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slyphoxj

join:2002-06-23
Brook Park, OH
Reviews:
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Is there a service like Carfax, but for homes (HouseFax)?

I'm looking for my first home, and I'm wondering... is there a service out there like Carfax, but for homes (Housefax?) I'd like to go online, plug in an address and see info such as:

• All the title transfers since the house was built (my county auditor's site only goes back to 1975)
• Any fires, basement floodings, if anyone died in the home
• Any building code violations
• Was the home foreclosed, abandoned, etc.?
• Recent crimes in the neighborhood and any recent calls the cops have made to the address. I'd like to see at a glance if there's any drug, prostitution or gang activity or an unusually high occurrence of break-ins and auto thefts/break-ins.

I've used Zillow and can get title transfer and tax info for a property from my county auditor's website, but is there a one-stop source to get all of this info?



CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

4 edits

Not to get all of that and in this day and age - you will be hard pressed to start a service like that. Most of the info would have to come from newspapers and it is only fairly recently that newspapers have a online presence and the chance they have all of their news online from pre-1975 will be so incredibly nil it is not funny.

You can find out about former owners and title transfers online with the county real estate office. Most have the records back 10 or so years. As you have found - not all records are online and the auditors office is the ONLY real place to get the info.

The agent selling the house should know of foreclosures on a house they are trying to sell. Local city offices might have code violations - not sure why past code violations would be a concern.

The non-emergency police number should put you in touch with someone who can find out about the neighborhood. Frankly - neighborhoods were prostitution and drugs are a problem - it is usually clearly visible in the type of neighborhood it is.

Newspapers would be the only place to find out about deaths but then again - not sure why this would be an issue. If the house is 25+ years old - a decent change ANY house would have a death in it.

There are some real estate websites that have stats about a community in general - I would imagine Zillow would have access or a local real estate office should have access.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain



no_one

@qwest.net
reply to slyphoxj

One thing I did was when I was in the market for a house is drive by any potential houses at random times during the day and night. Plus cruise the neighborhood around the house at the same time.
Going out at 10 or 12 at night will show a lot of things sometimes.
Also going out at seven or eight at night and everyone is locked inside with closed doors means stuff also. Either retirement homes, snobby, or so dangerous no one uses a front yard.
May rule out a home or a whole neighborhood.



no_one

@qwest.net
reply to slyphoxj

One thing I did was when I was in the market for a house is drive by any potential houses at random times during the day and night. Plus cruise the neghborhood around the house at the same time.
Going out at 10 or 12 at night will show a lot of things sometimes.
Also going out at seven or eight at night and everyone is locked inside with closed doors means stuff also. Either retirement homes, snobby, or so dangerous no one uses a front yard.
May rule out a home or a whole neighborhood.


bkjohnson
Premium
join:2002-05-22
Birmingham, AL
Reviews:
·Charter
reply to slyphoxj

Are you going to have a mortgage? Typically, mortgage lenders require title insurance, which protects them in the event of a title defect. Title insurance companies usually do a pretty good title search. It might be good to find out if the title policy also protects you.


Hesher
Premium
join:2002-09-26
Sycamore, IL
reply to slyphoxj

I'm sorry, but why do you care about something before 1975? That's 35 years ago!


slyphoxj

join:2002-06-23
Brook Park, OH
Reviews:
·ObiVoice
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·magicjack.com
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said by Hesher:

I'm sorry, but why do you care about something before 1975? That's 35 years ago!
I'm not so sure that I'd take a house if something horrible happened in it (someone died in a house fire, violent crime that happened in the house, etc.), even it was decades ago.



Kilroy
Premium,MVM
join:2002-11-21
Saint Paul, MN

said by slyphoxj:

I'm not so sure that I'd take a house if something horrible happened in it (someone died in a house fire, violent crime that happened in the house, etc.), even it was decades ago.
This ain't the movies. Plus you'll never know if it was built on an ancient Indian burial ground until its too late any way.

Probably the best way to find out is talk to the neighbors. If anything bad happened they would probably know.
--
When will the people realize that with DRM they aren't purchasing anything?

slyphoxj

join:2002-06-23
Brook Park, OH
Reviews:
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reply to CylonRed

said by CylonRed:

Not to get all of that and in this day and age - you will be hard pressed to start a service like that. Most of the info would have to come from newspapers and it is only fairly recently that newspapers have a online presence and the chance they have all of their news online from pre-1975 will be so incredibly nil it is not funny.

You can find out about former owners and title transfers online with the county real estate office. Most have the records back 10 or so years. As you have found - not all records are online and the auditors office is the ONLY real place to get the info.

The agent selling the house should know of foreclosures on a house they are trying to sell. Local city offices might have code violations - not sure why past code violations would be a concern.

The non-emergency police number should put you in touch with someone who can find out about the neighborhood. Frankly - neighborhoods were prostitution and drugs are a problem - it is usually clearly visible in the type of neighborhood it is.

Newspapers would be the only place to find out about deaths but then again - not sure why this would be an issue. If the house is 25+ years old - a decent change ANY house would have a death in it.

There are some real estate websites that have stats about a community in general - I would imagine Zillow would have access or a local real estate office should have access.
Ah well... I think it would be cool if someone could figure out a way to easily gather and compile this info and offer a "Housefax" like service.

The info I'm most concerned about is whether or not the basement has ever flooded (possibility of expensive hidden issues) and the likelihood that the basement will flood again (or flood for the first time) during the time I will own the house.

Also, if there's ever been a fire in the place, there's the possibility of expensive, hidden structural or other issues that may pop up, depending on how well the fire damage was fixed.

