Find Your Home on the Web
Your home on the Web is there for all to see. And there’s nothing you can do about it. Anyone can know your home’s age and size and the taxes you paid or haven’t paid. What you can do is correct outdated information.
King County: know what others can see
Do you own a home in King County? Then go to the county website or search for “King County Property Assessments”. The first page of Google results is all links to King County property information. The top link gets you to the King county assessors website. Save that link. Once there, click on the button that says “My Property”. Next, click the box to acknowledge that you are not using the information for commercial purposes. (Ironically, the county is now using the site for commercial purposes by allowing ads.) Checking the box, automatically opens the page where you can search in earnest.
You could enter your address or your 10-digit parcel number (it’s on your property tax bill). However, for the purpose of this discussion, enter 419 NE 88th St, Seattle, WA 98115, the address of a listing I sold. The first page presents the parcel information, including the parcel number. It also shows the summary information of the building.
Incorrect data can hurt you.
Because I’m familiar with this home, I know that the number of bedrooms is wrong. It should be six instead of four. The new owner should contact the county to have that fixed. Wrong information on the county site will find its way into real estate portals like Zillow and will affect automated valuations negatively.
Speaking of valuations, the page also shows the tax assessed value of the home. As you can see, there was a dramatic change from 2013 to 2014 and the following years. These increases reflect the radical renovation of this home made evident on the custom listing website.
Drill down and see more.
For more information on this home, use the top link buttons. “Property Detail” reveals more detailed information about the home itself (again, some of it is outdated). Now scroll further down to see the property Sales History and Permit History. Clicking on this link will take you to the portal where you may create or search for King County permits and licenses.
To get the lay of the land, click on “Map This Property”. This will take you to the King County Parcel viewer. Now, for the most recent bird’s eye view, click on the “Basemap” button and select “King County Aerial 2013”.
Find a Snohomish Home on the Web
If you own property in Snohomish County, start on the Snohomish County Assessor site. There you can enter the house number with the street name. Enter 17707 and Interurban. Alternatively, if you know it, you can enter your 14-digit parcel number – in this case – 00899900001000. Now, on the resulting web page, click on the parcel number link, and, eureka, here’s the Snohomish County property account summary with owner information, property characteristics, and the history of tax value and prior sales data. (Again, I’m using one of my sold listings as an example.)
The table has a link to the “Detailed Structure Information“, and another link to the township parcel map.
Not just for Sellers
Obviously, these county property sites are equally useful for buyers. Once you’ve found a home for sale, the listing information will tell you the basics. If you want to know more, such as a home’s sales history, you turn to the county information. There, you can dig deeper. By the time you and your agent make an offer, you may know more about the property than the seller. You will have done your homework for your next home on the web.
But wait, there’s more!
In addition to county property sites, each municipality and some government associations such as the eCityGov Alliance provide valuable property information for home sellers and buyers. We will take a look at these websites in the December issue of The View from the Street.
This post appeared first as the 69th issue of The View from the Street.