August 17, 2018
Shopping for a new home is time intensive. Thankfully, you can reduce some of the legwork by using these three easy ways to research properties without leaving your chair.
Google Street View
Google street view will let you take a virtual walk through your potential neighborhood using real images captured via satellite and Google cars. While the images may be slightly dated, you’ll still gain a clearer understanding of what the neighborhood looks like on a typical day. You can also check the surrounding area and get an idea of how the area is growing. Just enter the address and click on “satellite view.”
Most public records are available online through your city website. There you can find building records, tax assessments, appraisal information, historical records, etc. Pay special attention to any upgrades seller’s disclose that you can’t find a building record for. If construction has been completed on the home without a building permit, then it may not meet safety code standards, and once your purchase the home, you’re completely responsible for any construction that’s not up to code.
Check for local crime records, safety statistics, school zones, neighborhood value, projected investment trends for the area, etc. This is a paid service, but the data provided is extensive, and it’s all in one place. Trulia offers a free overview of recent crime activity and school zones, but you’ll need to do some additional research to find anything beyond that.