As the Curbed staff well-explained, “the ability to find the sales price of neighboring homes, search for listings in a given school zone, and take virtual tours of a property has made the internet both an essential and overwhelming house-hunting resource“. Inspired by them, this time The Most Expensive Homes will share with you some great tips on how to internet-stalk a home and learn about your prospective real estate deal before you move in. TAKE A LOOK!
It’s a simple first step, but be sure to check the news tab as it may reveal past happenings in or around the property.
One of the most helpful features of such sites is that many track the listing history of a property so you can see how much it sold for in the past in relation to previous asking prices and how long it’s been on the market. Online listing sites like Trulia, Zillow, Streeteasy, and Realtor.com should be used for more than just perusing properties.
Checking the deed is a good step for hopeful homebuyers who want to go beyond the price history provided on listing websites. You’ll likely need to know the legal description of the property, its official address, and the subdivision lot number before you start. All deed transactions are recorded at local county courthouses in the Register of Deeds, and it’s common to find them digitized online.
Your local buildings department not only does it offer an online database of building permits filed for renovations or any major changes to a building, it will show which permits have been approved and issued.
Use AddressReport for general information —like neighborhood demographics and property values— the site tracks construction projects as well as any violations that may have been issued against the property or complaints reported. If you see repeated mice complaints, it’s probably not a good sign.
Perhaps the best place to start is NextDoor, a free neighborhood-based forum for folks to discuss everything from local events to real estate and crime. For a numbers-based breakdown of a neighborhood, try NeighborhoodScout, which takes an address and provides a full report of the local real estate, demographics, crime, school, and home value trends. Facebook is also a great tool, as many people host neighborhood groups on the site.
Some cities like New York track the worst of them in an official capacity. The city’s public advocate lists them here. There’s also a crop of new websites designed to review landlords, including Rate My Landlord, Review My Landlord and Whose Your Landlord [sic]. While these shouldn’t be thought of as official reviews, it’s a good place to start your landlord research.