Top 5 Websites I Use In My Appraisal Business

Today’s real estate appraisers utilize the internet more than ever.  It use to be that most of the information we would use in a report would be available from information sources that we purchased and kept in our offices, however a lot of this data is now online.  One good example of this is flood maps.  Real estate appraisers need to be able to find out if the property they are appraising is located in a flood zone.  In the past we had to purchase these paper maps so we could refer to them and make copies for our reports, however this is now available online.  I am sharing this with you in case you find yourself needing this type of information as well.  So here are the top 5 sites I use in my appraisal business: Tom Horn's appraisal data sources

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)– As I noted above, this site is used to determine flood hazard status on a property.  If you have  the property address you can find out what zone it is in and you can print out a copy of the food map.
  • The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC)This site has a lot more data than I utilize but I use it to obtain census tract information.  A census tract is an identifying number for a metropolitan area.  If  you type in an address you can also get information on median family income, minority population figures, and the number of owner occupied units as well as 1-4 family units.
  • Google Maps– Google maps provides a way to locate the property we are appraising.  It even gives street level images so we can examine a property before we physically visit it.
  • County Property Appraiser– These are specific to each area that appraisers perform work in but they are good sources of information for homeowners wanting to get subdivision plats or tax information.  The plats give dimensions of lots so you can find out the size of your home site, zoning information, and property tax amounts.
  • Birmingham Multiple Listing Service– This site provides information on sales and listings of homes in the Birmingham, Alabama area.  Members and affiliate members are provided more information than consumers, however it is a good site for consumers to get information on homes that are listed for sale, financing, and homes that have open houses.

Do you have a website you use that I have not listed?  What type of information does it provide?  I am always interested in finding other websites that can help me in my business so drop me a line and let me know what it is.

If you have any real estate appraisal related questions you can call me at 205.243.9304, email me, or connect with me on facebook.

 

Comments

  1. I find the EPA’s Superfund site to be of good use at times. http://www.epa.gov/superfund/

    • Ryan, thanks for the link. It looks like it provides a lot of good info. It doesn’t look like there are any hazardous areas in my immediate market area 🙂

      • That’s good. There are definitely some in my area – especially old military bases. They are all superfund sites basically. I don’t appraise bases, but I do mention the superfund site when appraising a tract very near a base.

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