Saturday, May 10, 2008

Neighbor House selling for less

My wife and I were driving back into our neighborhood today and we noticed a new For Sale sign had gone up on a neighbor's front lawn. Same house as ours but without a pool and spa. We stopped and pulled the flyer and guess what - they are asking $399,900!

That's $50,000 less than what we sold our house for!

And we sold our house two months ago. That is, we closed/recorded yesterday!

(There's still another neighbor's house asking $499,900 that is just across the street and three houses down from us. But they've been on the market for almost a year in which time they've dropped the price of their house down $100,000. I checked the County Tax records online and saw that they haven't paid their property taxes in over a year. Then again they also moved out about 7-8 months ago and their front lawn has turned brown.)

So prices are still falling in our neighborhood. I was also able to lookup on the County Tax Collectors web site if the new house for sale property taxes had been paid and sure enough - they hadn't paid the last two previous payments due. They are behind by one year in their property tax payments. And, by checking their last assessment value against their asking price I see that they're asking about $186,000 less than what they paid for it 3 years ago. I had seen a mention of their house being a Short Sale on a realtor's web site I visited about a month ago but now I can't find that same web page.

I doesn't seem right that anyone can view another person's payment history with respect to property taxes. But I found out from another web site on how to view the payment history and ownership addresses for properties using public records that the County Tax Collector and County Assessor put up on their web sites. This information will help me to determine if the purchasers of my house did actually record at the County. I've heard stories of people who supposedly "sold" their house to someone else and then made rental payments to the "supposed new owners" only to find out later that they were victims of a scam, conned out of "rental" payments and still the owners of the house they lived in which they thought they had sold.

So I'm going to keep checking next week with the County Recorder about when/if our new owners had changed title. Actually I'd better check with my mortgage companies. I'll put that on my ToDo list.

Here's the process I use to verify who owns a house and whether the Property Taxes have been paid:

1) Start here:
Search by address
2) Get the assessment's parcel number of the lot
3) Then go to here
and enter the parcel number in the assessment box and click ok, followed by the view tax info button on the next page

You'll have to find your County web site addresses.

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