How Much Did My Neighbor Pay For Their House?

Is there a way to find out how much my neighbor paid for their house?

2 Answers

There are a couple of ways to find out how much your neighbor paid for their house. The first, and possibly the easiest, is to get in touch with a real estate sales person or broker and have them look it up on the multiple listing service. Multiple listing services maintain information about closed sales for several years. In fact, the MLS is the primary tool used by appraisers to find comparable sales in connection with determining the value of a property.

The "old-fashioned" way is much more complicated and time consuming. However, if a sale was handled privately, i.e., if someone sold their home without having listed it for sale through a broker on the MLS, the old-fashioned way is the only way.

Depending on how they handle things in your jurisdiction, you will need to go to the division of your county government and find out how to look up a deed. The county recorder's office is probably your best bet.

Once you get the deed, you will probably see that property in question was transferred for "ten dollars and other good and other valuable consideration." Don't worry! All is not lost.

On the deed, you will see tax stamps. Those tax stamps, with a little bit of math, will tell you how much the property sold for. You see, most states and even some counties and cities tax real estate transactions on the basis of the purchase price. Thus, you will need to find out the tax rate at the time of the transaction. Once you know that, here's how you would figure out the price: Let's say that at the time of the transaction the taxing jurisdiction imposed a transfer tax of $7.50 per $1,000. Let's also assume that the tax stamps show that a tax of $750 was paid. If you divide the tax rate (7.50) by the amount of tax paid (750) you get 100. Multiply that by the measuring unit (1,000) and you get $100,000 as the purchase price. Hope that helps.

The county tax assessor is a good source for this type of information.  Most counties have a website where you can enter the property address and it should generate a profile summary of the property which often times include transaction history and purchase price.  Also will provide property tax amount and rate; property square footage, both lot and structure, zoning, current owner's name, etc.

Also you can try and type in the address; if property recently sold, the amount should be stated here as well.