If you have used any popular home search tool to browse for homes, you have likely noticed the property’s sale history section. At a surface level, this section simply details the date(s) the property has changed hands and for what price. While these two data points are valuable by themselves, when combined with additional public data a buyer has the potential to unlock even more meaningful insights, uncover red flags and enjoy the confidence of a more informed buying decision! In fact, there are many helpful ways to use the publicly available property data to your advantage as a buyer - especially when combining multiple data points to arrive at some helpful conclusions when looking into a home.
The sale history that is exposed on most home search websites is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a property’s publicly available records. In fact, it’s quite surprising how much information is recorded when a property is sold or undergoes a major change such as a renovation, addition or upgrade. In almost all cases (when done correctly), a large amount of information is required to be recorded with the county or city - which is where savvy buyers can find their potential advantages or even use it to help choose a neighborhood.
As mentioned earlier, the sale data is important but doesn’t come close to telling the full story. Taking the sales history data one step further and, for example, by looking at who has bought and subsequently sold the property over time - and perhaps going even one step further to the permit or building history - you can start to uncover some incredibly valuable insights that may inform (or transform) your buying decision. It can also give you hints as to where to focus your diligence efforts, which can be the difference between a sound purchase and a dud!
To demonstrate the power of combining only a few data points, consider the table below which contains the sale and permit information for a single property:
Generally speaking, there are reasonable conclusions that can be drawn when taking a closer look at a property’s public record. The trick is knowing where to look and how to piece together the information, so as to give yourself an advantage as a buyer.
At ZeroDown, we are on a mission to arm home buyers with all the information they’ll need to find their dream home and to buy it with certainty. We are a group of real estate experts and technology gurus who have developed many tools, like Sherlock Homes, our data driven home diligence companion to help buyers navigate the buying process and effortlessly complete the public record analysis like the one in the example above (and others) - for free!
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