About Our Data
For over 146 years, The Warren Group has been trusted as the only reliable resource in New England for real estate property data.
Through our relationships with the Town Assessors, the foundation of our database was built from the basic property record. On the property and building characteristics we append lot size, gross living area, number of rooms, heat source, roof material and much more!
In addition to the data collection process, we have remote data collectors and an acquisitions department who contact or visit local town clerks and county registries. The data that is collected are sales transfers, mortgages, re-finances, liens, auction notices and other public records.
The records are standardized and the data is verified using our multiple step state-of-the-art technology. Our transaction processing team provides the final approval. In the end a transaction record is matched to the appropriate property record and added to the property history. Occasionally, transactions occur prior to the assessment office making the change, which causes some transactions without a match to a property record. Additional data quality audit steps are performed throughout the year to continue to match these records.
Assessor files are collected annually, while transaction records are collected daily and processed weekly.
Street names are standardized using the U.S. Post Office standards. All directionals such as “North,” “South,” “East,” and “West” are abbreviated by their first letter whether the directional precedes the street name, as in North Main St (N Main St), or follows the name as in Blue Hill West (Blue Hill W).
Condo unit numbers defy standardization. Sometimes the unit, building, and floor numbers are found in both the street number and unit number. Carefully examine these data when trying to locate a specific condo unit.
Condo units are typically listed by street address as opposed to the condominium complex’s name. If the public record indicates a condo name instead of street address, then the condo name will be used in the ‘street name’ field.
Data Collection Process
The Warren Group (TWG) real estate database is property centric. Annually, we collect the property files from the assessors. Our technology links transactional data: sales, mortgages, assignment of mortgages, discharge of mortgages, foreclosure and credit related records (e.g. State, Federal, Municipal tax liens, etc.) to the property/assessment record. TWG attempts to link all transactions to a parent property record. Occasionally a mismatch may happen. Likewise, there may be discrepancies with property characteristics where either the data source may not reflect the most recent improvements to a specific property or in some other fashion may not accurately describe the property. We make every effort to verify and correct erroneous information when it is brought to our attention in a timely manner. Changed and deleted records are part of our weekly update.
Usage of Data Error Reports
The Warren Group uses Data Error reports to compile statistical profiles of the RERS database, in an effort to identify the sources of errors. Data errors can originate with the source of the data or result from problems in transcribing, verifying or enhancing the data. The quality and availability of resources to help us research reported errors depends heavily on the data providers themselves. As a result, not all error reports can be individually researched. However, any suspected errors that are reported allow us to identify problems in sourcing the data, and to correct any problems with our own processes. All error reports are kept, and as resources become available, we will use the information provided to analyze and correct problems reported previously.
Limitations of Data Error Reports
The information provided in the RERS database is a matter of public record. As a result, The Warren Group has no control over the data provided to us by public entities such as town assessors or registries. While we have the ability to correct errors in our database, we cannot address data errors at their source. If you wish to correct errors in data provided to us, you must contact the data source, whether this is a Registry, Town Hall or Assessor. You should also be aware that there is often a lag between when data is gathered by a public entity and when that data is provided to the public. We attempt to collect this data in as timely a manner as possible, but we have no control as to when it is released by the public agencies. Note: Our property characteristics data (living area, condition, age, etc.) is a reflection of information provided to us by the municipal assessor and is typically the same as when the assessor last certified the data. Changes made to the property and building characteristics since that time or any unreported modifications to the property (e.g. without a building permit) may not be reflected in this data. To maintain the integrity of our data, The Warren Group does not change property characteristics data without confirmation from the assessor’s office.
We make every effort to ensure that the data provided in our RE Records Search is timely and accurate. The Warren Group has devoted considerable effort in the collection, verification and enhancement of the data. We appreciate your efforts to assist us in making the RE Records Search the premier source of real estate data in New England. We hope that with your help we will continue to provide the data and tools for you to fulfill all your real estate data needs.
