April 22nd, 2017 6:40 AM by Jackie A. Graves
Once you've got
the basics, it's time to do a little more digging.
every home search starts online these days. Sorting through listings, photos,
floor plans and descriptions is a great way to feel out the market for
those who are in the earliest stages of the home search.
you find a home you’re ready to bid on, it’s incredible how much
background information you can find online. The Internet is full of data on
past home sales, recorded sales prices, and the history of each sale, plus
information that may not be as obvious — such as the safety of the neighborhood
you’re considering buying into.
are three ways to use online tools and real estate mobile apps to get more
details about the home you want.
all public information and documentation is now available online, and most municipalities
provide web access to building permit history. Although the law requires most sellers
to disclose previous work done on the property, there may be a
history of earlier work the seller didn’t know about.
example, if there is a newer bathroom or kitchen but no history of a permit for
the work, there is a chance someone did the work without a permit — and
potentially not to health or safety code. And if you become the owner, this
unpermitted work becomes your responsibility.
begin your search, type “building records,” plus your city’s name into your
favorite search engine. Example: “building records Seattle.”
an address using Google’s Street View can be one of the most revealing options
available. Street View provides a snapshot of a property at a particular moment
in time, which can provide insight into the recent history of the property or
aware, however, that the image you see may not accurately reflect the home’s
current state. For example, I helped a homeowner list and sell a home in San
Francisco’s Lower Haight neighborhood a few years back. We planted a beautiful
garden area to create a buffer between the sidewalk and the windows. But a
search for the property on Google Street View revealed the windows with bars on
them, and no garden. The previous owner had bars on the window, and someone had
removed the bars to make the property look more inviting.
the windows with bars on them in Google Street View could raise questions
for potential buyers: Is the neighborhood unsafe? Was there a history of crime
in the community or on the property? Are the street-level windows safe?
variety of crime reporting apps for mobile devices show on a map recent
crimes that have been reported, including assault, theft, robbery, homicide,
vehicle theft, sex offenders, and quality of life (which often means noise complaints).
It’s an easy way to get a quick overview of how safe or unsafe a neighborhood
much information is available to buyers these days. You don’t need to rely
solely on the seller’s or the real estate agent’s disclosures. Use online
resources to find out as much background information on a property as you
can, either before making an offer or during your contingency period. It is
best to do as much research as possible, in order to make an informed final
Brendon Desimone - To view the original article click here