9 steps to find the best condo investment opportunities

One of the goals I had this year was to buy my first apartment. Here is the process I followed to source the interesting opportunities within days in Chiang Mai.

View of Chiang Mai

This short guide is intended for beginners, especially if you don’t know where to start. I am myself a beginner and would be happy to discuss if you have some ideas to share.

1. Collect the data of the apartments for sale

Start by scraping the websites of the most important real estate agencies in the city you’re targeting, or directly a website aggregating ads. For each ad, you need to collect at least the price, the area, the URL and the name of the condo.

I personally have my own Chrome extension that I adapt when I need to complete such tasks. If you’re not familiar with web scraping, I recommend you to outsource it on a platform like Upwork.

2. Collect the data of the apartments for rent

Repeat the same process, this time to collect ads of apartments for rent. Instead of the sale prices, you will collect the monthly rents indicated in the ads.

3. Wrap it up in a spreadsheet

You have two sheets: one with the apartments for sale, and one for the apartments for rent. Make sure the names of the condos are normalized so you can group the data from the same condos in the next step.

4. Aggregate the data from the same condos

Create a new sheet that will display the average data per condo (you can use =AVERAGEIF).

For each condo that has enough data, you will obtain:

  • The average sale price
  • The average area for sale
  • The average monthly rent
  • The average area for rent

5. Calculate the sale prices per sqm

Sale price per sqm = average sale price / average sale area

6. Calculate the monthly rent prices per sqm

Monthly rent price per sqm = average monthly rent / average rent area

7. Calculate the rental yields

Rental yield = monthly rent prices per sqm * 12 / sale prices per sqm

Condos spreadsheet

8. Sort the condos by rental yield

Now you have the top condos ranked by profitability. Interesting, isn’t it?

9. Review the ads of the top condos manually

Of course, this sourcing process helps you find good opportunities faster but ignores plenty of criteria that can make a good deal or not. Also, it depends a lot on the quantity of data you can gather on each condo. Since it has its limits, I recommend not to overanalyze your data and move quickly to the manual analysis as soon as you have a short list.

For each of the top condo, take a look at the individual ads and see if you can indeed expect a good yield. Try to understand why it is above the average (What are the characteristics of the most profitable properties? Are there risks associated?).

Found an interesting offer? Time to pick up your phone!

Note: I wrote this article on a flight from Chiang Mai to Doha. Thank you Qatar Airways for being so great :)