If you’re wondering about the price for which that house down the street sold or how much a relative paid for her new home, you don’t have to wonder any longer. Home sale prices are public record, and there are several ways to find property sales records.
An online search is usually the quickest way to find out a property's purchase price.
Perform an Online Search
By simply entering the address of the property on a website devoted to local property sales or on a national real estate website, you can find out the purchase price of a home or find out how much land sold for. Some localities may have their own laws about displaying such information on commercial sites, but if that’s the case, that doesn’t mean you are out of luck.
Your county’s website should have this data if you look for property tax information. An added bonus is that if you don’t know your new neighbor’s name, you can learn it via such a site or at least learn the name of the entity owning the property.
Along with the taxes on the home, you will find the record of the last date of sale and the amount for which it sold. You may find even more information about the property’s history, such as the current amount of the mortgage. The latter is also part of the public record, and many people may prove to be more curious about how large a loan a neighbor or other party took out to buy the house than they are about the purchase price itself. Many of these sites also include property history, so you can see how much various owners paid for the house over the years.
County or City Recording Office
Another way to determine the sale price of a property is by paying a visit to your county or city recording office. You can ask personnel there how to look up the information. Once the property’s deed is recorded, the public record is there for all interested parties to view. While there, you can conduct a title search, which not only gives you the information on the sale price but also reveals any mortgage data and any relevant tax or other liens. Keep in mind that simply asking for the purchase price information won’t cost you anything, but if you want copies of any of the documents, fees are likely to be charged.
Ask Your Real Estate Agent
If you’re working with a real estate agent or have a friend who is a realtor, you can ask him to look up the information for you. Real estate professionals can access the multiple listing service online, and in just seconds, they can retrieve the information you seek. There is an exception. Homes that were for sale by owner do not appear in the multiple listing service, nor do properties that changed hands in private transactions, such as a parent selling the house to a child.
If the real estate agent is familiar with your house, he may have a broad idea of what you can ask for your home if you intend to put it on the market.
Property Sales Records of Similar Homes
If you live in a neighborhood where the homes are quite similar, learning what a local home sold for can give you a good idea of what your own property is currently worth. Of course, just because your neighbors received a certain amount for their home doesn’t necessarily mean you can put your house on the market for the same amount, but it’s an excellent starting point. Comparables, usually referred to as “comps,” are what realtors and appraisers use to determine market value. However, other factors such as the condition of the house, any additions or extras and actual location also influence asking prices. The same development house on a quiet street may sell for more money than the house around the corner on a major highway.
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