New Product for Property Research

I do not know yet if this is a great product or just another excuse to spend money; however, it is being advertised to both consumers and Realtors on our Multiple Listing Service site (MLSListings.com – of which I am a paying member) so I will share what I know so far about a new report for Buyers and Realtors and put it in perspective.

This new report for use in the real estate industry is called BuildFax.  Their website says they combine permit records from various sources on the additions, major remodel and roofing history of a property in one resource.  The site does make the disclaimer about their product BuildFax is not a substitute for all disclosure information required during the sale process, a definitive indication of whether any documentation exists for a property, and/or a replacement for a proper inspection.

Backing up a bit now:  Prospective buyers who are looking at MLS Listings, where the widget below is displayed, are most likely in the early phases of their home search.  They’re going to sites that look interesting in key-word searches.  These very early steps to home search are at the “top of the funnel” as I call it…a process of narrowing down regions, counties, cities & towns, and then neighborhoods.  After you’ve gotten to the town and neighborhood stage is when house-hunting gets real and disclosures become really useful.  Maybe you’ve seen this widget out there yet most searchers won’t know where on the home-buying spectrum a report like this can be most important.

In California, property disclosures are very comprehensive.  Even though the Seller is advised to disclose any and all material facts, buyers are also advised to conduct their own property research (due diligence).  Buyers will get big thick packets of disclosures.  Now, there is this additional report that could make a property history search easier to access, especially given the time constraints in a typical contingency period.

I just signed up and looked up 5 Half Moon Bay area (city & county) properties currently for sale – none of them had these reports in their system.  I contacted the company and will let you know what they say.

If anyone has used this already, feel free to share your thoughts for others in comments…

Sources:

  • http://www.mlslistings.com/
  • http://www.statesman.com/business/austin-based-database-firm-buildfax-raises-4-million-1528116.html
  • http://rismedia.com/2012-07-01/buildfax-and-mlslistings-partnership-provides-building-permit-history-reports/