December 9, 2018
Back when I first got into the industry in the late 1980s, if I needed information on a property’s real estate taxes, it was not unusual to actually have to go to physically go to a county assessor’s office and access the data on microfiche. Fortunately, those days are long gone. For the most part, municipalities’ tax records can be accessed online.
A friend was looking for information this week related to some of their properties’ land vs improvement value and was lamenting the lack of data on certain municipalities’ websites. As it has been a few years since I could not get everything I needed (tax related) for a property remotely, I was surprised. But, he was not checking all of the available resources.
When I shared my methodology, he, too, was able to get everything he needed. First, determine the county. Then search three terms – 1. (county) tax assessor, 2. (county) tax collector, and (county) GIS. Obviously, you may have to add the state as well if it is a common county name. But, seriously, one of those three sites will typically get you the information you need – even the property’s assessor cards where there are multiple cards for one tax parcel. Use that search methodology for a property you are familiar with and see just how much information is available. My first search is typically the (county) GIS search because I can find a property without even knowing the owner name, tax parcel number or even specific address – you search using a map.
The information is there. You just may need to dig a little.