PLZ read - Q. about information providers - Posted by Brad (CA)

Posted by Brad (CA) on September 11, 2003 at 18:45:53:

I was thinking of calling up the assessors and seeing if the data is difficult to obtain manually, so thats a good suggestion. I have a feeling it will be, because as you said, “Many assessor’s offices in CA have limited funding” and government employee’s are so nice and warm.

It’s not that $100 dollars is expensive, on the contrary I’d gladly pay more if the information provided was worthy of it. I dont have a problem with allocating money to be spent, but I do have a problem with spending money which has been allocated poorly.

Your a savvy player and I appreciate your insight on assessing properties ATOS and how the “paper files” may not be needed in many, if not most, cases. Prop. 13 does limit the need of assessors to continuously update their property information files doesnt it. A real estate agent here in San Diego told me that she had been working a neat angle with that in mind. Many times a granny-flat or what have you gets added on during the years, un-permitted of course. But when they want to sell, the appraisal turns up a different SF than the assessors office and there is no documentation to provide an explanation. Property drops from normal retail market and seller is going to be willing to listen to someone who is willing to pay all the crap that goes along with unpermitted additions.

Back to the main thread. provides SF in their listings of Imperial Co. & addresses. The thing I was confused about is how they(Realtors) get that info and I cant buy it at $100/mnth. So maybe they’re all work crazy and spend their time at the assessors office everytime they list, or maybe they just listen to the homeowner… I dont know. OR maybe… they have some other means to obtain the information which I havent discovered yet…hmmmmm. Time to make some phone calls.

Final thought. I’m most likely going to get FARES or Data-Quick for the shear coverage. I’ll get all open market-transactions and some non, instead of the free sites which will maybe produce 1/4 - 1/3 of the transactions in their searchs. Just means that I get more work to do in addition to my $100 monthly fee. Sales prices are still sales prices even if I have to do 15 drive-bys the verify 'em untill I’m educated enough.

Thanks Ron,

Brad Pennington

PLZ read - Q. about information providers - Posted by Brad (CA)

Posted by Brad (CA) on September 10, 2003 at 20:48:13:

So I have a trial right now of FARES(Real Quest, Home Profile), Data-Quick(Property Finder), and CD-DATA(ParcelQuest).

Problem is that none provide sq/ft, bd/bth, lot size info for my area. I take that back about every 1 in 20 files pulled will have sq/ft listed with beds and baths.

I get the gut feeling that this will be crap. I mean a $100 bucks a month just to get sales prices? Then I’ll have to do drive-by’s on every comp I use to eyeball the place. I dont know, what do you think?

Any insight much appreciated.


Oh, and another thing I dont get, how can the listings on have sq/ft and bds/bths and not have it public? rrrrrrrr

Re: PLZ read - Q. about information providers - Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA)

Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA) on September 11, 2003 at 01:30:21:


So maybe you need to invest in some other county than where you live if you want to get good information.

You don’t indicate which county you are in. In some counties there is plenty of the information you seek. Which county are you in?

The real estate agents want to lure people in to buy properties through them. If they give a lot of information about the properties that are listed, fewer people will call them up, knowing that the proeprtyt does not have what they want.

The real estate sales people want to “capture” the potential homebuyers–because they are not interested in selling the one property that is listed. They hope the listed properties will get potential buyers to call them up. Then they can try to sell them something else, wh ich might suit the caller better.

In some cities they put in the squre footages and not the addresses. Same idea–leave out some essential information so peole will walk into your web. Errr, sorry, will call you up.

Good Investing*Ron Starr

Re: PLZ read - Q. about information providers - Posted by Brad (CA)

Posted by Brad (CA) on September 11, 2003 at 09:09:02:

Well, the county is Imperial, and it is away from where I live…that was the idea. Not the main idea, the main idea is and continues to be money making!

But I guess my question would be, how can an expensive service lack such a crucial component? Is it a disclosure issue? County recorder problem? ??? I was confused by the sq/ft on and I also found a free lookup which provides sq/ft. ?!?

Just dont get it.

CA assessors offices - Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA)

Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA) on September 11, 2003 at 10:44:45:


The services sell information which they obtain from the county assessors offices. Not all assessors have all the information in their databases–their assessment roll. It may be that some assessors do not allow certain information to be included even if they have it in their database, but I don’t know that for sure.

Understand that to get that information out of a computer it first has to go into a computer. Many assessor’s offices in CA have limited funding and thus do not make it a high priority to add information to their assessment roll if they don’t need it themselves.

Usually they do have information about square feet, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and the like, but it is on old systems, typically paper records in file cabinets. That may be all they need. In fact, these days, because of proposition 13, they probably do not even need that information for most properties.

Remember how proposition causes the assessment to be set. The assessment must be set at the “market value” when a property changes ownership. Usually that means that the appraisers in the assessor’s office sets the assessed value at the sales price, assuming that the deal was a market transaction. Thus, they do not need much information about the property. If it looks a market sale, just set the assessed value at that sales price.

Only when the sale was at below market value would they need to adjust the assessed value to come closer to a true market value. Then they can use the property caharacteristics to help determine the market value. But most of the time they do not need it.

If you want good information about a property, you may have to either work a different county or else develop some other sources of information.

I’d suggest that you try calling the assessor’s office directly and ask them for the property characteristics for a one or a few properties at a time. See if they will give it to you.

I think you are right to use . There you will see asking prices, not selling prices. But it may help you roughly estimate the value of the properties you are considering. I don’t understand what you mean by being confused by the sq ft there. Good for you finding a site to show the square feet.

One hundred dollars a month for a service is “expensive?” I guess it is a matter of perspective. Maybe you are spoiled. Or not familiar with business. Many businesses subscribe to programs that cost them thousands and tens of thousands of dollars a month to run their profitable operations. You sound like the college freshman who is shocked that a textbook would cost $60, after having had free textbooks throughout high school. Yes, you will have to expend money to make money in real estate investing. Wait until you go into the lumber store and see what it costs for a 12 foot 2x4 or some 8 inch carriage bolts. Now start thinking “expensive.”

If you are at all successful in real estate investing, that monthly fee will not seem excessive to you.

Good Investing***************Ron Starr************

Same thing where I live… - Posted by Jim (NY)

Posted by Jim (NY) on September 11, 2003 at 10:38:05:

Brad, I have the same problem w/Dataquick where I live. I don’t get any square ft, #of rooms info either. I always drive out to view the comps anyway, but I was at least hoping to be able to narrow the search down w/a product like Dataquick. In addition, I was thinking that with Dataquick I’d be able to get a ballpark idea as to whether or not a property was even worth looking at based on comps. It sees like I can get the same info that Dataquick provides for free… I’m going to call them to see what the story is…