TAMPA - Former president of the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors, Brad Monroe, says the more a buyer can find out about a home's history, the better.
Realtors can pull reams of data, but you might not find out if the bungalow you're about to buy was a meth lab, burglarized or flooded at some point in its past.
To fill the information gap, entrepreneur Michael Abdy created the Housefax report. Subscribers will pay $59 to dig up dirt on building permits to fire history before they commit to the biggest buy of their lives.
Abdy said on average it would take about 34 hours and $700 to find everything that is on their report for $59.
For $20 more, the site says it will provide an insurance claim history; Think flooding, mold and burglaries.
Brad Monroe agrees, not all of this information is easily found.
Housefax describes itself as a baseline and in no way replaces an actual home inspection. Typically, a home inspection will turn up current problems, not past history.
As a Realtor, Monroe said he's concerned potential buyers could be scared away by old problems that remain on paper, even if they've been fixed.
The Housefax report is not online, yet. One caveat creator Michael Abdy admits is that the report will not be 100% accurate 100% of the time. He leaves verification up to the buyer.
Want to do the research on your own? Here are a few resources.
1) Clerk of Court offers information on foreclosure activity and deed information. Your county's construction and licensing board would have permits and dates for work done on the home.
2) Property appraisers provide assessed value information.
3) Tax Collectors site will give buyers an idea of how much they'll pay in taxes. The only way to find out about past insurance claims is to work with an agent and ask for a CLUE report which can be provided through the owner's insurance agent.
4) The county school website provides school of choice and pupil assignment.