Several of the resources real estate brokers use can cost upwards of $1,000 dollars or more per month. Brokers use several resources with many more thankfully in the range of less than $100 per month, with many being free.
Many of these are not all that private.
Here are a few of my private and free resources you might find helpful. The first website you should go to is burtpolson.com for my current articles and archive of every article I have written.
City and county municipal code
The municipal code is the law for the local jurisdiction and includes how the city personnel and elected officials run the local government. The zoning ordinance and general plan is part of the documents you will find. Commercial brokers use this information extensively.
Each municipality may use a different service. The two services that include my city and county are qcode.us/codes for the City of Napa and library.municode.com for the County of Napa. You will find many other municipalities included as well.
Geographic information system (GIS)
Many county municipalities and some cities provide a GIS website which gives an aerial view of a property with the parcel outline. Included are several characteristics of the site including the zoning code (which you need to review the definition in the zoning ordinance), Alquist-Priolo earthquake fault information, watershed area, soil types, registered hazardous material sites and other valuable information about your locale.
The site for the City of Napa is napa.zoomprospector.com, and Napa County is countyofnapa.org/1517. Remember, searching online for “GIS municipality” replacing municipality with the city or county you are researching will usually bring up the local website.
Cell tower search
To find locations of existing and future towers and antennas for cellular, radio, or microwave that exist you can search a specific address at antennasearch.com.
Learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA law can be complicated, difficult to understand and often misunderstood. Learn about your rights as a person with disabilities as well as the requirements a property owner must follow in providing accommodations by going to adata.org.
Well water statistics for a specific area
The registration of any well construction, alteration or destruction is required by the California Department of Water Resources. You can search their online database for water well statistics by geographic sections as well as a report filed for a specific well by going to gis.water.ca.gov/app/wcr.
Verify a real estate licensee
Every state has a department, bureau or commission who licenses individuals to represent others in real estate transactions. We have the California Bureau of Real Estate’s website at dre.ca.gov that allows anyone to look up the details of a licensee, the name of his or her broker, the number of years licensed and if there are any past or present disciplinary actions.
There are many more free resources available to you, which I use in my daily course of business. Look for future articles with what is available.
Burt M. Polson, CCIM, is an active commercial real estate broker. Reach him at 707-254-8000, or [email protected] Sign up for his email newsletter at BurtPolson.com.