The home sale price of various homes can give you a lot of information. Whether you are in the market to buy in the area or you want to know the value in your current area, finding out home sales prices can be a valuable resource.
Luckily, the home sale prices are public record. How you access those records may differ by county. Below we show the various methods you can use to access the information.
Searching the Courthouse
The most traditional way to get your hands on public records is to visit the local courthouse. Some counties hold their records at the county recorder’s office or another county official office. A quick phone call to your county assessor will give you the information you need.
At the county office, you’ll need access to the property’s deed as well as the title search. This way you know the amount the home sold for as well as the amount of the mortgage on the property. This can help you if you are in the market to buy a home. Knowing how much the seller borrowed initially can help you know if they have a large mortgage to satisfy based on the amount of time they’ve owned the home or if they are debt free. This can play a role in how much you offer. Sellers with a large mortgage will obviously want top dollar for their home. Sellers with no mortgage or a low mortgage may be more willing to negotiate.
Many counties today provide access to public record information online through the county recorder’s office. You should be able to search for the information free of charge. But, the county may charge a nominal fee for you to view it once it’s found.
Typically, all you need to gain access to the information is the property address. You should be able to pull up information regarding the last date of sale and the amount the paid for the home. You may have access to the amount of the mortgage(s) on the property and a history of the sales price of the home.
You may also be able to obtain a sales history from the county treasurer’s website. Again, you’ll need the property address to access the information. The county treasurer will provide information regarding the home’s assessed value, amount of taxes owed/paid, and the sales history of the home.
Ways to Use the Information
If you are in the market to buy a home, knowing the sales history of the home can help you make a proper bid. From the sales history you can tell how long the current owner owned the home. You can also tell how much he/she owes on the home.
If you see that the owner is free and clear of mortgage debt, they may be willing to accept a slightly lower price for the home. They don’t have any looming debts they must pay upon selling the home. A seller with a large mortgage, on the other hand, may need every penny to satisfy that debt.
You may also be able to tell if the home is a short sale. If the asking price is close to or less than the seller owes on the home, chances are the bank is allowing a short sale. This means the bank will accept a specific amount that is less than the borrower owes and will satisfy the lien. While buying a short sale can save you money as the buyer, it can be a long, tedious process, so knowing ahead of time can help you prepare.
If you can’t find the information that you need through the county on your own, a real estate agent or even the various real estate websites, such as Zillow and Redfin may provide the answers you need. The key is to get as much information about a home’s history before you put a bid on it. This way you can tailor your bid to the needs of the seller so that you have a better chance of the seller accepting your bid.Click to See the Latest Mortgage Rates»