As the saying goes, successful real estate investing is about 3 things: location, location, location. But it’s one thing to identify attractive areas – here at Long Game Investing, we’re quite good at identifying opportune locations down to the zip code level. Successfully finding and evaluating individual properties is the final step. Mashvisor is a fairly new website – and as far as we know, the first – that attempts to provide a search tool that automatically evaluates individual investment properties for traditional rental or vacation rental through Airbnb. We tried it. Here’s what happened…
How does it work?
Mashvisor uses its proprietary model to fold together comp data from external sources, including actual listings from Airbnb. For each property, it estimates cap rate and cash on cash return for both traditional – i.e., renting out your property to a long-term tenant – or using Airbnb to rent it out like a quasi-hotel. The model takes into account everything that a real estate investor would want to consider when evaluating a property – rental rates, vacancy, maintenance expenses, insurance, taxes, homeowners association dues, etc. You can take their word for it, or customize pro forma income calculations with your own assumptions. The search tool also offers the ability to view heat maps of different areas, much like we do in our newsletter.
Mashvisor’s search tool allows you to peruse a list of properties within the search area. There is an option to export this data to a CSV, which includes the following:
- Home Type (SFR, Condo, etc)
- Listing Price
- Lot Size
- Year Built
- Parking Spots
- Days on Market
- Recent Reduction Date
- Original Listing Price
- MLS ID
- Airbnb Cash on Cash
- Airbnb Cap Rate
- Traditional Cash on Cash
- Traditional Cap Rate
Beware, however, that the number of CSV exports is limited to a fixed number per month.
Once you’ve honed in on a certain property, clicking on it will take you to Mashvisor’s analysis results, including a pro-forma income statement, analysis of the neighborhood, and comparable listings on external websites. A nice feature is that Mashvisor allows you to create a custom report and save it to PDF, essentially capturing all the same information, but eliminating the need to go back to the website later to reference the results.
Currently Mashvisor offers a Basic plan for $23.99/mo. Professional and Expert plans are also available for $39.99/mo and $71.99/mo. These rates are only available if you sign up on a quarterly basis. The month-to-month rates are roughly double. The main different among the plans is the number of CSV exports that are permitted each month. The Expert plan offers priority customer service.
How well does it work?
It seems that Mashvisor is still in “Beta,” but the search tool does work well for finding individual properties, even if the site is a bit clunky. It’s great for searching within a selected area once you’ve targeted the area. However, the heatmap function is very crude and often crashes when trying to view a large area or move the map. Currently the heatmap functionality is practically useless.
For the traditional rental estimates, Mashvisor uses data from “existing rental properties which are taken from websites such as HotPads, Rent Jungle, and other reliable sources.” Based on our comparisons with other sources, the rental rates reported by Mashvisor seem exceedingly high, sometimes double or triple what Zillow predicts. It’s not clear if there is a glitch in the math that takes into account vacancy data, or if there’s something else going on. Our recommendation at this time is to ignore the data “traditional” rental rates.
The Airbnb data on Mashvisor is “taken directly from Airbnb.” Since this data is directly from Airbnb, which reports nightly rates and occupancy, these numbers would seem to be more reliable.
All in all, Mashvisor is a nice tool, with a lot of potential if it can shake off the limitations associated with the “Beta” version. To identify attractive areas, continue to subscribe to our Newsletter. If you’re considering purchasing a property to rent out on Airbnb, give Mashvisor a look.