By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine
Purchasing a home is often the biggest financial investment your customers will make, so opting to have a “background check” conducted on a property before deciding to buy is becoming more commonplace.
Databases and companies have been surfacing in recent months that set out to give buyers a full picture of a home’s history or area around it.
For example, the Realtors Property Resource, which started rolling out in 2010, is an online real estate library–only available to National Association of REALTOR® members–that provides in-depth property information of nearly every property in the country. It includes public record information, prior transactions, notice of default, foreclosure data, flood plain maps, demographics, zoning restrictions, liens, permits, school district information, and more. You can use the information to create custom reports to distribute to your clients so they can make informed decisions about a property.
Another home-background check company, BuildFax, compiles reports for real estate professionals, appraisers, and customers that can even show you the age of the home’s roof, plumbing, electrical, air conditioning, and heating systems. It also provides details about the home’s remodel or repair history, as well as the dates and scopes of projects done and even the contractors who did the work. The reports also can help sellers prepare accurate disclosures for the property prior to listing it for-sale.
The company charges about $40 per analysis, but it’s offering a free report to consumers through Aug. 31, in case you want to test it out.
Also, be sure to check out this month’s Architecture Coach column at REALTOR® Magazine online, Promoting a Home With a Past Life, about how sometimes uncovering a home’s back story can actually even become a selling point.