Friday, July 11, 2008

Fun With the Public Records (Shame on Me!)

So that I could prepare the satisfaction of mortgage for Mrs. P's signature (I used to be a real estate secretary, so this is something I can do with confidence), I puttered around on the Clerk of the Court's site, looking at all of my real estate docs, making sure I had all the right numbers and dates, as well as looking to be sure all the other, old stuff has been satisfactorily recorded.

I was about to log out when I got curious about my ex. The kids have told me that he and his wife own several rental properties, in addition to their half-mil* (value before the bust, anyway) personal residence. A search says this is true, but only two additional properties, and no foreclosures, despite the fact that both of them make their living by selling real estate. Good on them.

Then I looked up Neighbor Guy and his wife. It's always been clear that they're on firmer footing than most of the rest of us. Check this out: back in '84 when they bought their house, they only mortgaged $4000.00, and they paid that off 19 years ago. Apparently they were able to cover the rest in cash. Now remember that I only paid $29,200 for mine; theirs probably was a bit more. And it's very possible that they'd owned and sold another home before they bought this one. Still.

At that, I decided I knew quite enough about the people around me for one day. Maybe more snooping in what is, after all, public records another day.

*Jealous? No. Grateful I don't have to make the payments.


Anonymous said...

The only snooping of this kind that I've done has been at the city assessor's website. I went there merely to look up the name of a homeowner, but I stayed to spy out assessed home values of the immediate neighbors.

Tricia said...

Sham, sham. I would have done the same.

Bitty said...

Tricia: not only would I do it again, it turned out I did it again almost right away.

It's really easy to get lost in these kinds of records. Tall Son is in town, and last night we started looking up local criminal records for reasons entirely unrelated to this house business. We couldn't find the party we were looking for, even though we knew he was a son-of-a-bitch wife abuser of the worst kind (not that there's a good kind, but this was an especially horrific situation). We suspect his wife never pressed charges or (because he was a cop) the records were expunged.


Tall Son said, "Put my name in."

I looked at him and asked if he was sure.

"Sure," he said.

No results. He laughed and said he was relieved.

Then he said to put our last name alone in the field. It's an oddball name. Anything that would come up would be Someone Related to Us.

I asked him if he was sure we wanted to know.

"Yeah, sure," he laughed, but I was worried some uncomfortable bit of business might come up about his father or even his stepmother. You never know, and I'd rather not.

Only one name appeared: Marine Son's.


But as soon as I got over my momentary shock, I realized it was probably his driving without a license charge from a few years ago. A click on the link told me it was. The thing is, it said the charge was "suspended or revoked," while I thought it had been expired. Perhaps "expired" falls into the "revoked" category. Back in those days, I had lawyer connections, and my connection told him to plead "no contest" and it would all go smoothly. I went with him when he went to court, and the judge told him to prove he'd gotten the license reinstated and pay a smallish fine. Which he did.

Case dismissed.

Phil: Oh yeah. Looking up what the neighbors paid for their homes is fun, too, especially if you've been on site since the 70's and paid a lot less.