Investigate a Home Before You Buy: 3 Ways to Use Public Records

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An investment in a new home is a major commitment. Use public records to guide your financial decision. Find out how.  

Utilizing a public records database can yield you a lot of insight as a prospective homebuyer. As of 2018, the median price for a new home was right at $324,800, which is most definitely a substantial amount of money to invest in a place to live. If you have made the decision that it is time to buy a new home, it is always in your financial best interest to make sure the home is what it seems before you make an offer. Check out some of the ways you can use public records to make a safe buying decision.

1. Find out who lived at the address previously.

You can use public info databases to look up information about people, yes, but you can also gather data relative to a specific address. One thing that you can do on many public records sites is key in an address and find out the names of other people who have lived in or owned the home previously. Once you have names, you can look at things like criminal records to make sure the home was not the site of illegal activity or anything that you would not want to have associated with your new home.

2. Find out how you can contact previous owners.

By tracking down contact information using a public info database, you can oftentimes get in touch with the previous owners. Talking to people who lived in the house before can be a hugely valuable thing. You can ask about:

  • If there were any problems with the home while they lived in it
  • If there were problematic neighbors in the area
  • If there are any concerns about the utility services the house will be using

Sometimes just a short chat with a previous owner is all it will take to help you decide if a home you are looking at buying is a worthy investment.

3. Find out how many times the property has changed hands.

Online, you have access to some public info sites that will give you information about property registrations and property titles. This kind of info can show you just how many owners a home has had over the last several years. Of course, just because a home has been bought and sold a few times does not always mean that there’s something wrong with the property. However, a home that has been bought and sold several times in a short time frame could be indicative of an unseen problem. For example, buyers may decide to sell quickly because there is criminal activity in the neighborhood or an unruly neighbor.

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