Updated July 24th, 2019
Do you need to find out how much a house sold for? Maybe you're interested in buying and want to find out what you can afford in your target area; or maybe you're getting ready to sell and want to look up how much similar homes have sold for in your area.
Whatever your reasons, the good news is that there are a variety of ways to find out how much someone paid for a house.
While you take the DIY approach and look up information online, data on sites like Zillow and Redfin isn't always up-to-date - or even accurate.
The best way to find out the actual price a house sold for is speaking with a local realtor - it's also free.
In the meantime, here are some avenues you can explore to get you started on your research.
How can you find out if a house has been sold?
To find out if a house has been sold, you can check out real estate sites like Zillow, but these sites are not known for their accuracy and often have dated information. Your County Recorder's Office has precise information available to the public unless you live in a state like Texas that has non-disclosure laws. If you can't find out if a house has been sold on real estate sites or through local government, you need to contact a local realtor who handles the neighborhood of the house you're curious about.
How to find out how much a house sold for?
The best way to find out how much a house sold for is to ask a local real estate agent who can look up the house on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The MLS is a database available to agents who use it to list homes, find homes for sale, and share with each other the sold data for any property listed.
You can also try your County Recorder's office or website. But if the property is in a non-disclosure state (or county,) you may be completely out of luck. In many non-disclosure states, even local tax and appraisals officials, and popular realtor sites like Zillow, have to get their information from local realtors.
The current non-disclosure states in 2019 are Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri (some counties), Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. If the house you are interested in is in one of these states, contact a local realtor for any information on the property.
Are Zillow sold prices accurate?
Zillow's sold prices are not 100% accurate. Zillow scrapes its data from 3rd party sources that access public records. The site won't receive data from county offices governed by non-disclosure laws, they have to rely on local agents directly. Zillow also gets data when agents update the information on their Zillow profiles. But sometimes this data does not reflect the true net to the seller.
For example, Zillow sold prices may not reflect any seller concessions. Or the data may include closing costs which would make it appear that the house sold for more than it did.
In addition, Zillow's data may be spotty in certain geographic areas and some property sales may take longer to appear on Zillow's site even if they've already been updated in county records.
How to find out how much a house sold for in your neighborhood?
The easiest way to find out how much a house sold for in your neighborhood is to ask the agent who sold the house. If you don't have that agent's information, you can check real estate websites such as Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com but keep in mind the information on these sites isn't reliable.
Another option is to check if your County Recorder's office has a website that you can pull that information from. Public Records Online Directory is a convenient portal to Recorders' websites accessible by the public.
If you still come up empty-handed, you can contact a local realtor who can access the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for your area and give you the exact price that the house in your neighborhood sold for.
Which real estate website should I pick?
You're better off checking more than one real estate website. Most real estate websites have either an address lookup tool or a map that allows you to zoom into neighborhoods. Common websites include Homes.com, Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com.
It's best to check as many real estate websites as you can so you can compare results. It's normal for multiple sites to have conflicting information. If you find different sales prices for the same house, you'll want to confirm the results with a local realtor.
Enter Your Preferred Area
On Zillow.com, type in the property in the search field. If the information on Zillow is correct and updated, you may get a valid sale price. It's a similar procedure on other real estate sites. If you visit the County Recorder's website, you may be asked for the zip code first. If there is a new real estate transaction relating to the property, it'll pull up if it's in the system.
What if they don't list the price?
If you've tried real estate websites and your County Recorder's website and still can't find the price that a house sold for, you need to contact a local realtor who can access the price for you.
Real estate websites have limited and frequently incorrect information. Sometimes real estate transactions take a while to update on all websites including government sites.
In non-disclosure states, the sales price of a specific home might not be available to the public at all. This is why the most time-efficient and accurate results will always come from a local agentwho has access to real-time sold home prices.
What are the next steps?
If you've exhausted efforts to find the sold price of a house online using real estate sites and your county's website, you can either contact the realtor who sold the house, or you can contact a local realtor who handles that particular market and ask the realtor to look up the most recent data on the house in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
Can I find out how much a house sold for in person?
If you want to find out how much a house sold for in person, go to your County Recorder's Office. A County Recorder's Office maintains all the records for real estate sales in the area that it serves. In most counties, you'll be able to look at the records yourself, while in others the office staff might look it up for you.
If for some reason, your county government office doesn't have the information yet, or you live in a state that has non-disclosure laws, your only option is to contact a top agent in your local area, like a Clever Partner Agent.
Partner Agents have years of experience in their local markets and access to any information you need on local properties. Find a top local agent in your neighborhood today for more information.
Top FAQs About House Prices
If you're researching house prices, you have several options depending on what kind of information you need. Real estate websites can give you a general idea about house prices, but they can't be counted on for accuracy. These top FAQs about house prices should get you started.
How do I find out if someone owns property?
You can find out who owns a piece of property at the County Recorder's Office or its website that governs the area you are interested in. Local governments keep track of all property records. Each record contains the address of the property, parcel number, what the property sold for and all past and current owners.
Alternatively, you can try the online Public Record database. Also, the website PropertyShark.com will allow you one free search which can render the name of the current property owner if you have the complete address. Keep in mind that some states have non-disclosure laws that prohibit government offices from sharing real estate information with the public.
Are real estate transactions public record?
For most states, real estate transactions are public record. Many county offices even have websites, so you can access data online. Some may require you to visit their local office. It's not uncommon for County Recorder's offices to charge a small administration fee for information.
But there are a few states and counties which have non-disclosure laws and won't release real estate transactions to the public. If you're interested in a real estate transaction in non-disclosure state or county, you should contact a local realtor.
How do I find out a house's history?
When you want to find out the history of a house, you can do a fair amount of research online. The site homedisclosure.com can give you some information, especially about the local area, but won't dig deep into previous owners.
For more accurate information, check for a property abstract at your County Recorder's office and ask to review the chain of title. You can also check legal documents such as deeds, mortgages, wills, probate records, tax sales, and even court litigation. These documents will also have the names of all the people who have owned the house, how long they owned it and what they paid for it. If you live in a non-disclosure state that doesn't share records with the public, you should contact a local realtor.
How do I find real estate comps?
If you want to find real estate comps, you can get a ballpark figure by using real estate sites but they are hit-and-miss. Look for homes in the same neighborhood or zip code. The more details that you have on the home you are trying to get a comparable value for the better.
For example, find homes that have similar square footage and number/type of rooms. Note the condition, age and features. The exact location of the home is important. Homes near freeways or busy industrial areas are going to be valued less while homes on a corner lot will probably be valued more. Remember that estimates and historical data on free real estate sites are often incorrect or dated so the values you come up with may be off.
The best way to find real estate comps is to contact a local agent in your area and ask for a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). Top local agents are the most thorough and accurate resources when researching properties.