How to Use the Internet to Perform Due Diligence Research on Properties

I do not know about you, but as far as I am concerned, the Internet is one of the greatest inventions of all time and ranks right up there with flush toilets, incandescent light bulbs, and air conditioning! For real estate investors, the Internet is the single best property due diligence research tool available, especially for investors who are located in counties where the property tax rolls are available online. And if your county's property records are available online, you can quickly find out who owns a property, when it was purchased, how much it cost, and its tax-assessed value. For example, here in Tampa, I can log on to the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser's web site and, armed only with a property's street address, I can almost instantly obtain the current owner's name, mailing address, sale price, and dates for the latest and prior sales and the tax-assessed value of the property broken down by land and improvements. I can also get a site map plotting the improvements on the property, along with the tax account or folio number assigned to the property. Then, I log on to the Hillsborough County Tax Collector's web site and type in the property's street address or tax folio number to obtain property tax information about the property to include any tax exemptions claimed, special tax-district assessments, and tax payment status. Once I have completed my online research, I call the customer service departments at the property appraiser and tax collector's offices to verify the accuracy of the information they have posted online.

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