Apart from marketing, one of the most important things for real estate investors is to determine if a particular property or several properties qualify as a deal or not.
This is especially true for active wholesale real estate investors.
There are several tools on the market that can help you not only with the market analysis and finding the right deals, but also with some of the marketing tasks.
One of these tools is PropStream and in this article, I will give you an overview of what it is, its features, if it can do skip tracing, the costs, pros and cons, similar tools on the market, and, as a bonus, how you can find distressed properties with it.
What Is PropStream?
For real estate investors, brokers, and agents that need to research and analyze large amounts of market data and market based on this information, PropStream provides several features that cover exactly these needs.
I would estimate that 80% of the features help you with the market intelligence part and the other 20% provide you with marketing tools, such as postcards, email campaigns, website landing pages, and voice mail campaigns.
While at first glance you might think it can benefit investors, brokers, and agents equally, I tend to believe it offers slightly more benefits to real estate investors.
Because with the big amount of data PropStream is using, you can quickly find and evaluate investment opportunities.
This might not be that relevant to you if you are rather operating in the retail real estate space, as most realtors and brokers do.
An Overview of All the Features
1) Nationwide Data (Property Database)
With this feature, you can search for properties by a wide range of criteria, such as commercial, residential, office, industrial, agricultural, recreational, transportation, and vacant land.
Then, you also have the option to search by property type, such as single family, townhouse, multi-family houses, and more.
The bottom line is you can get quite granular with your search and filter out a large variety of data.
This nationwide search function is quite important for real estate investors that are not only interested in their immediate area.
You can do unlimited searches and can get access to almost any property address in the United States.
Other information you can search there include:
- Loan balance
- Past transaction details
- And more
If you need information about sales records of cash deals including contact information of a particular property, this can also be done.
PropStream does this by filtering for cash sales within a predefined radius and then generates the contact information of the particular homeowner.
What does this mean?
It means you get access to cash buyer information that you can later use for your marketing activities.
2) Targeted Property Lists
Another handy feature is the option to generate and view property lists that meet the criteria you are looking for.
Once a new property matches your criteria, you get notified.
How is this done?
Since PropStream has access to multiple MLS data, it can be organized with plenty of filters and criteria.
This feature allows you to search for different types of properties at the same time that haven’t hit the market yet.
You can filter for the following criteria:
- Involuntary liens
- Expired listings
- Cash buyers
- High equity
Already by these criteria, you can see that PropStream is leaning a bit more toward serving real estate investors and less real estate brokers or agents.
So, this feature helps you generate up to date marketing lists according to your aimed for property portfolio, which you then can use for your marketing campaigns.
3) Instant Comparables
This feature helps you determine the value of a property by taking into consideration the average values of similar homes from the same neighborhood.
To do that, PropStream crosses data from several multiple listing services with data from county recordings.
The variables you can change in this feature are:
- Square footage
- Date range
- Number of bathrooms
- Number of bedrooms
- Distance from the subject property
- Last sale date
4) Rehab Estimator
Fix and flip real estate investors but also wholesale real estate investors will like the rehab estimator feature.
It uses the same calculator that insurance companies use, leading to a high accuracy to help you estimate the actual rehab costs.
It includes all types of improvement and repair works such as roofing, flooring, electrical, plumbing.
By using local material and labor costs two different estimates can be generated.
So you can determine what the rehab would cost if you did it yourself, or if you would have a contractor do it.
5) Marketing Tools
As already mentioned in the beginning, PropStream’s marketing features provide you with the option to send automated emails, voicemails, postcards (direct mailing), and create custom landing pages.
The focus here is clearly on helping you reach out to prospects from one place, once you have collected and generated the relevant owner lists.
The custom landing page feature helps you generate additional leads to the leads the software will find for you in their database.
This can come in handy, if you don’t have your own website yet.
It is a self-hosted solution, so you won’t have to set up your own server to do that.
By sending automated emails, voicemails, and postcards you can do basically your whole prospecting and direct mailing campaigns (read my article on direct mailing for real estate marketing here) directly from the platform, be it to reach out for the first time or doing a whole follow-up sequence (also read my article on following up here).
6) Property Deal Analyzer
If you want to get in-depth information on the transaction and investment process of a particular deal, then the Property Deal Analyzer feature would be the right one.
It helps calculate the following deal figures:
- Mortgage amount
- Total purchase price
- Property expenses
- Projected rental income
- Detailed mortgage analysis
- Cash flow
- Tax information and deductions
It also gives you a market overview of local rental price trends, nearby property sales prices, sought-after home features and trends, and the general market performance in your area of choice.
Does ProStream Also Do Skip Tracing?
By definition, skip tracing is actually the process of locating a person’s whereabouts.
In the context of real estate investing, this is mainly tracking down the information of the owner of a property.
And yes, as you might have already concluded from the above that PropStream does that and makes it quite easily.
It does it by just collecting all public information of different properties, such as names, phone numbers, emails, mailing addresses, court records, and more.
Depending on where there are strict robocalling laws in place (PropStream covers this for you), the software enables you to automatically call the respective prospects by sending a voice mail.
