Knowing the sale price of a home can be a valuable tool for buyers and sellers alike. For buyers, this information can help them determine what neighborhoods are in their price range or craft an offer on their dream home. For sellers, it can help them choose a listing price or negotiate with potential buyers.
But knowing how to find out how much a house sold for can be its own challenge. There are several methods for doing so, like checking tax and property records, but the most reliable way is to ask your real estate agent.
If you’re not a real estate professional and you’re looking for home sale information, you’ll need to make sure that real estate transactions are considered public record in the jurisdiction of your search — that means the information will be available to access by the general public.
Luckily, home sale transactions are considered public record in most states. However, accessing these records can be an obstacle for anyone unfamiliar with navigating local government bureaucracy. Some counties make home sales available for free search online, while others charge a fee, and others still require you to request the records in person.
The following is a list of non-disclosure states, where home sales are not a matter of public record:
In these states, you will have to ask the seller directly for the house price, or consult a real estate professional with access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
Knowing how much a house sold for is useful for running comps in real estate.
There are a few methods to find out how much a house sold for, whether you live in a non-disclosure state or not.
For those who do not live in a non-disclosure state, property tax assessments are a reliable resource for home sale prices. (In real estate, automated valuation models (AVMs) use tax information to determine home prices.)
Property taxes pay for important public services, like schools, emergency services, streets, and more. They are calculated as a percentage of a property’s value, and as such, tax assessors must keep up-to-date and accurate records of the market value of homes.
The market value is how much the property would sell for under normal market conditions. While this is different from historical sales prices — which are actual records of past transactions — it is a reliable indicator of how much the property is worth.
Many tax assessors make annual property tax assessments available online. If the records aren’t available online, try visiting your local Tax Assessor’s office in person. Some counties make this information free to access, while others charge a small fee.
If you’re looking for a history of actual home sale transactions and how much a house has sold for instead of a market value, try searching for property records. These records include a chronological history of the property, including information about past transactions.
You can find these records in two ways: a title search or a visit to your county recorder’s office.
A title search is an important part of the homebuying process and one of the final steps in closing. During this process, an attorney or title company examines public records on a property and completes an abstract of title — including past home sales, typically within the last 50 years.
An abstract of title is a reliable source of information, but it comes at a price: A title search typically costs between $100 to $250.
If you live in a state that is not a non-disclosure state, you may be able to conduct a title search of your own at your county recorder’s office. You should be able to pull past records of past transactions for any given address, but the process for doing so will differ from county to county. Ask the recorder’s office for guidance on best practices before beginning your search.
Real estate websites, like Zillow and Orchard, maintain databases of current and recent home sales that they make available to the public. They sometimes also include historical sales data, including how many times a property has sold for and for how much it sold for each transaction.
Real estate websites do their best to maintain accurate and up-to-date information. However, they aren’t as reliable as a tax assessment or official title search.
If you do decide to use real estate websites, the best way to ensure that you’re getting a reliable estimate is to visit multiple sites and compare the data. If their estimates are within a small range, you can average the prices for a reasonable estimate of the home sale price. If each site is giving you a drastically different number, it’s best to use a different method.
Curious how much you’d make from your home sale? Try our Home Sale Calculator — our estimates are 30% more accurate than the rest.
Consulting your real estate agent is the most reliable way to find out how much a house sold for. As a real estate professional, your agent will have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a private database with in-depth and accurate information on real estate transactions, including property prices and past transactions.
Don’t be shy about reaching out to an agent. Even if you’re just starting your research and aren’t ready to buy or sell yet, connecting with a real estate professional can help you navigate the market — no matter where you’re at in your home buying or selling journey.
Here are just some of the things your agent will be able to help you with:
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