While most people have entered their name into Google and clicked “Search”, very few people I have met do the same for their address. Here are 3 reasons why you should.
1. Comparable Sales
Have you ever wondered how the county came up with your home’s value for property taxes, or how Zillow arrived at its “Zestimate”? These numbers are mostly based on the values of nearby homes that have recently sold. A great reason to Google your address is to see if these similar homes are being sold for less than yours. If so, you may have a great case to appeal your home’s assessed value and lower your property taxes. Don’t think it is worth it? I appealed the property value of a commercial property I co-own last year and had the property taxes lowered by more than $5,000.
If you are interested or just entertaining the idea of putting your home on the market, viewing the prices of similar homes in your area by Googling your own address will help you determine your home’s projected worth in this market. It will also let you know what the competition looks like. Updated kitchen down the street? You may need to do the same or at least offer a significant price reduction in order to entice prospective buyers.
2. Megan’s Law
As a real estate agent, I get asked about this quite a bit and I always say the same thing; Look it up. It’s not that I don’t want to answer the question, I just don’t want to be responsible if I am wrong. While you may not find this information in Google, you will find it on the Missouri Highway Patrol Website. Just type in your address and search the database. An added bonus of doing this just once is that you can opt in to receiving an automatic email if a registrant ever moves into your selected radius.
If you are planning on buying a home, always search the area first. Even if you are not planning on moving, it is a wise idea to know if one of your neighbors is someone listed on the website. Knowledge is power.
Lately I have been getting quite a few calls concerning homes I am trying to sell. Not from buyers but from potential renters inquiring about the property. This is a scam that has been around for quite a while but has recently exploded in numbers. Scammers will get the public information on a property (not always ones that are currently on the market) and try to advertise them for rent on places like Craigslist. While they usually just ask for a money order or wire transfer for a background check or security deposit in order to “hold” the house, local scammers will go so far as to meet prospective renters in front of your home to show them this is not a scam all while making up some excuse as to why they cannot enter the home at that time. If your home is being listed incorrectly, find out where it is being listed and contact their fraud department.