Hotpads: A Slick Search Tool for Apartments, Rentals, Sublets and Roommates

[photopress:hotpads.jpg,full,alignright]Thanks to John Cook post on Real estate timeline debuts, I found the greatest site for Apartments, Rentals, Sublets and Roommates I have seen. provides users with the ability to find dwellings based on Density, Per Capita and Median Age/Renters/Rent. They even use census data to color code their maps based on this data. For the property owner they create listings on HotPads is free and easy! If you are a landlord, they eve send your listings to Oodle and Google Base.

HotPads currently uses census data to color code our map based on a few different statistics:

  • Population Density
  • Per Capita Income
  • Median Household Income
  • Median Age
  • Percent Renters
  • Median Rent

Here are some examples from Seattle: Seattle, WA

Per Capita Income

Household Income

Median Age

Percent Renters

Median Rent

Even though rail stations are not available in the Rain City yet, with HotPads maps you can see various points of interest that might help you decide where to live:

  • Subway and Train Stations
  • Public Schools
  • Private Schools
  • Universities


Points are added to the map with their nifty icons:



Train and Subway Stations

They are currently listing the following rail systems:

  • New York City Subway
  • Washington, DC Metro
  • Bay Area Rapid Transit
  • Bay Area’s Caltrain
  • Boston’s MBTA
  • Chicago’s El
  • Los Angeles County Metrorail
  • Denver’s Light Rail
  • Dallas’s DART
  • Miami-Dade County Metro

As John Cook pointed out (looks like Galen has added Shackprices‘ GREAT search to the list), their Real estate timeline is pretty cool too:


Multi-family investments – recommended reading

Generally I have an issue with most real estate books as they are usually advise on how to make a million dollars in 90-days or some similar hype. So it’s refreshing to come across the few books that are sound, practical advise on investing in real estate. The latest that I’ve read that fits into this practical advise category is The Complete Guide to Buying and Selling Apartment Buildings by Steve Berges.

Let’s face it, with high vacancy rates and low rents, multi-family hasn’t been a great place to invest the last few years in the Seattle area. But with the increasing prices of entry level homes, number of condo conversions removing units from existing inventory and the increased interest rates the rental market is seeing renewed demand. So where do you invest and how do you analyze the deal?

That’s why I like this book. Steve Berges doesn’t promise to make you a millionaire overnight. Instead he lays out tax planning, case studies and financial analysis examples that help you develop some investment strategies. I was a finance major in college, plus several years at Microsoft brainwashed me with the metrics mantra — if you can’t measure it, it doesn’t matter. So I really appreciated the financial analysis part of this book. Sample spreadsheets on how to calculate different ROI scenarios and determine the best investment among several properties.

This isn’t an exciting, feel-good rich dad, poor dad type of read. It’s practical advise on how to get into the game, analyze your investment and calculate your exit strategy. For anyone contemplating multi-family investments, I highly recommend this book.

One last note — don’t spend useless hours trying to recreate his spreadsheets from the book. I wasted several hours on that before realizing the obvious — all his analysis tools are available on Steve’s website