How to Use Your Tax Assessor’s Site to Research Your Potential Real Estate Deals
When a motivated seller calls me, the first thing I do is pull up a couple of online tools while I have them on the phone.
I got in the habit of doing this a long time ago, and it really helps when I am speaking to someone for the first time. I also believe that this helps you to have a much more intelligent conversation with the person on the other end of the line.
The Tax Assessor’s Site
I love using our local tax assessor’s site which we refer to as the “PVA” or property valuation site. Just about any seasoned investor will be familiar with this site.
In some areas, you can get full access at no charge. In my area you can only get a few bits of information free. Just about every real estate investor has a paid subscription here which costs $30 per month. I can tell you that I use it just about every day. Here are just a few ways you can use the site.
Motivated Seller Calls
Whenever a motivated seller calls, the first thing I do is pull the house up so that I can take a look. One of my favorite things about this site is that there is a picture of the house. Just by looking at this picture and the neighborhood description I immediately know a lot about this property.
I will know –
- If it’s in a good area
- What the houses in the neighborhood look like
- The value it is being taxed on
- Whether there is a homestead exemption
If I am unsure of the area, there is also a detailed map on the site.
In addition to that, it has almost all of the property information-
- The square footage of the home
- A sketch of the property
- The number of bathrooms
- Information about the type of utilities
- Sewer/Septic information
- Whether or not it has a garage
- The type of foundation; crawl, slab or basement
- It also tells the dimensions of the property (which I almost never use)
One thing that is routinely incorrect is whether the house has central AC. I have found on older homes central air conditioning wasn’t installed a lot of times when the home was built, but it is an update they now have. This is something you will want to verify with the seller.
Property Tax Information
Our site has a direct link to the Sheriff’s department so you can see if this year’s property taxes have been paid. There is also another link to the site where you can determine if there are back taxes owed. So with one click, you can have all of this information while you have the seller on the phone.
Flood Plain Determination
This is one thing that will be useful in some areas, and totally irrelevant in others. Louisville is located on the Ohio River. And as strange as it might seem, these are not the only areas that you will have to be concerned with as far as flood insurance is concerned.
A property might be located near a stream or simply in a low lying area that is prone to flooding, so I always pull up the Flood Plain Determination site and verify that there is no problem with the location of this house.
There have been probably 5 or 6 instances when I have gotten an unpleasant surprise when there was no body of water within 15 miles of this house but it was till in a flood plain. Now assessing that information is just part of my regular process.
I’m a big believer in using all the tools available to you in your business. So check out the tax assessor’s site for sure, and familiarize yourself with the flood plain determination procedure if that is a concern in your area.
I made a quick video on just how our site works. Check it out here.
I’m curious: do you pull the tax assessor’s site whenever you speak to a motivated seller?
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