Home Buying in Irving Park>Question Details

Renee Conrad, Home Buyer in Chicago, IL

The realtor I had would not tell me what the present owners paid for the house I was interested in buying. I

Asked by Renee Conrad, Chicago, IL Fri Mar 14, 2008

tried to find this out myself with no luck. Do they have access to better databases? Are they obligated to tell you. My realtor just told me it doesn't matter. We aassumed the worse... they bought it cheap a year ago and are basically flipping it.

Help the community by answering this question:


Erik Sachs’ answer
Find the PIN through http://www.cookcountyassessor.com. Take the PIN to http://www.ccrd.info, search the PIN and look for the most recent deed transfer. Click on it and hopefully it will give you some clarity.

I think this is a repeat of an earlier comment with a little more detail - good luck!

Erik Sachs
RpV Realty
Email esachs@rpvinc.com
Cell 773/368-5515
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2012
Private sales, quit claim deed transfers, and family transfers do not always post clear data, even in the public records or tax records for sales price information. This is particularly true for cash sales, or private party financing. These types of property transfers represent a smaller percentage, but we don't know if your property has detail available or not.

If the detail is available, and your Realtor declined to provide this information, that is wrong.

Your Realtor, when saying it doesn't matter, is most likely trying to explain that the price paid on the last property transfer does not determine the present market value. That is correct.

Here's a few examples to consider:

Property purchased for 700K at December 2006. Comps support a market value today of 655K. Are you willing to pay the seller 700K becasue that is what the seller paid? Of course not. You want to pay market value, today's price.

Property purchased for 215K in 1995. Market value today 490K. Is the seller willing to sell it less because they paid less? No, the seller wants the highest price based on market value comps.

Property inherited and there is no estate tax. Market value is 375K. Is a seller willing to give it away because he got it for free? Does the fact that he did not pay influence the market price. No.

If the seller bought it for 400K and today it is worth 320K, what do you want to pay the seller? The amount the seller paid, or market value? So, if the seller bought it cheap at 115K, and today's comps support 185K, are you saying the seller should sell it for less? Doubtful.......unless the seller has a motivating reason to discount. Otherwise, the seller will seek the buyer willing to pay market value.

For this reason, the amount paid is somewhat irrelevant.

While I will explain to a buyer that his/her offer price needs to focus on the value of the property and how it stacks up against the competition, I would never withhold prior sales data (or any data) from a buyer.

Did your agent withhold data? Or, did he/she not have it, and explian that it's absence was not a factor in determining value?

When a p
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 21, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
Bryan, there are great deals out there and even if homes go down another 5-10% (approx.est.for next 12 mos.) You go in and make an offer based on that estimation. Another thing, not ALL markets are "bad markets". One neighborhood/town may be risky (Berwyn) another may be great (Lincoln Park) - it all depends on the LOCATION.

There is a give and take in every scenario. If home prices begin to level off and they will within the next 12 mos. what do you think will happen next? Interest rates will go back up!

Buyers that buy today are going to get a great deal, those that do not take advantage will lose, bottom line. With the rates at 5.85%-6% APR fixed 30yr and FHA w/only 3% down, I can't believe you would suggest that Buyers wait.

When the rates rise to 7%-8%, 9% in a few years, who will be the happier camper? The BUYERS that purchased with these great rates saving THOUSANDS of dollars on interest and building equity !

For more information please visit my website.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 16, 2008
Don't buy a house now!! I do not believe you said that!

With interst rates so low, it's remarkable that there are people out there saying this!

Unbeleivable !

PLEASE explain WHY no one should buy a home now??????
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 16, 2008
I agree with Jeffrey's resonse below. What the Seller's paid does't matter when you are looking at the homes "current value" and all improvements made to the home. Then compare to what is out in the market that is similar in price.

What was the reason for not giving you that information?

I suggest that you find another Realtor...
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 16, 2008
1. Your Real Estate agent is a terd.

2. Try the Chicago Tribune ... http://chicagotribune.public-record.com/realestate/
You can search 10 years of data by address. If you can't find anything let me know and I'll try.

3. Transparency is the greatest thing to ever happen to any government, and Obama loves transparency. Just thought I'd throw that in there :)
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 15, 2008
Your agent WOULD NOT tell you, or COULD not tell you? Sometimes, finding the purchase price on a property is more difficult than othertimes... Occassionally a property will change hands without being on the MLS, or maybe hand to hand...

but your agent should be able to access better databases than you have, and should be able to get your question answered. While I agree with him that what the seller paid is irrelevant, as your buyer's agent... I work for you, and as such, if you want to know what it sold for, and I have that information available to me... I'm going to supply it. It will come with my caveat that "purchase price is irrelevant to what the seller might be willing to sell for"... but you get to call the shots.

