Learn More About Public Records and Real Estate
Whether you're in the market for a new house or you're trying to sell an old one, you're going to have to enter the real estate market. The scope of the transaction and the rarified real estate vocabulary are scary enough. But what are some of the other issues you might run into, as well?
Money Transfer Scams
Whenever such a large amount of money is changing hands, it's a good idea to be extra cautious of the way in which you're transferring your money. Because you're usually dealing in at least tens of thousands of dollars, it only takes one or two targets for someone to really make a great profit. The people who are trying to scam you know that.
Whenever you're dealing with this much money, you need to do your due diligence. If you get an email giving you all the information you need for your down payment transfer, take a step back and go through the email with a fine-toothed comb. You might only decide to hand over documents and make the sale in person just to be sure.
Bad Real Estate Agents
Whether you're buying or selling, it's important that you get a really good real estate agent. Getting the wrong real estate agent can set you up for disaster all along the way, especially when it comes to your privacy and financial concerns.
A bad real estate agent doesn't even have to be malicious to really mess up your financial future. They may just not know about your particular area, or your kind of property. If an agent only deals in million-dollar penthouses but you're looking at a single family fixer-upper in the suburbs, they may not be the right agent for you.
When you're going to get a real estate agent, you need to do your own research, and you need to do a lot of it. Talk to references, look at the agent's reviews, and try to get a referral through word of mouth. See what kinds of properties the agent specializes in and what areas.
As the real estate business deals in so much money, scammers and spammers are always looking to capitalize on people who are currently in real estate. The moment you start going through the process, keep an extra-sharp eye out for scams by phone or email.
Scams aren't always as easy to figure out as you might think. In fact, it can be downright difficult to tell if something is a spam call; they're very highly polished nowadays. If you use a reverse phone lookup, it can be much easier for you to tell if a phone number came from a reputable source or from a potentially sneaky scammer.
Do I Need to Know Anything Before I Start?
Even before you enter into real estate, you need to make sure you're paying attention to a lot of important pieces of information, not just the amount of money you may spend or receive. Keep these in mind as you start looking around.
Your Needs and Desires May Change
This sounds scary to a lot of people, but it can actually be very consoling if you know what it means. The things you need and want in a home may change as you go through the real estate world. But that's okay --- it's a journey of change, and that's a good thing. You may start out wanting one thing, but then find that you actually want something else. Your end goal is to be happy about the home you buy or the price for which you sell.
Having a great real estate agent can also be helpful here. That agent can help you remember you might want something different today than you did a month ago, and that's totally okay. Plus, if you have additional questions throughout the process, your real estate agent will help explain what's going on and why it's happening the way it is, which is great for your peace of mind.
You Need to Pay Attention to Your Real Estate Agent
Your agent is one of the most important points of contact you have in the industry. Although you can technically buy or sell a home without a real estate agent, that's definitely not recommended for first-time buyers and sellers, simply because the industry is very confusing. (The paperwork alone!) Your real estate agent should be able to walk you through all the important things.
This is another reason why it's so incredibly important to have a good real estate agent. It's not just important that you have a real estate agent who knows everything about the industry --- it's important to have a real estate agent who's personable and knows how to explain things. That's what's really useful here, and it's one of the first things you should look for when you're trying to find an agent in the first place.
It's Possible to Do Your Own Research
Although your real estate agent is an incredibly important piece of the puzzle here, you don't exclusively have to rely on your agent. You can definitely do your own research, and then put together individual pieces of the puzzle with your agent.
In fact, you might want to be wary if your agent insists you don't do any of the research on your own. The agent might steer you toward certain sites that tend to have more solid advice (because there's definitely a lot of bad advice on the internet). But they should still encourage you to be informed. Most of the time, only scammers and other shady characters want you to know literally nothing when you're essentially in business together.
What Kinds of Records Can I Use to Make My Real Estate Dealings Easier?
If you want to play a more direct role in real estate transactions, you might want to put in your own work using public records. These records can be very helpful when it comes to real estate dealings, whether buying or selling.
This is probably the first one to which you'll go. Property records are the best way to get extra information about the property, especially if you're trying to figure out if the current owner is trying to rip you off. It's even a good way to make sure the person selling to you is the person who actually owns the place.
When you perform an address lookup, you should be able to find a lot of information about it through available property records. That might include tax valuation (which will help you understand how much the IRS thinks the property is worth), a rundown of any foreclosures, and information about the current owner of the property.
Location has always been an important aspect of real estate transactions, probably the most important. ("What are the three most important things in real estate?" is the famous question.) That's why, apart from the individual property itself, it's a good idea to also get a fuller picture of the neighborhood in general.
Start with address lookups of properties surrounding yours. From there, in addition to getting those properties' values and histories, you can look further into the backgrounds of the owners/occupants. Simply take the names you find and perform a criminal records search to see if you have anything to worry about in regards to your neighbors' criminal histories.
General Public Records
It might amaze you how much information you can find out about an individual, a property and a neighborhood just by looking through the general public records. The PeopleFinders public records search should be your best friend at all times. But that's especially true when you're talking about buying and selling homes.
Whether you're trying to get more information about an address, trying to discern whether your new real estate agent is a good fit, or just interested in learning more about the world around you, try out the PeopleFinders public records search.