Before you purchase a home, it is essential to do your research. After all, you want to know as much information about the home as possible to ensure that it is safe and won’t throw any unpleasant surprises at you. This includes professional home inspections and checking a home’s public records.

Thankfully, many of the details of a home are public and can easily be found in person or even on the internet with the right resources.

What Records To Look For

When researching a home, it is highly recommended to research the following public records:

You can also determine if work was done on the property without a permit that could affect the square footage, price, and other details of the home. It is also recommended to research the neighborhood the home is in to make sure it is an area that meets your needs and is safe. The location of the home has a big impact on its value.

Check The Local City Or County Department

Your local city or county department like the courthouse is an excellent way to check a home’s public records like lien and tax information. While these records are public, you may have to fill out some paperwork and a knowledgeable employee will help you with your search.

Take Advantage Of Reputable Internet Resources

If you are not able to see a home’s public records online, reputable home search sites like Zillow and Realtor will have details like foreclosures, past selling prices, and improvements to the home listed. Just remember to tread carefully here—information on a home may not be up to date, so double check.

Ask Your Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent is an excellent resource for checking a home’s public records and understanding what you need to keep an eye out for. They have access to their own in-depth resources like:

  • MLS data
  • Tax assessor records
  • Title company databases

For MLS especially, when realtors become a realtor, they must activate their license and join their local MLS service so they can access property details, analyze market trends, and see home listings before they go on the market.

When researching a potential home, don’t be shy. Simply ask your agent and local courthouse or other appropriate party about the steps needed to access a home’s public record.

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The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for full eligibility requirements on tax deduction.