free.
Here are a few samples of what’s included in the Toolbox:
- Guides on how to get started with passively investing
- Guides on how to automate your processes
- Resources on finding cheap properties and flipping them
Aside from free articles and podcasts, you can enroll in the real estate courses available. Depending on the course you choose, this could cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to the thousands.
10. Reddit: Best for Finding a Real Estate Community
Reddit is a social forum where you can find anything and everything you’re interested in. In this case, head to the Real Estate Investing subreddit and ask and answer questions or start and join discussions. Pretty soon, you’ll find yourself immersed in a network of individuals with a similar interest in real estate.
Aside from Real Estate Investing, here are some other real estate subreddits to check out:
There’s a caveat: because Reddit is free to join and completely anonymous, take what people say with a grain of salt and always do more research. However, it’s still a great place to connect and get leads on the next best thing in real estate.
11. LoopNet: Best for a Commercial Property Investment
LoopNet fills an interesting niche. Unlike your typical listings website, LoopNet exclusively deals with commercial real estate–making it one of the first sites you should browse if you’re looking for office space or other commercial properties to invest in. On LoopNet, not only can you sell or lease commercial assets, but you can also buy existing businesses.
Here are other things you can do on LoopNet:
- Sort by property type (e.g., office, hospitality, shopping center, multifamily, etc.)
- Sort by building size and investment type
- Find and bid on auctions for properties and businesses
- Find a commercial real estate broker
Buyers can use LoopNet for free, but to list your property you’ll have to purchase a plan starting at $129 per month. This gives your listings exposure on three commercial property websites, LoopNet, CityFeet, and Showcase. The more expensive your plan is, the more exposure you get on your listings.
12. LandWatch: Best for a Rural Property Investment
What LoopNet is for commercial real estate, LandWatch is for rural properties. On LandWatch, you can find properties for hunting, recreational use, forestry, ranches–basically anything rural, commercial or residential. There are also auctions that you can search and bid on.
On LandWatch, you can search and filter by:
- Property types
- Listing types
To save your searches, create a free account on LandWatch. You can also create and advertise listings for a fee, though LandWatch isn’t clear about the prices they charge.
13. Rentometer: Best for Comparing Rental Prices
Do you feel like you’re not asking for competitive rent on your properties? Rentometer is here to help you out. With Rentometer, you can compare your rental prices to similar properties in the area by searching your address and inputting basic information about your property. Knowing the average rent locally is extremely important as your rental prices will dictate your profits, vacancies, and even the quality of your tenants.
Retometer’s results will show:
- Average rental prices
- Median rental prices
- The 25th percentile
- The 75th percentile
All this you can get for free without even signing up, but a Pro account gives you a lot more insights, like historical prices, rent distribution, more statistics, and the samples used to generate the data. Pro prices start at $39 per year, though you can also pay $29 for one month of information.
14. Niche: Best for Getting a Feel of a Location
Niche didn’t start out as a real estate website–it primarily focused on ranking schools across North America. However, it has since expanded to rank areas to live in based on the quality of schools present, safety, things to do, and cost of living. The data you get from Niche is invaluable when selecting the right neighborhood, and that’s why Awning includes it in their comprehensive listing reports.
Niche has definitive rankings of the best places to live, but you can also narrow down the choices by area type (i.e., city, suburbs), public school “grade”, cost of living, who lives there, crime and safety, and even by political leanings based on national election results. By clicking on an area, you get to see a “report card” of how well the location does in each of the categories.
Here are the categories that Niche grades on:
- Public schools
- Good for families
- Cost of living
- Outdoor activities
- Crime & safety
- Health & fitness
Needless to say, Niche provides a comprehensive view of why or why you shouldn’t invest in a certain area, all for free. By creating an account, you can also write your own review of the area that you live in.
15. ClimateCheck: Best for Checking on Environmental Hazards
Part of doing due diligence is checking out a property’s potential hazards. Especially in today’s world–where forest fires, floods, and droughts happen regularly–you wouldn’t want to spend your hard earned money on a place only to have it damaged by the environment in a few years. Fortunately, you can check this all on ClimateCheck.
