Top Online Tools For Flipping Houses

November 29, 2011
We have all heard it been said, "Information is Everything," "Information is Power," "He who has the most information is King." But is it really? And how does any of this apply to the world of real estate and flipping foreclosures?

Image: Gregor Schuster/Getty Images

My response to the questions above is: Yes, Yes and Yes, assuming that two conditions are being met: first, the information given must be accurate, and secondly, the information must be timely. Clearly, information five minutes late is useless, and inaccurate information is incredibly costly, especially in this game.

Unfortunately the marketplace has not come up with one comprehensive website or app where all the necessary information can be found in order to successfully buy a foreclosure. However, there are several tools that have served to be very helpful: is hands down the most comprehensive website for researching foreclosure information on the west coast. This website is subscription fee-based at $49.95 per month but seems to be a no-brainer for individuals who are serious about buying trustee sale property. Auction sale times, property lists, title, and market research tools are all available. For investors in California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, and Washington this is been an invaluable tool.

For other states, individual trustee websites are where you are going to find the most current foreclosure information. Foreclosing banks or note holders hire attorneys or trustees to act in their behalf to carry out the foreclosure proceedings. These trustees will often times have websites where auction times, addresses, and opening bids are posted. Following very basic property information provided by trustees, the investors begin to compile market analysis and valuation through their local realtor, tax assessor's office, or title company.

Google Maps continues to be one of the most useful apps on the planet for property research as well. Is the subject property next to a busy street? What is its proximity to parks or schools? Is the property on a corner? Using "street view search," investors can determine general curb appeal, age and style of a home. When time is of the essence while researching a property, a home can be ruled in as the next best target or ruled out almost instantly. Not a day goes by without Doug and I scouting property using Google Maps.

Other than the three online tools mentioned above, you should always check out,, and as they all have available mobile apps that can be useful as well.

As a cautionary note: There are a lot of online tools that are completely out of date. Every week I get calls from potential investors wanting to buy my foreclosure that was bought and sold six months ago. Many of these websites charge monthly subscriptions. Always be sure to confirm that the information you are paying for is accurate and timely in your targeted area.