The vast majority of homebuyers begin their process online. Thanks to real estate photographers and videographers, you can go through a virtual tour of a house long before scheduling a showing to physically walk through the property.
Once you have found a property that you want to purchase, there are several ways that you can complete some of your due diligence online to look into the property.
Check the Public Records
Most municipalities have web access to documents and information, such as building permit history. Sellers are required to disclose work that has been completed on the property, but there could be work that was completed with a previous owner.
This will also help you to see if work that was done previously was completed with a permit. If you can tell that a recent renovation happened but there is no history of it in the building records, then it will be hard for you to know if the work was completed to code. Start your search by typing “building records” along with your city’s name into the search engine.
Check the Google Street View
Checking the property on Google Street View can help you find out about the neighborhood. It can also help you see a brief history of the house. However, when going this route you want to remember that it can be years before pictures are updated, so the image you are seeing of the house might not be an accurate image of what the house looks like today.
While this can help provide you with some insight, it should not be used in place of seeing the property and the neighborhood in person.
Check a Crime App
There are many different crime apps you can use to see what the area is like that you are looking to move to. You can check the street address to find out if there are registered sex offenders living in the area.
You can also see the historical statistics on things like robbery, theft, homicide, and vehicle theft. These apps will show you if crime is moving up or down in the area, as well as how the area compares to the national average.
Check a Neighborhood App
These apps are especially helpful if you are making a long-distance move. The apps can help you find out more information about the cost of living in the area, the weather, average commute times, quality of life, and school districts. Some apps also include reviews from people living in the area. This can be a good way to get an overall idea of what it is like in the area.
Modern technology has given us the ability to conduct much of the due diligence we should be doing from the comfort of our own home. Be advised though that some things cannot be replaced with technology. Take the time to see the area in person, walk on the sidewalks, see the houses, and get an overall view for the property.