2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 14, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in 60201
Your realtor as your buyers agent should
inform you. I always let my clients know what the seller paid for the house as a buyers agent.
If you are serious about purchasing a particular home and presenting an offer, you are entitled to know that information whether the seller is flipping it or not.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 21, 2008
Very good advice below. However, I don't fully agree that knowing what the current owners paid is irrelevant. True, what they paid doesn't have any effect on its current value.

However, from an investor standpoint, all information is valuable. For instance: House is for sale for $400,000. Comps are at about $390,000, so it's not terribly overpriced. It's been vacant for 2 months. I'd sure like to know whether: (1) The house was bought 3 years ago for $360,000, and the owner's just trying to sell without having to bring money to the table, or (2) The house was bought 30 years ago for $15,000 by a couple in which the husband has died and the wife has moved to an assisted living facility.

In the first case, I know there isn't much price flexibility. In the second case, I know that there's tremendous flexibility. I don't know enough yet to gauge motivation, especially in the second case: Maybe the heirs just want to sell the house in as-is condition and divide up whatever equity there is. Or Maybe the heirs want to sell the house for top dollar in order to pay for mom's assisted living expenses. But it may well be worth it to put in a low offer, knowing that there's some chance it'll be accepted, or at least countered.

Hope that helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 21, 2008
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
I wouldn't buy a home without a great deal now because there are a lot more sellers than buyers meaning prices will probably come down a little more. Also the credit market is still falling apart. When the Realtors association downgrades their outlook for the housing market you know things have gotten real bad. I remember their optimistic views from last year.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 16, 2008
That information is top secret. You will need super secret security clearance.
You can go to the county clerk/courthouse and find the public documents.

By the way your realtor is either dishonest (this seems to be common) or incompetent.
Either way give em the Donald Trump treatment, tell them "You're Fired" and get a new agent.

Also, do not buy a house now, not a good investment.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 14, 2008
Dear Renee:
It is public record and would be posted in the local MLS unless the previous listing agent did not provide or the MLS system does not require it.
Although the fact is that it really does not matter what the seller paid for the house. Your offer should be based on what you value the house and what value the house brings you. Good luck
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 14, 2008
Sometimes even checking the tax records does not help. If the previous title change was recorded with no sales price (and this does happen) it is nearly impossible to get the information you are asking about.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 14, 2008
This is information is available to Realtors and is also available on to the public via the county assessor. That said, what the person paid for the property truly doesn’t matter. Buyers determine the market and Realtors/appraisers interpret the market. All we have to go by is recent solds and the price is set by what the market will currently bear. If the seller brought the home at a steal or it’s appreciated through the years you can’t fault them for making a good business decision. On the other hand, if they overpaid and or the market went down significantly , few buyers if any would match their purchase price and over pay for the property. I would however, provide that information and state the above.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 14, 2008
You can go to the town public records.Next go on Trulia.com,great site for that type of information.Check on your local MLS,there is a tab for public records.Enter address and search. Same thing on this site using comparable sales.Maybe you need to find a new realtor?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 14, 2008
Find the PIN through http://www.cookcountyassessor.com. Take the PIN to http://www.ccrd.info, search the PIN and look for the most recent deed transfer. Click on it and hopefully it will give you some clarity.

I think this is a repeat of an earlier comment with a little more detail - good luck!

Erik Sachs
RpV Realty
Email esachs@rpvinc.com
Cell 773/368-5515
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2012
It sounds like you had a realtor that was less than stellar! It's pretty simple to pull that information and if they couldn't find it, they should have just told you that they couldn't find it ANYWHERE and looked VERY HARD for it. if you haven't bought already, I recommend switching realtors. I would be happy to help.
Sierra - sbloom@prupref.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
I think your agent would most likely have access to this type of information. And it should also be available to the public at your county real estate appraisers office or clerk of courts office.

Even though the price the current owners paid has no bearing upon CURRENT market value, most people like to know anyway.

I supply it to my buyers if they ask.
Web Reference: http://www.susanmilner.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 21, 2008
Try this website:


Good luck on your purchase : -) Greg Zaccagni
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 21, 2008
save your money, 2-3 years, you can just pay cash for the house.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
The price the present owners paid for their home is a matter of public record, and I see no reason why the agent would not divulge that information to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 16, 2008

Your Realtor should make every effort to find out the information you need and pass it along to you. You can visit http://www.ccrd.info and you should be able to get the price they paid for the property.
In defense of your Realtor, if the property is listed at or below recent comparable sales, a seller may not care if you know what they paid for the property. In an active market, they want what the market is paying. However, in this current market where sales are slow it can help you determine if the seller has room to come down and make a deal happen if you're the only buyer. If you want a piece of their equity make an offer that you feel comfortable with and walk away if you don't get what you want. They may contact you at a later date if they don't have a deal but if it's priced right for this market, it may go to someone else. If you don't get a deal done you'll be left with waiting or buying a home not as good from a seller who may also price in-line with recent comparables. You win the battle but loose the war!!!

Best of luck with your search. Ken.
Web Reference: http://www.KDRchicago.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 14, 2008
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2015 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer