Whether you’re buying or selling a home or contemplating bankruptcy (and a possible foreclosure or a short-sell), it’s important to know what your home is worth as well as the value of other homes (comparables) in your neighborhood.
You can contact home selling professionals such as Realtors® and qualified real estate appraisers* or check out websites like Zillow.com or Realtor.com for a quick idea of your home’s value. Finally, if you’re up to a little real estate sleuthing on your own, you’ll find that accessing your local county assessor’s database is as simple as going online and searching for your local assessor authority.
As an example, I live in Jefferson County Colorado. Doing a Google Search on Jefferson County Assessor gives me a link to the Jefferson County Assessor’s Office. From there I can click on the Property Records Search and search by address or range of addresses to find home sale amounts, home sellers, home buyers, tax rates and other information on my property, a property I’m interested in buying or to research sale prices of homes in my neighborhood to come up with my own comparables. (Click the image at left for an example of a Jefferson County assessor’s report.) To find your local assessor substitute your local authority in your online search or call your County or State information line.
* Be sure and check with your State Regulatory Authority for Licensing Requirements. For example, the State of Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) includes a Real Estate Division that regulates and licenses real estate brokers, appraisers and mortgage loan originators. California maintains a Department of Real Estate that provides similar services. The Texas Real Estate Commission provides real estate oversight in that state. Use Bing or Google to search for “real estate regulation yourstatename” to find out the real estate regulatory body in your state.