Successful real estate investing starts with the right data. Learn how to find rental comps for your local investment strategy.
How much is my rental property worth? How can I maximize my real estate investment? Where should I invest?
If you are asking yourself any of the previous questions, then you've come to the right place. Odds are, you aren't employing an easy-to-use and necessary tool that requires very little research and sometimes a beginner's proficiency in Excel — rental comparables or comps.
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What Are Rental Comps?
Rental comps refer to the comparisons between similar rental properties in a market — also known as rental property details. They are used to determine the value of an investment property.
A smart real estate investor uses them to analyze the potential profitability of a specific rental property and other rental property performance in that area. Using rental comparables means you're charging a fair market rent in order to maximize the value of your rental property by renting to the most qualified tenants, keeping vacancy low, and accruing high gross rental income and cash flows.
Think of them as a comparative market analysis. According to Roofstock, items to include in that analysis are:
- Property rent
- Property market value (to calculate performance such as gross rental yield and cap rate)
- Rent per square foot
- Size of property
- Single vs. multi-story
- Number of bedrooms
- Number of bathrooms
- Parking (such as off-street in a garage or carport vs. on-street)
- Appliances included (such as washer, dryer, and refrigerator)
- Pet friendly
- Lot size
- Landscaping front and back
- Construction date of property
- Condition of property
- Recent upgrades or improvements (such as flooring, roof, or HVAC)
- On-site amenities such as front porch, rear deck, children’s play area, swimming pool or spa
- Community amenities such as greenbelts, parks, access to public transit, shopping and restaurants
How to Find Rental Comps
There are a number of offline and online resources to find them.
- Property Management Companies handle other rental properties that can be similar to yours and give a good idea on what rent prices and property features will attract qualified tenants who pay rent on time and are more likely to stay.
- Leasing Agents have current pricing on what competing investors are charging in your area and what incentives their investors are offering to prospective tenants.
- Your Personal Network can provide insight into what they look for in a property and what they are willing to pay for it. Everyone is a property investor, so don't hesitate to ask your connections.
- Rentometer is a rent comparison site that offers free and paid pricing plans, depending on how much detailed property analysis you are looking for.
- Mashvisor is a rental property calculator that provides analytics "in a matter of minutes". Similar to Rentometer, you can pay for more data on other properties in the area.
- Rent Zestimate from Zillow takes into account local market trends and factors like physical attributes, amenities, and recent upgrades to provide a starting price point for your rental investment rent. They also provide more resources on how to advertise your rental, and when to lower or raise your rent.
- Roofstock Cloudhouse Calculator "gives you a complete forecast of potential return for any single-family rental property in the U.S. By entering the address of the house, you’ll receive instant access to key rental property financial metrics including the rent, cash flow, gross yield, cap rate, cash on cash return, and much more."
- Craiglist and Facebook are often forgotten rental comp resources because they don't offer the data and analytics that the previously listed rental property calculators provide; however, they give insight — on a smaller scale — into what local property owners/ landlords are offering and for what prices. You can also see what people are looking and posting for in your area.
Rental comps are a necessary resource to create real estate investment opportunities and boost your current rental property income. Don't waste your time and money by ignoring their capabilities.
Related Reading: Flagship's Guide to Investment Real Estate
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