ClimateCheck assesses risks related to the climate and the environment. Simply enter an address, and ClimateCheck will generate a risk report on a 0-100 rating based on your future risks.
Here’s what you can easily see on ClimateCheck:
- Risk range
- Heat risk
- Storm risk
- Fire risk
- Drought risk
- Flood risk
All this you can check for free, but enter your email and you’ll get a comprehensive risk report via PDF. The report goes into detail about each one of these risks, plus the data and methodology behind the projections. As of writing, this comprehensive report is completely free.
16. This Old House: Best for DIY Home Improvement
Those with a knack for DIY renovations and home improvement shouldn’t skip out on This Old House. This website is a treasure trove of information for real estate investors that need or want to fix up a property before flipping it. There are articles and videos on everything house-related, from attics, foundations, and electricals, to even yard work.
Each category (easily sorted from A-Z) has more information on:
- How to DIY installation
- Planning projects
With the free resources from This Old House, you won’t have trouble learning how to renovate your property. Additionally, you can subscribe to their podcast or to the magazine if you’re interested in broadening your knowledge about home improvement.
17. SparkRental: Best for Property Management
SparkRental is a freemium platform with tons of tools for landlords. On SparkRental, there are calculators for rental cash flow, FIRE (financial independence, retire early), and more, plus templates, courses, webinars, a blog, and a podcast. However, the coolest thing about SparkRental is that it’s an automation tool for property management.
On SparkRental, you can:
- Upload and manage your advertisements on various listing websites
- Send and receive digital tenant applications
- Request tenant reports
- Create and sign lease agreements
- Collect rent and send late notices
- Track income and manage your finances (QuickBooks integration coming soon)
- Communicate with your tenants
The best part is that all of these tools are free to use, with the exception of a comprehensive tenant report and credit card rent payments which are still extremely affordable. For example, a full credit and criminal report will cost $29.95, and paying by credit card charges an additional 3.99% fee (bank payments have no surcharges).
As a landlord, SparkRental is an indispensable tool that will make property management much more efficient.
18. RealtyTrac: Best for Finding Foreclosed Assets
Weeding through and investing in the right foreclosures can make a tidy profit, and one of the best websites to do that on is RealtyTrac. On RealtyTrac, you can search areas for homes for sale, and sort by foreclosure status, listing status, price, occupancy, size, year built, and even deals within an ROI range–all in one clean interface.
By clicking on a specific listing, you can view:
- Property information
- Last sold date
- Last purchase price
- Annual taxes
- Year built
- Estimated value
- Debt information
- Owner information
However, you won’t be able to view any of the data above until you sign up. RealtyTrac isn’t free and requires a subscription. It’s $49.60 per month, with a 30-day trial for $1.
19. Nolo: Best for Consulting the Law
The real estate business isn’t always smooth sailing–no matter how much we prepare, there’s still a chance of ending up in legal gray areas. That’s where Nolo comes in. Nolo is a legal encyclopedia that gives people information on how to handle simple legal matters, and they have a whole section on landlords.
On Nolo, you can find information on state laws, ending tenancies, evictions, and housing discrimination laws, among other things. They have resources for:
- Finding legal aid (through their network of thousands of attorneys)
- Finding pro bono representation
- Calculating finances
They also have books, forms, and software you can purchase to help you navigate the world of being a landlord.
Aside from their section on landlords, browse through their section on real estate as well. They have tons of articles to help you purchase or sell a home, as well as how to deal with homeowner associations (HOAs) and neighbors. All the basic legal advice that you could possibly need for real estate investing, you can find on Nolo.
Investing in real estate may seem like a daunting venture, but it doesn’t have to be. The right resources and tools will make it much less complicated. These 19 websites will help immensely, whether it’s for purchasing a property, doing due diligence, or just finding a like-minded community to discuss topics with and ask questions from.
If you’re already at the stage where you feel ready to purchase a property, head to Awning. Its extremely comprehensive listings filled with the proper data will help you find the perfect single-family rental to invest in.