Resource Library for Real Estate Professionals
Links to free resources. See the research tips below. See our Homebuyers’ Resource Library for additional links to other useful sites.
In matters of legal or financial importance, please verify any information you find on the internet.
Municipal Quick Links to municipal websites, assessor and tax collector web pages, online databases, tax maps, GIS tax maps and tax invoices in Maine Counties of Cumberland and York and New Hampshire Counties of Belknap, Carroll, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham and Strafford.
Property Tax Rates: Maine Full Value Rates 2012, New Hampshire Local Tax Rates & Full Value Rates 2013
Maine 2013 local tax rates may be found in Municipal Quick Links.
Mortgage Calculators calculate and compare different types of mortgages, accelerated payoff savings, total monthly real estate costs, VA loan costs.
Generating Plot Sketches of a property from a metes and bounds description using a tract plotting program.
Data Maps: New Hampshire Data Maps, Maine Data Maps. Use the site tools to navigate to your address, identify, draw, measure and print. Activate information layers. See Municipal Quick Links for links to local data maps and to GIS tax maps. Many of the GIS tax maps have layers that may be activated to show utilities, zoning, etc.
Satellite views may be found on FlashEarth ,Google Maps, New Hampshire Data Maps, Bing Maps, MapQuest, Google Earth and the GIS Tax Map sites found on Municipal Quick Links. Speed, magnification, image quality, season, tide and accuracy of location by street address all vary by provider. Use more than one site. Explore and use the tools on each site. For flyover tours, Google Earth is fast and fun. For an urban tour, navigate the street views on Google Maps.
General Information Sites:
Public Records and Search Systems are directories of free public records databases. For best results, use these sites to find the database site you wish to search. Then narrow your scope by category, ending with the individual name. No need to purchase a search.
Screen Capture (free download) Capture images from selected parts of your screen. Label your image, print, copy and paste images directly into a word doc, an email, etc. or save the image to a folder in your computer.
(To install program, click on site1 under download, halfway down the left side of the screen capture download page.)
PDF Converter (free download) Converts PDF files to editable text in Word, Excel and RTF.
Dropbox (free download) Store images and documents in the cloud. Add, access and edit from any location and device. Work on files as a team. Share documents with your clients. Privacy controls allow you to control and limit access.
Research Tips for Using Online Resources
Determining the Owner of a Property:
Go to Municipal Quick Links to search by street name or map and lot number for the associated owners name using the GIS tax map, database, assessor’s lists or tax invoice sites. The deed reference may be listed on the property card.
If none of the above resources are available, use Reverse Address to determine the names associated with the property. These may be renters or owners. Search their names in the Maine Counties or New Hampshire Counties online Registry of Deeds database in the grantee index to see if there is a deed.
If an owner inherited the property, it may be necessary to consult probate or town records for ownership information.
These tips and links are for informational purposes only. An official title search of the property by a legal professional will confirm the correct owner.
Generating an Abutters List:
Working from the online resources for your town found on Municipal Quick Links.
Easiest option: Most GIS tax maps will generate an abutters mailing list, with minor variations by provider and by town. Find your locus, look for section labelled “Abutters Tools”, “Select Abutters” or “Find Abutters” on the left hand side of the page, enter a number for your radius in the box marked distance or feet, click the abutters button to select, and the site will generate a list. Look for options to save or print, either as a report or as mailing labels.
(Note: If you’re using a site provided by Woodardcurran, make sure that only one address is listed before clicking to generate an abutters list. If multiple addresses are listed at the bottom of the page, click and highlight your address, and choose “Clear unselected owners” from the drop-down “selection action” list found towards the bottom right of the page.)
GIS tax map sites provided by Caigisonline will generate either reports or mailing labels as pop-ups which may be saved as a PDF or printed.
Sites provided by Woodardcurran have excel and envelope icons located to the left, just under the map allowing the lists to be saved to either an excel spreadsheet or a file compatible with MS Word Mail Merge.
Sites provided by Mapsonline generate a pop-up list that may be printed. Or to generate a better mailing label list, use CTRL+A to select, then use CTRL+C to copy, open a blank Word doc and use CTRL+V to paste into the Word doc, then edit your list and use Word’s mailing label options.
Next option: If the town has conventional tax maps available online, but does not have a GIS tax map site, use the online assessor’s database or the online assessor’s lists to determine the tax map and lot number of your property. Locate your lot on the conventional tax map and identify the streets or tax map and lot numbers within your desired range. Search the online database or the assessor’s lists for the corresponding owners and mailing information. If searching by street, enter the street, omitting the number for a list of all properties on that street. Similarly, if searching by lot numbers, enter only the map number for a list of all lot owners on that map. Then choose only those within your range. Copy and paste lists into a blank Word doc, edit and use Word’s mailing label options.
