Best way to DIY Comps?

What are some ways you guys use to figure your own idea comps?
Thanks in advance.


Network & find a Realtor to do it for you.

I use for fast and dirty. Comps are not terribly recent. Take heavily salted. Zillow is overpricing homes in one of my markets by 200K.

I have a relationship with a broker and two title agents. They have been invaluable.

My local assessor has an online website that also provides sold comps as well as tax information. That works great for me, even though I’m an agent with access to the MLS, the MLS does not show FSBOs, in which the tax assessor would.


Try First American Real Estate Solutions. Through a product called “Realquest” they sell comps for $3.50 on a pay as you go program. They also provide unlimited comps in one county for $150/mo, annual subscription required. Sometimes the listings they provide do not have all the property attributes (i.e. bed/bath, square footage, etc). I have to look up the website for the local assessor.

Property appraiser site is good also

Just to add to this. Has anyone ever used
I am unable to verify either or comps with what an actual realtor would comp the home.

I took residential and industrial appraisal (university level) though I have never worked as an appraiser. Comps (comparable properties) are exactly that… properties that have sold recently that are (ideally) identical to the subject property and right next door.

If this is obvious to you please don’t feel insulted… got to start somewhere.

The first thing I care about in a declining market where I am the short seller is that the ‘comps’ be RECENT. I hate Yahoo, and to a lesser degree Zillow, because the comps are OLD. Now, maybe nothing has sold, but so far I have not found that to be the case. Zillow is running about two months behind IMO. Zillow also cares only about the structure… it appears to largely ignore the land, or at least value it less than it does the home. Thus a home on acreage is not much more valuable than a home on a residential lot as far as Zillow is concerned. Zillow really works best with fungible suburban housing.

Now the game becomes kind of a educated guess. You add value to your property if it is a four bed and everything else is a three. Or if vice a versa, take it away. You can figure out the cost of square footage on the comps (Zillow is great at this) and use this as a rough guess.

I personally think that appraisal is a rather simple game that the industry makes more complex than it needs to be for good and valid reasons that I will not go into here. I was taught to take several approaches to an appraisal, for example the cost approach, but the only one that I have ever seen used is the comp approach. You need recent comps.

For what it’s worth.

I have a great real estate agent that I provide the street or subdivision of my subject property. She emails me a list of active, pending and sold properties in that area for the last 6 months. I then do my own comparisons and find a few that match my property. I can usually get pretty close to actual value this way. It only takes her a few minutes to run these so my advice is to network with a good realtor that can get you this info.

Jus my 2 cents :slight_smile:

Networking with a realtor is the best bet IMO. They can run comps pretty quick. If your exit strategy does not involve a realtor, you can take them to lunch or give them resturant certificates or something like that & also send lots of referrals their way. Then be sure to use them when you need them.

Texas is a non-disclosure state, so it’s tougher getting comps. Zillow can be pretty off-track in central or lake areas. I had a home in East Austin that was selling for $200k and Zillow said it was worth $38k.

Some people use title companies or appraisers, but investors also search MLS to see what the homes are listed for. It doesn’t give them sold comps, but they’d at least get a general idea. Sooner or later, every serious investor will need a good agent to partner with unless they want their own license.

In Illinois i use a system called Real Info and the local Assessor’s web site as well as
This cocktail has worked very well as Realinfo shows all info on any deed that gets recorded.
I would have to agree that getting friendly with an appraiser or realtor would go along way.

Some On-line Sites to find Comparable Sales

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[My addition: has something]
Somebody recently posted: “Couple more sites for property information or []
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Maybe the above will help.


Appraisal Basics

Find homes in the same subdivision, same size, same number of bedrooms, baths. If its a different subdivision don’t use it unless its a last resort.

Use most recent comps. Lenders wont look at anything that has sold over 6 months ago because they don’t reflect current conditions. They will go farther away from subject before using old comps. Best comps are within 1 mile of subject property in same subdivision.

They adjust up or down to make the properties appear equal. If your property has a pool and the comp down the street that sold last week doesn’t, add $5000 to the sold price to figure what yours is worth. Sq footage matters, number of rooms matters. A fireplace is worth about $500. Condition is rated overall, you usually don’t get a separate increase for a new kitchen if the rest of the house needs repair. Land size doesn’t play a major role unless there is a huge difference, ie your house is on 1/4 acre and the comp is on 2 acres. (but then its not a like property and most appraisers would throw it out) Views can add a lot.

Zillow is what is called a mash up. They take info from several sources and mash them together. If they are slow in your area, its not because of Zillow, its because your county recorder is behind on updating his files. By the same token, its very hard for zillow to make lot adjustments, condition adjustments etc because that info is not listed by the recorder. Many times people will transfer titles in and out of trusts showing the original price paid so they don’t get taxed. Zillow can’t tell whats happening, it just sees a new title recorded so that may be the problem with your valuations on zillow. In an active real estate area, they do show the most recent comps listed by the accessor for price. You can usually make your own adjustments to arrive at a reasonable estimate.