Deed Types Codes
|DEED TYPE CODES|
Distressed Property Status
The Warren Group defines a property as “Distressed” if it’s current status is one or more of the following:
- A petition to foreclose or foreclosure lis pendens has been filed against the property
- A foreclosure auction has been scheduled
- It is lender owned due to foreclosure deed (REO)
If a property is currently a Distressed Property, the full record display for that property will include distressed status fields. These fields tell you what stage of the foreclosure process the property is in and the last update date we have for the distressed status.
Owner Name Abbreviations
Owner Name Abbreviations
Often the property address is used by a real estate trust as its legal name. “30 Main St RT” as Seller, Buyer or Owner1 with “John Doe, Tr” as Seller, Buyer or Owner2 may have a property address of “30 Main St”.
This is a partial list of abbreviations used for company names
USA HUD = Housing & Urban Development
USA DOR = Department of Revenue
USA IRS = Internal Revenue Service
USA VA = Veterans Administration
MBTA = Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority
MDC = Metropolitan District Commission
Mass Comm of = Commonwealth of Massachusetts
DOR = Department of Revenue
CHFA = Connecticut Housing & Finance Authority
Conn Dev Auth = Connecticut Development Authority
Conn State of = State of Connecticut
RT = Realty Trust
LP = Limited Partnership
T = Trust
Cnty = County
Tr or Trs = Trustee
Auth = Authority
FT = Family Trust
RC = Roman Catholic
NT = Nominee Trust
LT = Living Trust
ReT = Revocable Trust
IrT = Irrevocable Trust
For many reasons, a transaction record may not have been collected at a Registry, therefore TWG has created a list of routines that are processed to ensure all documents are being collected.
- Validations in Data Entry Application
- Over 40 validations have been incorporated into the data entry application to ensure that records are being entered correctly into the TWG system at time of capture.
- Missing Book/Page/Document Number Logic
- TWG reviews the filing dates and book/page/document numbers to make sure no books were missed and that filing dates were entered in the correct chronological order.
- Closing Counts Confirmation
- TWG’s Data Collectors are asked monthly to confirm that amount of transaction records by document type collected. The Data Quality Auditor (DQA) uses these counts as a resource in the event of low volume discrepancies.
- Averages Formula
- TWG created a unique formula which compares the average number of records of a given period also considering holidays and bad weather days and then highlights low volumes that need further investigation.
- Test Track
- Our customers are our eyes. TWG has created a tracking mechanism for customers or users of our web data products to report a data error. Therefore, TWG has tens of thousands of users working on our behalf. Within 24 hours we research and fix the error as necessary. It could take up to 10 days for an end user to see the fix.
- Data Auditing
- Monthly (DQA), spot checks and audits different components of the data. Comparing original documents, to keyed data, to the data within the database and finally to the data that is delivered to the customers. DQA is also responsible for providing updated training documentation to our Data Collectors as well as providing valuable feedback on how to improve our collection methods.
Below are notes about our data practices:
We show the first two seller, buyer, and owner names. If there is more than one trustee, we do not show the additional names.
Trust and trustee names will be listed as first and second name respectively.
With regard to recently sold properties, there may be instances when non-resident owners are listed in the interim as the resident. These situations are infrequent and applicable only for a short amount of time.
Some sale prices may include additional property or may be for a partial interest in the property. This may account for higher-than- or lower-than-market prices and typically are not used in comparable sales analyses.
There are instances when the mortgage amount is greater than the purchase price. These may be situations where the loan may be to finance renovations to the property or may include an additional piece of property not indicated here.
Use of Public Records & Privacy
Our Real Estate Records database is used primarily by real estate and lending professionals to conduct the business of buying and selling real estate. These professionals must be aware of all activity so they can make accurate valuations of the properties involved in these transactions. (There are legal ramifications to those professionals if they ‘miss’ a transaction.) This means that all of the transactions – regardless of the motivation for the ownership change or the parties involved in the transaction – must be in our database. Our customers must continue to rely on the integrity and completeness of our database as they have for decades.
The cost of researching public record information has always been significant and real estate professionals and consumer groups have been seeking ways, using technology, to lower these costs. Databases and services such as ours are used to qualify consumers for both purchase mortgages and equity loans, to establish ‘asking’ and ‘offer’ prices, and to determine the market value of the property.
