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RealtyTrac launches Home Disclosure Website

RealtyTrac has launched a website that provides consumers with property reports that might affect their decision to buy or rent a home.

Users of the Home Disclosure application, upon entering an address, can access data such as the number of building permits issued for the property, the current owner’s loan and equity information, the residence’s sales history, and fair market rent on similar area homes. In addition, Home Disclosure provides local crime statistics, such as the number of drug labs that have been in the neighborhood and the names and addresses of local registered sex offenders.

Environmental information, such as the location of nearby Superfund sites and storage tanks, as well as the risk of floods, earthquakes and hurricanes, also is provided. Home Disclosure also offers demographic insight into local incomes and unemployment rates, as well as the location of nearby schools, libraries, and fire stations. The information can be found at bit.ly/1QqMMbW.

David Luyster, a broker at Keller Williams SouthPark, said it appears that the website compiles public information from various sources and centralizes it into one report.

“It looks like it would be a good way to get a thumbnail sketch of the history of a house and highlight areas of concern,” he said. But, he warned, the onus is still on the buyer to conduct due diligence before making a purchase.

Jennifer Von Pohlmann, manager for public relations at RealtyTrac, said Home Disclosure differs from what is offered on other websites because it provides data on more than 42 factors in one location.

Von Pohlmann said users can perform as many searches as they want for free. However, she said, the product is still in beta testing, and may change in the future. She said the company strives to keep the data as current as possible, and updates, for example, the sex-offender information every two weeks.

“When buying a home or investment property, it’s extremely important to completely investigate not only the property but also the neighborhood,” said Mike Sawtell, executive vice president and general manager of consumer solutions at RealtyTrac, in a press release. “The Home Disclosure report will let you do exactly that. It’s extremely powerful data that will not only help home buyers decide on which property and neighborhood may be right for them, but give them critical data to help them negotiate much more effectively.”

RealtyTrac said it used public information in compiling its Home Disclosure database. The company, based in Irvine, California, is a supplier of U.S. real estate data.

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