Thousand Lakes Realty
Eric Ristey

 Everyone knows that home sales are public record, but you might not know which pieces of information will or will not be listed in the public records. If you are planning to buy a home, make sure you do not overlook any key pieces of information. Sellers should be aware of the information available to their buyers. You do not want to be caught in a situation where the buyer knows more than you think.

 What Information Should Buyers Look Up?
Buyers should always check public records before putting in an offer on a home. The more information you can gather ahead of time, the better prepared you will be to make a fair offer. It is not uncommon for a seller to avoid disclosing publicly available information about the home. Often times, this omission might be unintentional, but knowing all the facts about a home can prevent future surprises.
 Searching through years of property records is not a simple task. Many buyers only check MLS records, which are useful but do not always tell the whole story. It is important to realize that property searches can also include unrelated pieces of information that happen to be public record.
 Marriages and divorces are two good examples of personal events that will become public record. In certain situations, this information can be of interest to buyers. For example, if you know that the owners of the home are getting a divorce, you know that they are probably motivated to sell the home quickly. This means that they could be willing to accept a lower offer if the timing is right.
 Another piece of information you should look up is how many times the property has been withdrawn from the market. Public records will list each time the home has been listed for sale. Buyers often feel it is a red flag for a home to sit on the market for a long time. If a home does not receive any acceptable offers, the seller will often withdraw their home from the market and try again at another time of year. Checking property records can let you know if a newly listed home is really being listed for the first time.
 Property records will also tell you how long the seller has owned the home and how much they owe on the property. An abnormally low loan balance can be a sign of a short sale. You can also find out if the property is in foreclosure or if the owner has recently filed for bankruptcy.
 All buyers will want to ensure that the appropriate permits were filed for if any improvements were made to the home. Knowing the home’s history can let you know what kind of problems to look out for and what kind of sale price you should expect.

 Where Can I Find These Records?
Most property records are maintained by county officials. In many cases, this job will fall to a department of the county courthouse, city hall, or the county recorder. Talk to these officials to find out how to look up property deeds in your community.
                                                 Until Next Time!

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