using GIS to find vacant land parcels

8 Replies

is anyone familiar with using GIS to locate vacant lots for sale. I'm currently trying to use the GIS located on county websites but have had minimal luck. Any specific strategies would be great. Thanks

@Ross Benedict    give me the website and I will play around with it for you. BTW I give away alot but u give away all the secrets, lol. GIS is something that's helped me a ton.

@Jeremy Tillotson   lol just trying to learn as much as possible at this point. More than anything just trying to find programs that I don't have to pay for. Any suggestions on the best ones? Also is it even possible to use these to find lots for sale, or are they more a tool for looking at past sales. Feel free to email, and thanks again for taking the time to field my questions

[email protected]

@Ross Benedict  I suspect you will find the availability and functionality of the tools available will vary greatly county by county.  For example, in the counties surrounding where I live a couple of their sites are very useful, others not so much.  I've also found that while two different counties may use the same software - they may not have the same features enabled.

I've found that a Google search for "<county name> appraisal district" will often get you to the right county web site.  Then once on the site, I poke around for anything that hints a a look up function (by owner, address, property #, etc.)  For example if you know the address of a particular property you can usually look it up.   Then once the detail for a specific property is displayed, there is often a "GIS" or "Map" menu option that will display the property (outlined) on a county map.  Most sites I've ran across allow either a map / street view or an aerial view.  Also, most have a "layers" feature where you can check a box to show roads, city limit boundaries, etc.

Often, once you've got the GIS map displayed, you can scroll around the area and click with other property boundaries to display details on that property such as the county APN#, owner, etc.  Using this info you can then search for additional detail for that property.

Often the county will use various codes for types of property, etc.  Many times there is a menu pick on the main appraiser site to find out what the codes mean.  Other times I've been able to Google"<county name> <filed name for the code. codes" and find a link to the information.   lastly, a call or visit to the County Appraisal office can yield helpful hints as to how to access the information you need.  Last week I stopped by our county's Appraisal office, took and number and waited in line, then spoke with a young lady who (while very nice)  real didn't have much more than a basic understanding of how to navigate the county site.  But when asked her if she knew of someone in the Appraisal office IT or data department that might help me figure out how I might be able to search for particular property types - she quickly game me the office phone # and e-mail for someone who has since provided a wealth of info.

Hope this helps with possible approached what you are looking for.

@Ross Benedict I have not done much investigation into other states' GIS portals, but in CT, none of the towns afford you the ability to search the database for anything other than by address or owner's name. That being said, if the town has a GIS website, that means that they have a file that is accessible through a tool such as ArcGIS. ESRI offers a free version of the software (ArcGIS Explorer http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/explorer) that has the very advanced features trimmed, but will allow you to view the map on your computer and search the database more thoroughly than your town/city/county GIS website will. That's the easy part.

What might prove more difficult is obtaining the actual file from your town. I am in the fortunate position of being a university student developing a project to make available all town GIS databases for CT parcels in the name of advancing surveying and civil engineering. You would need your own story. Some town/city engineering departments may be receptive to a real estate investor, but you may need some fluff to convince others, even though this is all public record.

If you are able to obtain the files, PM me and I would love to help guide you through how to extract the information that you want. I would love to put together a tutorial on YouTube for the benefit of you and the community at large.

(860) 428-2185

Greetings Ryan. Many thanks for GIS info. It is an angle that is worth investigating, especially in gathering info of land. From what little I know, I think you'll be surprised at how different REI is in Canada, (and you'll be glad you're a USA citizen). Real Estate info here is not public record like it is in USA, although Relator Agents have more access to info. I believe that it is a confidentiality law, but I'm not certain.

Congratulations on our engagement. Wishing your great success in all of your endeavors.  Ross

@Jeremy Tillotson  

Allen County's system sucks. No nice way to say it! Beacon is so much easier in neighboring counties.

Originally posted by @Ross McKenzie :

Greetings Ryan. Many thanks for GIS info. It is an angle that is worth investigating, especially in gathering info of land. From what little I know, I think you'll be surprised at how different REI is in Canada, (and you'll be glad you're a USA citizen). Real Estate info here is not public record like it is in USA, although Relator Agents have more access to info. I believe that it is a confidentiality law, but I'm not certain.

Congratulations on our engagement. Wishing your great success in all of your endeavors.  Ross

 Ross,

In many provinces, tax assessments and sales history are available on-line from the provincial land registry.  Typically the publicly available information is anonymous - property X at civic address Y sold in 2009 for $Z and is presently assessed at $AA.

Additional information is often available - (used by real estate brokers, lawyers, and municipalities) - via a paid subscription.

1(506) 471-4126

Thanks Roy,

Ross

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