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August 7, 2009

Useful real estate sites

I thought some of you might appreciate a post on useful websites for the housing crowd. You old hands out there know them all already, I'm sure, but hey -- you can hum a tune to yourself while I bring everyone else up to date. And then you can comment with useful sites I forgot to mention. Win-win!

In no particular order:

Real Property Data Search. Want to find out what homes sold in the last year on a street you're thinking about moving to? Wonder what the seller of a home you're thinking of buying paid when he bought? The state's assessors know, and they share on this site.

MdLandRec.Net. This site -- put together by the Maryland Judiciary and Maryland State Archives -- collects records such as mortgage documents. You need to sign up, but it's free.

Metropolitan Regional Information Systems' stats page. MRIS, which runs the multiple-listing service in the region, issues statistics every month about sales and prices. You can see figures by metro area, jurisdiction and ZIP code.

The federal government's House Price Index. Once run by OFHEO, now the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the HPI is an apples-to-apples look at prices in metro areas and states. It compares sales and refinancings of the same homes over the years.

Then, of course, there are many -- many -- sites that have real estate listings and related information. Craigslist. Google. HomeGain. HomesDatabase. Roost. Sawbuck. Trulia. (And that's just some of them.)

What sites have you found useful? Share, share!

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Real estate online


Great and helpful sites! I knew about some of those, but also see some new ones.

Thanks for compiling them into one post.

If you live in Baltimore City, Real Property Data Search is also beneficial when you're looking up the owner of a vacant or drug nuisance property.

Also, many rental and vacant properties are owned by LLC's. You can use SDAT's Business Data Search to look up the resident agent for an LLC.

Good points, MCG -- thanks! is HIGHLY valuable. You can get info on how much somebody financed when they bought. Whether it was 80/20, refi'ed, etc. If you are looking at a short sale it is good info to know if they have 2 lenders (much harder to get short sale approved). This added info could be valuable when coming up with an offer.

I'd recommend RedFin for property listings (seems to have the most comprehensive detailed listing for properties)

WalkScore (to see how walkable your prospective neighborhood is)

and, especially their Live Near Your Work site

Personally, I perfer using Hill & Company's website. Seems to me to offer the most information for upscale properties in Baltimore.

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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
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