Berks County Public Records ~ What a Mess

Berks County Public Records ~ What a Mess
Posted By Jeffrey Hogue @ Jun 14th 2015 7:20am In: Real Estate

Having access to Berks County public records that relate to homes and properties is a great help. It is an even more significant help when those records are correct.

Virtually every municipality in the United States has a way of keeping records on the properties that make up their community. Advances in technology have allowed many of these municipalities to maintain accurate and informative data—some better than others.

 

My objective in writing this article is to make you, the citizens of this community, aware of how inaccurate real estate data can be destructive. After reading this, you may want to reach out to our Berks County officials, who are in charge of these records, to see what can be done to improve the situation. I tried with no success.

 

When a homeowner lists their property for sale with a real estate agent in the Reading-Berks area, the listing data gets entered into the multi-list (MLS). Some of the relevant information that populates the MLS comes directly from the Berks County Assessment Office. It includes property address, the owner(s) names, bedrooms, baths, square footage, property taxes, year built, lot size, building characteristics, and more. If the data received from the Assessment Office is incorrect and the real estate agent does not correct, it then circulates to all the online real estate portals like Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Realtor.com.

 

What many fail to realize is that homes that are not for sale populate all the property websites. Unchecked and often errored data flows from the Assessment Office computers and floods real estate websites far and wide.

 

Here is the issue- Let's say you live in a community like Spring Ridge and have a two-bedroom townhome. You are planning to sell the property, so you call a real estate agent and ask for a home value analysis. The agent looks at comparable home sales in your area and finds one in the MLS that sold for $200,000, but it had three bedrooms. The agent tells you that your property will likely sell for less than the three-bedroom home because yours has one less bedroom. But how can that be? You know the property, and it is the same model home as yours in the same community. They all have two bedrooms. Here's how- Berks County Assessment Records show three-bedrooms, and the real estate agent who listed it never changed the error when they entered the property in the MLS. Every person who owns a two-bedroom townhome in that particular community could pay the penalty for the data failure.

 

Appraisers use the MLS data when evaluating a home for a mortgage. Given the following scenario, the appraiser only has inaccurate data to use to value a home. That home sold for $200,000, and the MLS says it has three bedrooms, even though it only has two. Your home has two, and the Berks County public record noted it as such, so guess who loses.

 

I have seen similar data and more egregious errors all over the real estate information landscape. The errors range from wrong addresses to the incorrect square footage. Many of these data errors can and do affect the appraisal of a home. These errors are not fair to the seller or buyer.

 

I have seen this same error in data in many homes. The errors range from wrong addresses to the wrong square footage. Many of these data errors can and do affect the appraisal of a home. That is not fair to the seller or buyer.

 

There are ways to fix this issue with Berks County Public Records, and real estate agents can be part of the solution instead of adding to the problem. Someone in charge at the Berks County Assessment Office needs to listen!

 

Knowledge is power!

Jeffrey C. Hogue


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