Mike Genstil has a goal to make online property analytics as commonplace in real estate searches as mapping tools and photos.
A former production manager for Adobe, Genstil has built online tools that function as a sort of next-generation finance calculator in allowing professional investors and average home buyers to gauge monthly expenses in deciding whether a property is a good investment.
The eRealAnalyzer tools, available at the ERealInvestor.com site and on other real estate-related sites, including Condo.com, are a sampling of the online real estate tools available to home shoppers of all stripes.
Launched last year, eRealInvestor and the related tools stem from Genstil’s own work in real estate investing.
Other sites, too, are catering to investors by offering tools to assess market conditions and weight property investment decisions.
Krunching.com, an investment-focused site that combines for-sale property information from multiple listing services with detailed analytical tools such as cash flow and rental comparables, was launched by a technologist who has dabbled in real estate investing (see Inman News article).
Another site launched this year, REmapper.com offers market statistics and forecasts down to the size of individual Census blocks. That site was also developed by a longtime real estate investor (see Inman News article). There are also networking sites, such as the Black Widow Network, that seek investors as members (see Inman News article).
Genstil said that the intent for ERealInvestor and the ERealAnalyzer tools is to save time for buyers and sellers and agents by allowing site users to view and adjust various financing variables to determine if a property is the right fit.
When users choose to analyze properties, the site tools ask whether the user is interested in purchasing a property for investment or to live in, and is a glossary of terms and definitions listed on the site to help guide users through the process in evaluating properties.
The site has a visual interface that allows users to adjust offering price, down payment, a loan interest rate, a property appreciation rate, property taxes and monthly maintenance costs by sliding an on-screen bar using the mouse pointer. Users can also choose to manually type in an amount for each category.
As the various data points are entered, other variables can change based on the selection. Key metrics at the site include the offering price as a percentage of asking price, the price per square foot, the ordinary income taxes dedicated and total monthly expenses. Charts show property equity over time, as well as pre-tax monthly payments over time and post-tax monthly payments over time.
"I thinking the timing is actually perfect" for the launch of the tools, said Genstil. "Everybody — sellers, buyers and agents — are thinking a lot more about numbers these days." The tools can simplify the purchase process by empowering users to understand "the full spectrum of the value the property could attain," he said.
ERealInvestor has pushed out its analytical tools to a range of Web sites through partnerships — all of the properties at the Condo.com site offer eRealAnalyzer tools for users, and the HomeVestors franchise network, which buys homes and resells them to investors and others, also use the tools.
The company also has partnered with real estate technology companies such as Birdview Technologies to associate the analytical tools with more agents’ and brokers’ listings. These licensing agreements can vary in price.
The site powers property analysis tools featured at the Wall Street Journal’s online real estate site, and the company offers similar tools to mortgage professionals.
It’s free to register at the eRealInvestor site, and the site offers advanced tools to investors at a cost of $9.95 a month or $59.95 a year that allow them to enter and analyze their own portfolio of properties, for example.
Real estate agents and brokers can submit properties for display at the eRealInvestor site at no charge. The property has a self-serve online process for those who want to add properties one at a time, Genstil said, and brokers and agents can contact the company for information about sending bulk feeds of property data.
"Agents want to make a property accessible and attractive to as many buyers as possible," he said. Property listings at the site offer a button that allows users to contact property sellers directly.
Genstil said there are plans for instructional videos at the site and for regular Webinars to help educate site users about the analytical tools.