Comparable Sales in the Public Record
After one buys a home, the property is deeded from the seller to the buyer and in most circumstances, the deed is recorded at the local county recorder’s office.
They combine sales data with information already known about the property so they can assess property taxes correctly. Provided there have been no additions to the property, the information available from the public record is usually correct regarding sales price, square footage, and numbers of rooms. This makes it easy to use the public record as a source of data for comparable sale information.
Accessing this data is another matter, at least for the general public. Some counties have an internet website that will allow you to search their database and some do not. Most Realtors can look up this information through title insurance companies who either compile the data directly from the county recorder’s office or purchase if from other companies or other sources.
One problem with the public record is that it tends to run at least six to eight weeks behind. Add another four to six weeks for the typical escrow period and you can see the data is not current.