How to Find Comps When Buying or Selling Real Estate

How to Find Comps When Buying or Selling Real Estate

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In the fast-paced real estate industry, investors rely on “comps” to determine fair market value.

Real estate comps, short for “comparables,” are recently sold properties that share similar characteristics with the property you want to buy or sell. Comps provide valuable insights into current market trends and help you make informed decisions as a real estate investor.

But where and how do you find real estate comps? Here are four effective ways.

4 Ways to Find Real Estate Comps

  1. Physical search: Gain a feel for the local real estate market by physically exploring the neighborhoods and areas where you are interested in buying or selling property. Pay attention to “For Sale” and “Sold” signs as you walk or drive through the neighborhood. Note properties that have recently sold; these will be potential comps. This approach lets you observe properties firsthand and understand the characteristics that might impact their value.
  2. Internet search: The internet provides a powerful tool for finding real estate comps. Websites like Zillow, Redfin,, and Trulia offer comprehensive databases of recent property sales, with detailed information about sale prices, square footage, and property features. Filter properties based on your desired location and property type to find comps that closely match your target property. One caveat: While these sites offer valuable information, it’s essential to cross-check the data with other sources for accuracy.
  3. Work with a real estate agent: Licensed real estate agents are an invaluable resource for finding comps. They have access to detailed property information, historical data, and up-to-date listings through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). With their real estate industry expertise and extensive knowledge of the local market, an agent can quickly identify relevant comparables and help you accurately interpret the data.
  4. Public property records: A wealth of data about property sales and transfers can be found in public property records. Most cities and states maintain online databases where the information can be accessed for free. These records typically include a property’s sale prices, square footage, dates of sale, and additional property features.

When looking for comparables, consider the following:

  • Stay within a quarter to a half-mile radius of your property. Nearby properties are more likely to have similar features and market value.
  • Focus on sales that have occurred within the past three to six months. Older sales data may not accurately reflect current market conditions.
  • Ensure properties you select are similar in square footage, layout, features, and condition for accurate comparison and valuation.

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