Even when working with a Realtor just about everyone uses the internet for independently sourced information on available properties. And there’s a lot of information out there from sites such as Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. These sites have lots of good information. Unfortunately some of it is inaccurate. Certainly this is not intentional on their part. These sites pull their information from other sites such as the multiple list services and tax assessor data. Since this is an automated process, sometimes not all information is pulled correctly nor is the information always complete. These sites know this. As an example, Zillow with its Zestimate of property values includes a major disclaimer and suggests that its information is only a start.
Horse properties with acreage are particularly susceptible to inaccuracies for a couple reasons. First, many horse properties have been divided into different parcels for financing reasons. Those properties may have several tax records i.e., one for the home on limited acreage and another for the land. Any site that gathers the tax assessor information may be only reflecting one parcel, not the entire property. This affects the displayed annual taxes and any evaluation made by that site. Secondly, the land value indicated in the tax records may not reflect current market value of the property based on recent sales in that area. It is highly unlikely that the local tax assessor adjusts land values on a frequent basis. Thirdly, there are hundreds of multiple list services from which these sites pull information. If the local MLS doesn’t pass barn/stables information to these sites then the horse properties will not come up on advanced searches that include barn/stables criteria. In short, these sites are more well suited for sub-division type properties than they are for rural properties with outbuildings and acreage.
A couple sites that I particularly like for rural properties are www.landandfarm.com and www.landsofamerica.com. These sites get their information directly from the seller and have data fields within the site suited to listing features of importance to the prospective buyer. However, even with these sites, remember that the information you get through your internet search is just a start. If you see a property that has any appeal to you, contact the seller to verify what you’re finding. As they say, get it straight from the horse’s mouth.