Try finding an agent through a personal referral from someone you know and trust. If you can't then meet with three agents and see which one you feel most comfortable with. You want an agent that will talk more about what they will do for you then themselves and how great they are.
Depends on how ready you are to work with an agent and if you have an agent you trust and are comfortable with. Else you have two choices.
1. Get the info from bank websites, county clerks, courthouses, etc for each area you are looking at.
2. Save yourself the hours of work to do this and sign up for one of the paid sites. Yes, the information is free, but no, it's not easy to get in one place. So it's not a scam to pay for it, just a time saver as a starting point.
Once you have a general idea from doing the research on your own, then contact an agent you have a good vibe about.... more