April 1st, 2013 7:51 PM by Taydus Taydus, AHWD, CNE, CRS, GRI
Though the official launch is a month away, the concept is similar to that of the Carfax version (not affiliated with Housefax) only it will help potential homebuyers learn about the history of a home before they close on their purchase.
In a recent article in Boulder’s Daily Camera it is suggested that a potential buyer purchase a Housefax (estimated to cost between $39 to $79 per report) prior to submitting an offer on a home.
Although I feel that a service such as Housefax could be valuable, in today’s competitive market of low inventory, and available homes flying off the market at record speeds, I would suggest making your purchase offer and writing the approval of the Housefax report right into the offer itself. This way, you are not delaying your offer and risking the chance of losing the home of your desire to another buyer. It is also important to note that while the article reports that the information is delivered instantly via email, it states that the home seller will need to give their authorization to their insurance company prior to releasing any claim information. This could take some time, and if you are waiting on this information prior to submitting your offer, it could cost you your new home to another potential buyer. The folks at Housfax are working on a price adjustment in the event the homeowner does not authorize the request for the claim history.
According to the article, “Housefax is a comprehensive report on a property’s history that includes information about insurance claims, building permits, fire-related incidences, meth-lab and sinkhole hazards” along with other data such as replacement-cost estimates and neighborhood crime data. However a Housefax report should in no way be used to replace a thorough home inspection by a licensed professional home inspector, nor should it be used to replace due diligence on the buyer’s behalf to investigate a particular neighborhood. Instead, a Housefax report could be a nice addition to a potential buyer’s arsenal of information when purchasing a home.
As for sellers, this could be an opportunity to make your home stand out above the rest! For less than $100 you could offer a Housefax for your listing (just like many people offer a Carfax with the sale of their used car).
Either way, transparency is the name of the game in today’s real estate market. Both buyers and sellers are becoming more sophisticated and educated about their purchases and the real estate market as a whole. If Housefax lives up to its full potential, it could become a valuable asset to buyers, sellers and Realtors alike.