Last option: If the town has no online information, locate your street address on MapQuest, Bing Maps or Google Maps . Use the satellite view. Note the names of the surrounding streets. Searching by street and town, omitting any street number, Reverse Address will generate a list of names and addresses on that street. Select, copy and paste the list into a blank Word doc. To help determine the range, go back to your map and enter low and high street numbers from your reverse address list, adjusting up or down as necessary, to create a visual of your desired range. Or, on Google Maps, click on the dot shaped icon in the lower left corner, located just above the + sign and then click anywhere on the map and it may give you a number range and street name. Edit to eliminate duplicates and addresses that are beyond your range. Finally, use Word’s mailing label options.
If the owner’s address differs from the locus’ street address, send your marketing mailer to both addresses for your best coverage. The tenant or the owner/seasonal resident or their friends and family might be interested in buying property in the neighborhood. Your safest option may be to address each mailer to both the name found in your search or Current Resident.
Property Tax Calculator:
Enter the assessed value and the municipal tax rate into this Property Tax Calculator to estimate current and future property taxes. To enter the mill tax rate as a percentage, move the decimal point to the left one place. (Note that towns that bill bi-annually may list a tax rate on the bill that is for half the year and this rate should be multiplied by 2 for the full year’s rate.)
For the property valuation see Municipal Quick Links. Property cards found in the assessors’ databases and on GIS tax maps, valuation lists and tax bills all list the assessed value.
Maine 2013 local tax rates may be found in Municipal Quick Links.
Most towns post their tax rates on their assessing, tax or home pages. The tax rate may appear on the property tax bill. (Note that towns that bill bi-annually may list a tax rate on the bill that is for half the year and this rate should be multiplied by 2 for the full year’s rate.) The tax rate/1,000 may be calculated by dividing the full year’s tax amount by the property’s assessed value, and then multiplying by 1,000. Or lastly, contact the town to request the rate.
To estimate a property tax amount, multiply the net assessment by the tax rate, then divide by 1000.
This link is for informational purposes only. Please verify all calculations with the tax collector.
Mortgage Calculator Plus may be used to calculate and compare many different types of mortgages.
Estimate Monthly Real Estate Costs with this calculator by inputting yearly property taxes (if tax bill is for ½ year, multiply by 2) and yearly insurance as well as mortgage amount, type and interest rate. Remember to add in monthly homeowners association dues under HOA Fees, if any. Use the extra payments tab if increasing the amount or frequency of mortgage payments:
Use this VA Loan Calculator to estimate monthly costs and the funding fee.
Use the sliders on the Mortgage Payoff Calculator to estimate and compare how much money would be saved by increasing the amount or frequency of mortgage payments. The report button brings up existing and accelerated payment schedules for the term of the loan, side by side. There is also a print option.
These links are for informational purposes only. Please verify all calculations with the lender.
Researching the Financial History of a Property:
Go to Municipal Quick Links to find property cards in assessors’ databases and attached to GIS tax maps which usually give the recent sales history, including the purchase price. Assessors’ lists, tax commitment lists, and tax bills online may also indicate past sales figures. Make note of the assessed value of the property (which may differ from the fair market value.)
In New Hampshire, determine the sale price by dividing the total tax stamp amount on the deed by the NH Tax Factor Rates in effect for the period in which the property was purchased. For example, $3000 in tax stamps divided by a transfer tax factor of .015 gives a purchase price of $200,000.
Determining outstanding mortgages and liens on the property may take a bit of work. Search all owners named on the deed in the grantor Index at Maine Counties, New Hampshire Counties. Note all mortgages and liens and include the opposite party and the dollar amount. Discharges and releases are indexed under the grantor index in most registries but may be under the grantee index in some and under both in a few. Search the grantor and/or grantee indexes and cross out any items that have been paid. This should leave you with the items that are still outstanding.
An official title search of the property by a legal professional will verify which items are still outstanding. These tips are only for informational purposes only and not intended as a warranty of any kind.
Finding the Deed for the Property:
Go to Municipal Quick Links to view property cards on the GIS tax map and database sites which often list recent deed history or check assessors’ lists and tax invoice sites. (Occasionally an incorrect deed reference is cited. Always verify.)
Or search the owner’s name in the Maine Counties or New Hampshire Counties Registry of Deeds grantee index.
In New Hampshire, no deed is required from an estate to the heirs. The most recent deed and legal description might be that of the deed into the decedent. See “Searching Probate” section immediately below.
If the property is bank owned and the deed has not yet been recorded, follow the procedures outlined in Determining the Owner of a Property and in this section to find the name of the last owner and their deed.
Red Door Title is happy to provide a copy of your deed. Deed Request Form
These tips and links are for informational purposes only. An official title search of the property by a legal professional will confirm the correct deed.
When a property is inherited in Maine or New Hampshire there should be a probate filed in the state the property is located. It does not have to be filed in the county where the property is located.
Recent Maine probates are available online at Maine Probate Records Online. Search by the heir’s or the decedent’s name. Most documents in the file may be viewed online. Older Maine probates are indexed and viewable only in the county probate office in which they have been filed. Any deeds out from the estate should reference the county and the file number.
