When doing online research for property or land other than the tax assessment officer where can I look.
Have you tried https://www.netronline.com/? It lists and allows access to all State and Municipalities that have active websites.
What are you looking for? I use the GIS maps alot which links to property cards etc. I find the info is often a bit dated though.
Thank u I’m grateful for info.
You can also go to Google Search and type the name of the county and add the keyword property search/appraiser.
Land development requires a mix of instinct and intelligence from the first step—finding land. And if a project is delayed, it takes sound judgment and even sheer guts to decide whether to keep fishing or cut bait.
To buy the largest parcels and navigate long approval cycles, national builders bring world-class analytical tools and economies of scale to bear. Small builders can achieve comparable margins through market familiarity and by moving with agility.
So whether a project involves four lots, four city blocks or 40,000 green acres, any builder can win in the land game. But to do so requires doing the homework long before doing the deal. These 3 tips can get you started.
- Walk the Walk
Successful builders/developers take the term “walk the walk” as a literal first step. A firsthand view helps identify potential problems and opportunities.
Eric Wittenberg, president and CEO of McStain Neighborhoods in Boulder, Colo., never buys land without walking it and studying its attributes. “I also drive around it in ever-widening circles. You learn a ton that way,” he says. “I know a lot of people who have bought land by looking at maps. That’s a big mistake. There could be a nuclear power plant or some other undesirable feature a few blocks away. And just the opposite can happen - you may find a gem of a lake, connected by a trail right to the land, that’s off the map.”
Tom Stephani, president of developer Rosenthal Co. and its building arm, William Thomas Homes, in Crystal Lake, Ill., jokes that his dog found the parcel for his first master plan. The companions “walked and walked” to sniff out what would become Dole Crossing, an enclave of 27 detached single-family homes in Crystal Lake.
Once they find a promising parcel, builders need to determine its ownership. A friend referred Stephani to the Dole Crossing landowner. “It’s amazing how many people will help you if you just ask for help,” says Stephani.
Next, get a current survey and secure accurate zoning and legal description of the property. Unknowns can remain, however, particularly with infill sites. In Stephani’s case, neither the landowner nor city hall knew of the coal conveyor and heating equipment buried beneath a 1-acre greenhouse built in the 1920s. Another builder, excavating an imploded building, pulled a Volkswagen Beetle from the foundation. Even seeming greenfield sites can turn up environmental or archaeological surprises.
- Find Small Sites on Websites
Some builders find land by letting their fingers do the walking—on a keyboard. In addition to brick-and-mortar real estate agencies that retail conventional properties on their Web sites, the Internet is brimming with foreclosure properties from private and even government sellers. The parcels typically are less than 10 acres, but sometimes lots are contiguous, although one lost bid could spoil a field of development dreams.At one point in April, Elko County, Nev., listed 328 tax-defaulted properties at bid4assets.com, with minimum bids at $400 and $600. eBay is filled with real estate listings, including those from other sites such as governmentauction.com.
In Chicago, Taxbiz.com attends Cook County auctions of tax-defaulted properties every two years and collects as many as 2,000 tax certificates, turning most into properties with clear liens. Once Taxbiz.com wins its bids, it offers property online on a first-come, first-served basis. Buyers pay half the tax lien upfront, and after a period in which the in-default owner may pay the back taxes, the builder gets either a returned deposit or the land. Foreclosure usually results, with land typically sold for half the market value or less. Other online companies offer similar deals on tax-defaulted property.
- Assemble Team Players
Once a parcel proves worth pursuing, develop a due-diligence team of in-house and outside experts to evaluate various aspects of the property, from the dirt on the ground to that of the political variety. Topics to be addressed fall into these categories:
Physical: The land’s natural attributes, which affect if, what and where development can occur
Governmental/cultural: Regulatory and political factors, and the social context affecting them
Marketing: Buyer demographics/psychographics and the product mix
Transportation: Traffic, transit and access issues, from regional to subdivision levels, and accompanying infrastructure
Experts who can help include surveyors, landscape architects, land planners, market researchers, lawyers, and lobbyists. Mark Friis, president of Rodgers Consulting in Gaithersburg, Md., advises land newcomers to seek assistance from local chapters of associations such as the NAHB or the Urban Land Institute. “These groups have committees that offer lots of information and regulatory help, and they’re good places to find referrals.”
Which experts will offer the most help will vary by project. To avoid an annexation, a lawyer might be key in negotiating a boundary agreement. “Towns know the process well,” Stephani says, “so have an experienced attorney on hand if this comes up.”
Regardless of the issues, mobilize the due-diligence team as soon as possible. “It’s crucial to start early and take care to find the right civil engineer, the right land planner, the right soils engineer,” Wittenberg says. “They all have to work together before you buy the land. A builder who doesn’t understand his costs before he commits won’t be in the business for long.”
Steve Kellenberg, a principal with worldwide planner EDAW, cites one project for which three sets of plans were created before a consulting biologist was hired. “The biologist torpedoed all the work we had done. Probably $50,000 worth of work went down the toilet because the developer put the team together incrementally.”
Local knowledge also matters. Erik Pfahler, vice president of builder New Urban West in Santa Monica, Calif., says it’s easy to form a team at home in Los Angeles County, “but if we want to go to San Jose, an instrumental part of any land acquisition will be getting to know the people who know that area best. Network as quickly as possible if you’re breaking into a new area.”
The tax assessor is a great site which you mentioned. Some counties will have a GIS map which is helpful. I’d also check the county site for building permits and nuisance liens as well. Just because the land is vacant now doesn’t mean it always was. You’d like to see if they ever had a demo permit pulled, perhaps there is a water/sewer connection which may make the land more valuable.