On a side note: When I hear robocalling, I get a bit weary because firstly they get more and more restricted by the government (I guess people get annoyed by them) and secondly, I doubt that they will give you a good conversion rate because they annoy people more than not.
You can read my article on cold calling for real estate and it will know why I might be skeptical of robocalls.
But I deviated a bit from skip tracing which does not necessarily already include the outreaching or cold calling part.
How Much Does PropStream Cost?
Unfortunately, you can see the pricing information of PropStream only when you subscribe to the 7-day free trial.
When signing up, you will also need to already enter your payment information, so that once the 7-day free trial is over, you will be charged automatically.
But of course, you can cancel the trial before it ends.
There is only one monthly subscription option which is priced at $99 per 10,000 saved properties.
The monthly subscription includes:
- The 7-day free trial
- Nationwide property search (up to 10,000 monthly property data exports)
- Unlimited property searches
- Marketing tools
- Targeted property lists
- The Rehab Estimator
- Instant Comparables
- The Property Deal Analyzer
Pros and Cons
Before I get too biased about PropStream, let’s also get a balanced view of the software and compare the pros and cons.
- While $99 per month is not within everybody’s budget, it is still below the pricing of the main competitors. For other comparable software, you are likely to pay at least $125 per month.
- You are able to target sellers nationwide by sending emails, voicemails, and postcards.
- The Deal Analysis Wizard gives you a great basis to make important decisions.
- The Rehab Estimator is another tool to provide you with important information for your budgeting and making sound decisions.
- Lacking transparency when it comes to pricing information.
- You will find this information only when signing up.
- You have a limit of 10,000 monthly property data save/export. If you want more, you need to upgrade.
- The Robocall feature (automated voicemails) may not be a highly converting marketing tool/feature.
- The learning curve you have to overcome to get the hang of the system.
- The instructional videos provided on their website lack a bit of depth and are rather salesy than instructional. You find better ones on YouTube.
4 Similar Websites to PropStream
With Zillow, you can also search for historical home values, access trend analysis and forecasts, and average rents.
Without the help of a realtor, you can browse properties listed for sale.
From the features offered, you will soon realize that it is not as tailored to real estate investors as PropStream.
Nevertheless, you can also find distressed properties there by applying the listing type search “pre-foreclosure” filter under the “potential listings” heading.
I took a closer look at Zillow and compared it to Trulia in this article.
While PropStream mainly supports the prospecting marketing approach via direct mailing and voice messaging, DealMachine has its focus on the driving for dollars approach, but also some direct mailing features.
Its features help you pull up property data and owner contact information while driving for dollars.
Should you be on the road scouting properties, you can just take a picture of any property and DealMachine can immediately look up the address, liens, purchase history, and the owner’s name and contact information.
If you then want you can have the app send a postcard to the property owner.
Another helpful feature is the route tracking one, where the app will help you prevent driving the same street twice.
The price for DealMachine is between $49 per month to $2990 per year.
Check it out here
Functionality-wise, Realeflow offers a bit more than PropStream.
Apart from similar direct mailing marketing features, it also allows you to source, rehab, fund, and list deals in one place.
Pricing starts at $75 per month for the lite version and goes up to $175 per month for the team version. With this pricing model, it is likely a serious competitor to PropStream.
Another serious competitor is REIPro, which is also a centralized platform tailored toward real estate investors.
The only reason why I wouldn’t call it an all in one marketing and lead generation platform is that it doesn’t include custom websites (landing pages).
But it includes other features such as a property lookup (finding leads for prospecting), offer and contract templates, automated follow-ups (CRM functionality), access to recorded property sales, document management, marketing campaigns (mainly direct mailing), and task management.
Pricing starts at a monthly cost of $97 and goes up to $197, depending on the number of users you will need.
Check it out here).
Bonus Tip: How to Find Distressed Properties on PropStream
Let’s say you are looking for distressed properties in Miami.
In PropStream, you just go to the search bar in the top area and type in “Miami”, and PropStream will display all types of properties in this area.
They will be automatically categorized in properties that are MLS listings, Pre-foreclosures, auctions, foreclosures, cash buyers, properties with liens, vacant properties, and high equity properties.
To find the distressed properties, we would rather select the category “liens” (properties with liens) because there is not yet that much competition than for pre-foreclosure properties.
What you can also do is layer the different categories.
As the first search filter you could, for example, select vacant properties, then add another filter such as tax liens and then add high equity as the last filter (e.g. 60% equity).
This selection would show you only properties that are first vacant, have tax liens and also have equity of at least 60%.
By doing that, you can narrow your search pretty well and get a great selection of distressed properties.
Once you click on one of the search results, you will get a detailed view of the respective property and check, for example, in the “Opportunity” box (one of the most important areas) what the estimated equity, the monthly rent, the mortgage balance, and the liens amount are.
You can do even more advanced types of searches for distressed properties by applying more filters.
For instance, you can tell the search filter to find you a property with a lien, that is for a single family, that is not on the market, individually owned, and that now has a tax lien of $15,000 or more against the property and has a certain amount of equity in it at the same time.
Check out the following video for a more in-depth tutorial about PropStream: