How do I find good comps for a subject property?

When searching for comps for a subject property using the Comp Analysis tool, it's smart to cast a wide net and then narrow your search results. Here are two tips for finding the best comps.

1) Relax your search parameters until you get good results.

In some areas, public records or listings data are limited, which can inadvertently restrict your search results if you search using certain parameters.

For example, in Lapeer County, MI, the public records property facts consist exclusively of acreage, so if you search for comps using living area as a parameter, the results will be very limited — restricted to properties for which listings data exist and therefore living area is noted. In other areas, an MLS may not supply or collect living area, so a comps search using living area as a parameter will be restricted to properties for which public records data exist. You can learn more about the differences between public records and listings data in comps searches here:

In addition, in locations without deed coverage, users searching for comps using the "sold within" criteria will see only sold listings in the search results.

If you run a comps search and get no results, you can relax or remove some criteria. For best results, start with very basic criteria and then narrow your results. In rural areas where public records are not detailed, you may want to start with a map search and use property status as your only criteria. 

2) Use the property status and timeframe parameters for a fine-tuned search.

The comp search tools include checkboxes for different property statuses: Active, Pending, Public Record (Off Market) and Under Contract. Use these to broaden or narrow your search results. Or, choose "Show All." Below the checkboxes is a dropdown control for timeframe: last week, last month, last three months, last six months, last 12 months or last 18 months, as well as checkboxes for Sold, Withdrawn, Expired or Cancelled status.



If you check "Show All," your comps search will include For Sale properties, Pending properties, Under Contract and Off Market properties. If you deselect those options, and instead select Expired, you will see only expired listings (but not other off market statuses like Withdrawn or Cancelled) within the timeframe you specify. If you add in Active and Pending, the results will include any current Active or Pending listings OR any listings that expired within the timeframe you specify.

Note that an expired listing that is on the market now will not be displayed as an active listing. For example, if you search Expired, your results will show as Off Market, even if there is a newer listing of the same property. The search returns Expired listings regardless of whether there is a current Active or Pending listing for the property.