How Lenders Learn About Your Property

 In First-Time Home Buyers, Refinancing your Mortgage

Have you ever wondered how lenders are able to get so much information about the property you are buying or refinancing?  Here’s the link and instructions for the site lenders use to learn about your property taxes, zoning, legal descriptions, how much previous owners paid, when it last sold, etc.

First, here’s the link:

Once you are on the site, click on the state where the property is located.

Then click on the name of the county where the property is located.

Next, click on the “Go to Data Online” link next to the “County Assessor”.  This will take you to the County Assessor website for the property’s county.  At this point, the sites are different. Some of the sites will take you directly to the search page, but other sites will ask you to set up an account.  You do not have to set up an account, though, because you can enter the sites as a guest and learn about your property without having to set up an account.

Once you are at the search page, enter the address of the property.  When the search results are displayed, click on the property address and all the information about the property will be shown.  If you don’t get any results, re-read the instructions on the site to make sure you are entering the information correctly. Usually, the less information you enter, the better the results, so don’t enter the street direction (N, E, W, or S), and don’t enter the type of street (Ave., St., Rd., Cir., etc.).  If you don’t get any results after numerous tries, make sure you are looking in the correct county. Many cities are in more than one county and searching in the wrong county is a common error. If you still can’t get any results, go back to the original search page and find the County Assessor’s phone number.  The number will be located to the left of the “Go to Data Online” link. They will be able to give you all the information you need, and will also be able to give you the property’s parcel number, which you can use to search again, in case you want to print any documents.

Sometimes, the taxes are not shown on the Assessor’s site, so you will have to go back to the original page and click on the “Go to Data Online” link next to the “County Treasurer”.  

Most counties have a link to the County Recorder site as well.  That site allows you to search for any documents that have been recorded in the county, such as deeds, liens, foreclosures, marriage licenses, and other documents that have been recorded with the county.  Sometimes you must pay to see recorded documents, but most counties will allow you to see the recorded documents for free. And that’s it, no special access to hidden databases. Lenders use public records accessible by anyone to learn about your property.

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