Bad Address Research
There are times when locating a property is extremely difficult and time consuming. Fortunately, most property preservation contractors receive their work orders for properties that have been located and inspected by an independent contractor working for a mortgage servicer.
Property preservation contractors probably receive a good, valid address for over 90% of their assignments but it is imperative that contractors recognize they are assuming responsibility for servicing the correct property regardless of the information they receive. It would be a smart business decision to confirm all information concerning the property before any work is started. The more professional contractors may confirm all information before leaving their office by accessing tax records and other resources.
The normal procedure for the majority of preservation contractors is to load the equipment on the truck and take off for the property. However, let’s see if we can’t establish some operating procedures which can save time and money and is sure to decrease the probability of charge-backs, litigation and lots of aggravation.
All property addresses should be verified with your local taxing authorities. In most instances property information will be recorded in the county seat court house. More and more of these records are available on the internet but if you operate in an area which has not put their records online, you could save yourself some time by finding the court house employees who can help you by telephone and also finding the professional records researcher that charges a fee for finding your information. Contractors will seldom actually need to go to this level of verification but if it can be done with little expense and time, it would go a long ways towards protecting your business from accusations of sub-standard preliminary research.
A good starting point for all preservation contractors is NETROnline. Quoting from this site’s home page
"The Public Records Online Directory is a Portal to official state web sites, and those Tax Assessors' and Recorders' offices that have developed web sites for the retrieval of available public records over the internet".
So there you go; a totally free directory of all known sites containing tax records. Phone numbers and contact information are listed for the record keepers that do not yet have their records online.
Property preservation contractors as a whole are becoming much more professional and are taking advantage of the technology that does benefit the industry. Once the contractor has confirmed owner of record, property address, description of property and any other useful information from the tax records, it is quite possible that Google Earth will let you stroll down the street and visit the property before you even leave your office. Google Earth describes itself with this taken from their home page:
"Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings and even explore galaxies in the Sky. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places and share with others".
With all the technological tools available to contractors today, there are not many good excuses left for working on the wrong property.