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7 Free and Low Cost Web Tools to Make Investing Easier

Sep 16, 2008
As a real estate investor, you're well aware of how dramatically the Internet is changing the way you live your life. While you can probably name a variety of sites you regularly go to for information, news, and entertainment, here are seven websites that can make your job easier-and more profitable:

Hendricks & Partners-Do you wish you could look into a crystal ball and see what the future holds for an area in which you're considering investing? With Hendricks & Partners, now you can. They make available free market segment reports for selected American cities and regions that show key economic data, incomes, unemployment rate, among other vital details. Knowledge is power in real estate investing, and Hendricks & Partners puts plenty of power at your fingertips that can help you decide if an area makes investing sense-whether that area is across town or on the other end of the country.

Pacer-If you're in the foreclosure market you understand the importance of getting foreclosure filings quickly. Pacer is the U.S. Bankruptcy Court's listing of foreclosure filings. You can search for recent filings several ways, which can give you a jumpstart on the competition. Motivated homeowners sometimes choose to work with the first qualified investor to contact them. Pacer can help you to be first-it's up to you to be the best.

Zillow.com-Having a ballpark figure of what an investment property could be worth at your fingertips can help you to quickly decide if a potential investment property is worth delving into-or should be skipped over completely. Zillow.com can give you free comps and estimate a property's value within seconds. While it can't replace due diligence, it can give you a ballpark figure that can help expedite your decision on which properties to look into. With so many homeowners looking for quick solutions, this tool can help you to pull the trigger quickly if it makes sense- or to walk away if it doesn't.

Elance.com-Do you have a website that needs updating, an article or eBook that needs to be written, or are you searching for the perfect virtual assistant to help you close more deals? If any of these apply to you, Elance is the ideal website for you. Membership is free; you simply post your project and select the bidder with the qualifications and proposal you like the best. Elance makes it possible for you to remotely get more done and their Escrow system lets you and your provider collaborate on your project to ensure your satisfaction, while easing the provider's concerns that they'll be paid at the end of the project.

Google Picasa-If you have dozens-or even hundreds-of photos taking up valuable space on your hard drive, you're all too aware of how difficult it can be to organize photos of properties you own or might be interested in buying. Google's free Picasa software application helps you to organize all the photos on your hard drive so you can locate the photo you need within seconds.

Windows Live Maps-Do you ever wish you knew the layout of a neighborhood without having to get into your car and battle traffic all the way across town? Windows Live Maps can put this visual information onto your desktop so you can see the layout of a neighborhood or compare the proximity of a potential investment to points of interest, schools, shopping, etc. Little details like these can help you decide whether an investment is a bad idea, a good idea-or a great idea.

Microsoft OneNote-If you're as organizationally challenged as a lot of investors, Microsoft OneNote may be just what the doctor ordered. It's an electronic notebook, so you can organize properties you own in one notebook and create other notebooks-and pages-depending on your needs. You may decide to have a separate notebook for properties you're considering acquiring. The beauty of OneNote is that you can keep all property details at your fingertips, from legal documents to scanned handwritten notes, photos-even audio files. If you have a fairly new computer, it's probably already on your system if you use Microsoft office.

These tools won't make you an overnight investing success. What they will do, however, is help you to better organize yourself, research properties, and get more done. The time savings can help you to improve your focus and close more deals. Closing deals is the name of the game. These tools help you win the game by making sure they're quality deals. Put them to work and see how much more quickly you can reach your destination.
About the Author
Peter Vekselman has been successfully investing in real estate since 1996. He has completed over 1000 real estate deals, owned a construction company, been a private lender, and owned a property management
company. To learn more about Peter please visit
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