New Hampshire probate is not online. Search the public use computer available in any probate office for newer probates anywhere in the State of New Hampshire. Search by the heir’s or the decedent’s name. Click on the file number to view a list of documents filed. The documents themselves are only viewable in the county probate office in which the probate has been filed. Older probates are indexed and viewable only in the county probate office in which they have been filed. Any deeds out from the heirs of the estate should reference the county and the file number.
If any minor children are named as heirs, their interest may only be deeded out by a guardian appointed by the probate court and a guardianship file must be opened.
If any adult is found to be incompetent or requests that their affairs be handled by a guardian, their interest may only be deeded out by a guardian appointed by the probate court and a guardianship file must be opened.
Any time a property is inherited, a probate file should be opened.
An official title search of the property by a legal professional will determine if all actions required by the probate court have been taken to legally transfer the property.
If you think a joint tenant, heir or other owner may be missing or deceased, search for them on https://familysearch.org/search which searches the Social Security Death Index, U.S. Census records and other sources. This site may be searched without creating an account or logging in. It helps to have some idea of the date range and general location of the event. This site does not provide Social Security numbers.
This link is for informational purposes only. Any family information must be officially verified and death certificates or other official documents provided.
Official survey plans drawn by a licensed surveyor and approved by the town or city are the gold standard. Your deed may reference the plan number under which it is recorded at the Maine Counties, New Hampshire Counties registries of deeds. Plans may be indexed by name in the plan or grantor indexes. The availability of plans viewable online varies greatly from county to county. Older plans on a deed may not be viewable online or may not give a plan number. Older plans may only be indexed in card files or books which can only be found and viewed by traveling to the registry. Plans which are not recorded may very often be found filed at the town or city assessor’s office. Plans may also be found at the office of the surveyor cited in the plan reference on the deed. If it’s an old plan and the surveyor cited is no longer in business, often a current surveying company will have those plans. Check with Maine Surveyors or New Hampshire Surveyors.
Finding Tax Map Images:
If no plan is available, look for a tax map using Municipal Quick Links. If the town has both GIS tax maps and tax maps in PDF form, look at both for the most comprehensive information.
Find the PDF tax map site tools by rolling your cursor in the bottom right corner of your screen. Your screen capture program may be used to capture the selected portion of your image.
Use the printer icon on any of the GIS tax map sites to generate a pop-up copy of your lot, adding your title in the input box provided. Print ((CTRL+P) or save ((CTRL+S.)
More tips for using the many GIS tax map tools may be found on the bottom of the Municipal Quick Links page.
Tax maps are not a legal standard and are for informational purposes only and should not be used as a legal description. When viewing a GIS aerial view of your locus overlaid with the tax lot lines, be aware that the overlay may not be accurately placed. For any concerns about a property, rely only on an official survey by a licensed surveyor.
Generating Plot Sketches of a Property:
Generate an image of your lot by entering the metes and bounds legal description in your deed into the following free track plotting programs.
Tract Plotter draws straight lines only but is very forgiving of less than complete legal descriptions and will fill in missing portions as logic dictates.
For curved lines such as a road enter the compass direction (i.e. n for north) and the distance, omitting the other information and this plotter will fill in the line as a straight red line. Click the Show Labels and the Full Precision boxes. Use your screen capture to snap and copy, print or save your sketch.
Tract Plotter App is the smartphone version of Tract Plotter.
Deed Plotter also draws straight lines only and generates a nice looking product but only accepts degrees for your course direction, omitting minutes and seconds.
Sketches generated by these programs are not a legal standard and are for informational purposes only. For any concerns about a property, rely only on an official survey by a licensed surveyor.
Historic Map Collections:
The David Rumsey Map Collection and Historic MapWorks are excellent sources of historical maps. When searching for your town (spell out the state name), look for maps by D.H. Hurd & Co. and by Sanford, Everts & Co. from the late 1800s, which label the dwellings with the names of the residents. Use the full screen, magnifying and navigating tools.
Dartmouth Library Digital Collections has NH Sanborn fire insurance maps dating from the 1880s through the 1930s of downtown areas showing building footprints and lot lines. Explore other map collections on this site.
Search the Library of Congress Map Collection for antique panoramic bird’s eye view maps of your town and other maps.
See the UNH Library Digital Collections for older geographic surveys.
Explore the online historical resources section immediately below for more maps and links to other map sites.
Researching the Historical Background of a Property:
You will find many genealogy sites online and tips on how to use them.
Look also at your local historical society records, library reference materials, vital records at the town hall, cemetery records, church records and old registry of deeds and probate records.
Online historical resources:
https://familysearch.org/search searches Social Security Death Index records, U.S. Census records and many other records. This site may be searched without creating an account or logging in.
http://cyndislist.com/ is a comprehensive list of links to genealogical research sites online.
Maine historical resources include:
In New Hampshire explore:
http://www.library.unh.edu/diglib/bookshelf/NHPapers/ Search the State and Provincial Papers of New Hampshire which include town papers, land grants, Revolutionary War records and early probates. Select the volume or series you wish to search, select the read online option to open the book or document, then enter your name or word in the search box.
See the historic maps section immediately above for more resources.