If a home inspector knows this info before doing the inspection, (s)he would know to look more deeply for potential issues caused by these calamities.


Kilroy
Premium,MVM
join:2002-11-21
Saint Paul, MN

said by slyphoxj:

The info I'm most concerned about is whether or not the basement has ever flooded (possibility of expensive hidden issues) and the likelihood that the basement will flood again (or flood for the first time) during the time I will own the house.
There is no way to get this information, if it isn't reported. There is no good way to determine if a basement will flood, if it hasn't already.

Get a home inspector. They will be able to see evidence of water damage in the basement. If the basement has a sump pump and there is water damage, it is a possibility that the pump failed and that was the cause of the water. As long as there is a sump pump I wouldn't worry about water in the basement too much. If there isn't one make sure you have enough money left over to waterproof the basement, $3,000 to $5,000.

A home inspector and the neighbors should be able to tell you most anything you want to know.
--
When will the people realize that with DRM they aren't purchasing anything?

TherapyChick

join:2003-09-19
Fayetteville, NC

1 edit

My county has what they call a GIS website that tells you a lot of stuff, like if the house is in a flood zone or not.

I don't know why they don't use a real domain, but this is how you get to it:

»152.31.99.8/

(btw - the site doesn't support FF, don't ask me why)

Edit: GIS is "Geographic information system"

»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIS

--
Certified Medisoft reseller.



CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to slyphoxj

Expect basements to flood - especially in Ohio.



davidg
Good Bye My Friend
Premium,MVM
join:2002-06-15
none
reply to slyphoxj

»www.choicetrust.com/servlet/com.···nel=clue will give you a good idea of recent claims on a home. seems like it goes back 10 years of so, i can't remember.
--
Lack of Preparation on YOUR Part does NOT Constitute an Emergency on Mine!



Sweet Witch
Be the flame, not the moth.
Premium,MVM
join:2003-07-15
Gallifrey
reply to slyphoxj

Definitely go to the town. The deeds office should have the deeds from when the house was built (my town has them from the day the town was incorporated back in 1729 though the older ones are in the library) and the permits office will have copies of the various building permits it has approved and of any violations. They should also know about foreclosures or abandonments.

The fire department might have the records of being called out to the address. Flooding usually leaves visible traces but deaths will be nearly impossible to find out, especially if the house is old. Deaths in the house aren't a big deal though. My mother died in her house and I lived there for a year after.

The police department will have the crime information.
--
"While you can teach an old dog new tricks, you simply can't teach him to be a cat."

"Are you my Mummy?"

Expand your moderator at work


Jeffrey
Connoisseur of leisurely things
Premium
join:2002-12-24
Long Island
kudos:3
Reviews:
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reply to slyphoxj

Re: Is there a service like Carfax, but for homes (HouseFax)?

As for crime and neighborhood behavior, I'll echo some of the comments of others. Taking a drive during odd hours, and visits during other hours of the day will provide some info. Head down to the neighborhood at mid-day on weekdays, midnight, weekends, etc.

As for code violations and all of that stuff, the title search, the lawyer and your engineer that you'll hire to evaluate the house will document everything.
--
"Honesty may be the best policy, but it's important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy." - George Carlin

[my ramblings]


wierdo

join:2001-02-16
Tulsa, OK
reply to slyphoxj

said by slyphoxj:

The info I'm most concerned about is whether or not the basement has ever flooded (possibility of expensive hidden issues) and the likelihood that the basement will flood again (or flood for the first time) during the time I will own the house.
They have insurance for that. My sister's basement flooded last year, when a power outage during a ridiculous downpour stopped the sump pump, then adding insult to injury the city sewer backed up. (It's an 1800s vintage house)

I got to be the one wading down in the muddy (and probably poopy, but at least diluted poopy!) waters to make the pump work again, as it couldn't start with the 6 foot head in the outlet pipe.

The next day the folks were out sanitizing the basement, calling the HVAC guy to replace the electronics in the A/C, and doing whatever else needed to be done.

I'd be more interested in making sure that sewer line has a check valve to prevent backflow from the city sewer and some sort of backup sump pump. They make some that use the water from your water pipes to drive a pump if your electric sump fails for whatever reason.

And as long as you store things off the floor and have electronic items elevated a few feet off the floor, a little rainwater won't really hurt much. Sewer water is nasty, though. Wouldn't want that in my basement!
--
It's wierdo, not weirdo. Yes, I know that's not the 'proper' spelling of the similar english language word.


Hayward
K A R - 1 2 0 C
Premium
join:2000-07-13
Key West, FL
kudos:1

4 edits
reply to slyphoxj

You have no idea where a car has been... houses don;t move.... just look at the history of the area and you probably have a pretty good idea of its been flooded, torando, hurricanned or not, ect.

And there is another aspect find a BUYER AGENT... one they had not seen before warned me about several things... this cost you NO more, they and selling;kisting agent split the sale
fee... is you buy.

But an HONEST buyers (be sure they aren't working for the seller agency too if too glowing) agent will warn you of things you don't maybe see. Because they want your business down the eroad for a sale maybe.

--
»haywardm.com (Hayward's Key West)



61999674
Gotta Do What Ya Gotta Do
Premium
join:2000-09-02
Here
kudos:1
reply to CylonRed

said by CylonRed:

Expect basements to flood - especially in Ohio.
That depends on the area, some areas are at or below the flood plain and get water in the basement after any heavy rains, areas like mine will not get water in the basement unless it rains very heavy for a long time, and the water comes UP the drains in the basement.
--
It is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

It happens enough to folks I have known in Ohio (lived in Ohio for 41 years) that I start with the idea it will get wet eventually. I have seen to many that should not have gotten wet - get very wet.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain