During the course of your house investigation you will need to purchase manila folders to contain all of the various copies and research you turn up on the property. It should be your number one goal to get copies of every piece of information the city department will allow you to access. This is important because your detective work will require you to visit several if not all of the following places and it is very illegally that you will remember all of this stuff in your head. The major offices you should visit in person or online are:
- Tax Assessors Office (also known as Tax Collector and City or Town Clerk)
- Building Department (also known as Code Enforcement)
- Planning And Zoning Department
- Public Works Department
- Registry of Deeds / Courthouse
The tax assessors office is the first place you should visit because it will give you an idea of how the city actually views the property you are considering. This is very important because the tax assessor will be determining how the property is valued and deducted taxed. By the way, there have been many times when I have seen the assessors information vary dramatically from the information that is being introduced to the buyers. The most popular difference I see is the three unit property that is legally a two unit property. The second most popular difference I see is a home which is listed as a four bedroom / two bathroom home that is legally only a three bedroom house. What is usually happened in these cases is that the owners made changes and improvements to the house without obtaining the proper permits and approval from the city.