On behalf of the holiday, I’m posting up this HowTo earlier than I was intending to. Since one of our readers (Richie) let the cat out of the bag on this question, it makes no sense to hold back.
One of the most common questions I get is, “How do I find an address if I am looking at a listing online?” It’s a valid question. Many times a buyer might want to do a drive by without having to get involved with an agent. Maybe your agent only services a small area and you are interested in another area as well (but don’t want to hurt his/her feelings).
However, in the past, the answer was usually, “ask your real estate agent.”
Sure, and that’s probably the best way to find the information. Not all agents are terrible people looking to push you into this.
Here is a handful of ways to find the address you are looking for:
The Straightforward Approach
Ask your personal real estate agent for the information, they’ll give it to you. I am not anti-agent. In fact, (and this may come as a shock), I do have a real estate agent. She has been in the business for many years and I trust her opinion. She knows my position in the market and understands it. She also understands the current market. Are all agents good? No, in fact I think the majority of them aren’t qualified to wash your laundry.
Call the listing agent and tell them you don’t have an agent in the area, but are interested, they will not give you the address, so don’t ask. However, tell them you are familiar with the area and would like to know what street the home is on, or what neighborhood. If you get the street, just use the taxrecords database to pinpoint the property by using the assessed value. Or, if the assessed value is common (returns many listings), just use MapQuest to help you narrow down the search. Matching land/improvements assessed values will help you pinpoint.
Open House Listings
Use the weichert.com or other realtor website to search the upcoming open houses. This isn’t a very accurate method, but sometimes you hit one.
New Listings Services
Sign up for one of the many “Just listed” services over the internet. I know some people that use justlisted.com. However, keep in mind, these services will send your search information to a real estate agent. That agent will then send you listings on a regular basis. If you don’t want to be associated with an agent, do not use these services. You can always sign up for a gmail account and make up some information.
Assessed Values Search
This is the goldmine. This is also the one method that *no one* will share with you, well, that is except certain readers here and myself. The other methods do not require any walkthru for you to do, this one is a bit more complicated, so I’ll follow the same format I used in the previous HowTo. Make sure you know how to use the tax databases before you attempt to walk through this process.
1) First you need to find the land and improvements assessments for the property you are interested. Open a browser to:
2) Click “Search for Properties”, this will bring up a map of NJ. Click Morris County. This will bring up a map of Morris. In the drop down under “Cities/Towns” on the left, select “Chatham Bor.” Scroll down and click the “Continue” button.
3) Select a List price from “500,000″ to “550,000″ and click the “Search Now” button. Follow this path, I’m pushing you to a listing I’ve preselected to use in the walk-thru, and I’ll explain why later on.
4) Look for MLS# 2214727. The current asking is $549,000. Under the picture of the home, there is a text link that says “More details”, click it.
5) This is the typical detailed MLS info screen, it gives you quite a bit of information, but no address. However, look for the values for “Building Assessment, Land Assessment, Total Assessment”. That is the data we are interested in. For reference, we’ll grab the total assessment value of $493,400.
6) Bring up the Monmouth tax website. Select Morris, Chatham Bor., and do an Advanced Search.
7) Scroll down the page until you see the fields labelled “Net:”. In the “From” column only, enter in the total assessed value of 493400 (no special characters). Leave to “To” column blank. Click the “Submit Search” button.
8) If you did everything correctly, you’ll be rewarded with the information you are seeking.
Here are the issues when doing total assessment searches:
1) You don’t find anything. If this happens, try searching by just the land or improvement data separately. Or, search with a range to try to narrow down.
2) You find too many. Use the individual assessment values to pinpoint the record in question.
3) You still don’t find anything. Sorry, you are out of luck, use another method.
Sorry if this one seems rushed!