Yesterday I spent a few hours pulling lists of Out-of-State owners from the New Jersey tax records website. It is more of a tedious task then anything else for sure. After using the New Jersey tax site for a bit I figured out some useful features that helped me access the data I wanted more quickly.
These tips work specifically for the New Jersey Tax Site at NJActB.org. The idea and concept may also apply to other state tax sites as well.
1) Download the List an excel format.
For me, this is the most powerful feature. I download all my search results into an excel file and then I can easily pull out any information I want to. Custom sorting, filtering on owner’s state, removing records that are owned by more then 3 people and much much more. If you want to ramp things up a bit, you can import these excel files into an access database and really do some custom reporting.
2) Use advanced search and limit your search results to 1 to 4 family homes
Unless you are into commercial investing, this tip will greatly reduce the amount of resulting records in a search. When you are doing something that is as tedious as looking through tax records, anything that can limit your total records is a big time saver
3) Use a date range
For my searches, I’m usually looking for properties where the owner has owned the house for more then 5 years. The reason is because there stands to be more equity in the house and a greater chance that the owner would be more motivated to sell for one reason or another.
4) When searching for an address, only put in the street name. (i.e. “123 Main” not “123 Main St”)
Tax records are inputed manually by some state worker (and we all know how detailed oriented these people can be). This means that information such as street names will be entered in a variety of ways. Lets take the street name 3 Gristmill St for example…
- 3 Gristmill St
- 3 Gristmill Steet
- 3 Gristmill St.
- 3 Gristmill Str
- 3 Gristmill Str.
- 3 Gristmill Strt
If you did a search for “3 Gristmill St”, it would only return the property if it was entered exactly like that. Searching for just “3 Gristmill” will return any records that begin with “3 Gristmill”.
5) Use wildcard characters such as ‘%’ when searching for owners
Say you are looking for properties that are owned by a bank or trust. On the NJ Tax website, if I do a search for “Bank” it will only return to me all owners that begin with the word bank…
- Bank of New York
- Banks, John
Common sense tells me that sometimes the word “bank” will fall in the middle. So to find these records we can use a wildcard character “%” or “*”. Now searching for “%bank” will return all recorded owners that have the word “bank” within it..
- Chase Bank
- Wells Fargo Bank
- The Bank of Little Falls
- Bank of New York
- John Bankersly (not what you are looking for, but will easily ignored)
I’d like to hear your tips as well. If you’d like to share one, please post a comment with your tax site address and tip. THANKS!