....and maybe some things you don't want to know.
I always tell my homebuyers to find out as much about a property as possible before jumping into a purchase and sale. Now, while I'm mainly talking about the home inspection there are ways to find out literally everything about a particular property. Sites like HouseFax and Netronline are just a couple that will research everything about a particular property and give you insights as to past documents, photos and any damage to the home.
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HouseFax offers reports on a particular property so that homebuyers know exactly what they're getting into. It was originally started in 2002 after a homebuyer suffered the ill effects of mold growing in a home that had once been flooded. The founder felt that homebuyers needed a better understanding of the property before they finalize the purchase. The company offers the first property history report for free and each consecutive one at just nine dollars each. It includes property details, any past building permits, records of carbon monoxide or damage to the house such as from natural disasters or drug-related damage.
The Bureau of Land Management has over 5 million federal land title records and the public is able to bring up original documents and images of land signings all the way back to 1820. It includes survey plat maps, land patents and field notes on particular properties and boundary lines. Information is easily searchable with the state name and the patentee or even smaller details about the property such as Township number and survey number. However, not every state offers this option even though you are free to check with public records and state archives.
NETROnline streamlines the research process on a particular home making it easier to obtain documents needed for inspection. This site allows access to environmental records dating back to the 1920s. There are different features such as historic aerial photos and is in a sense a type of virtual Time Machine allowing homebuyers to enter in the location and see what it looks like not only today but going back in time if possible.
If you're really adventurous you might check out the site DiedinHouse.com which is exactly as it sounds. If someone is died in a particular home if there have been previous fires on the property or if the home is been used in a meth lab, you'll be able to find out that information on this website. It cost about $12 for each search and gives you an instant report the pulls data from different providers. The report also goes on for about 30 days and will continue to update you if anything new is found.
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If you really want to find out everything about a property there are ways to do it. Newer properties and subdivisions usually won't have a lot of history but the land itself in the area may be chocked full of valuable information.
For more information about learning as much about your home as possible contact my office today and I would be happy to do some preliminary research and find out the value of your home or if you're interested in a particular area around Portland.