This demands equal access to information by the professional and the consumer alike, so that the consumer can make the most-informed decision possible at the lowest possible cost. Equal access to information has always been fundamental to a healthy free-market economy. As we reduce the time and cost that such research requires, consumers everywhere are benefiting from lower closing costs and quicker turnaround on mortgage approvals and appraisals.
There are also many businesses that use public record data for marketing purposes. It is well known that a new homeowner spends more in the first year of owning a house than at any other time. And many homeowners welcome offers from companies that provide goods and services targeted to them.
Direct marketing to homeowners is also a segment of our business. All sorts of companies have successfully used the new sales published in the Banker & Tradesman, The Commercial Record and The Registry Review for more than 100 years.
Even though we must maintain our database integrity for valuation purposes, we also comply with the privacy guidelines employed by members of the Direct Marketing Association. These guidelines provide a way for consumers to request that their name not be sold or rented for direct marketing purposes. This way, consumers may opt-out from marketing and solicitation programs.
The Warren Group has a way to mark a record so that we do not sell it for direct marketing purposes. The transaction will still be available for comparable sales reports but it will not be included in any marketing lists generated on this web site or in any marketing lists that we generate from our offices.
If you would like, you may complete our Opt-Out Request Form. We will execute your request within 7-10 days. Please bear in mind that your record may already have been sold prior to your request. We will still process your request and your record will be excluded from any future sales. And please remember that we are not the only company that collects this public record information.
Over many years, TWG created a custom set of programs for prepping and processing the data. Currently, these processing steps are run weekly for each state.
- Address Standardization
- Name Standardization/Recognition
- Suspicious Data Review-(e.g.)
- Examples include transactions over $1million
- Mortgages with a mortgage amount of $1
- Standardization of Data Elements
- Sales & Mortgage Matching to create Purchase Money Mortgages
- Transaction Record Linking to Property Records
- Manual Review of Non-Computerized Matches (Property and Transactional linking described above)
We match all transactional records to the property records based on property address and names of the seller and owner. If, for some reason, we are not certain that the two records are the same parcel, then we will not match the transaction to that property record. As a result, some transactions will not have any property characteristic information. This happens most often when lots are combined and subdivided for construction, when property addresses are not clear on the deed or when there is new development and the assessor hasn’t provided The Warren Group the property address yet. If weekly sales/mortgage transactions cannot be matched to an underlying property record, a virtual property record is created and is a placeholder until the new property record is received by the assessor. Standard searching will find both kinds of records and a knowledgeable searcher may have sufficient information to adjoin the records for their use. Please note, that over time and with periodic assessing files, most of the stranded sales and mortgages get matched, thus making historical searches more accurate than current time searches.
The Warren Group real estate sales database is comprised of public records from government sources. Sales and mortgage transactions are collected weekly from Registries of Deeds in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and New York, and Town Clerks’ offices in Connecticut and Rhode Island. We do not collect mortgages in Vermont. Property ownership records are acquired from municipal assessor’s offices in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. New York parcel data is acquired from the state.
*Property ownership and assessor records are currently being collected for Cumberland and York counties in Maine. There is currently no sales information available for these records.
In Massachusetts, we publish the most recent dates that both Land Court and Recorded Deeds are filed. In Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont, we publish the most recent dates Recorded Deeds are filed.
RE Records Search has a full selection of map features. Utilize tax maps, aerial photographs, directional maps, flood maps and topographical maps to best serve your data needs. View a property directly from your desktop or use our mapped directions to make researching properties even easier. Look at recent nearby sales, interact with smart GIS tax maps to quickly measure home parcel sizes, acreage, road frontage and boundaries, or view and print scanned tax maps for counties without GIS maps.
We receive an annual assessor file; therefore, our data is as accurate as the day we collect. The assessor may continue to make changes and thus TWG will not receive those changes until our next annual update. During the year if asked to research and update a data anomaly, we will confirm the data with the assessor to assure that you are seeing the most accurate data possible.
Transactional data is collected on a frequency schedule from the State, Registry, County or Town Clerk’s office. The majority of the collection is completed weekly, however there are still 58 CT towns and 12 RI towns that are collected either bi-weekly or monthly due to low volume of transaction records available (see below for detail).
Data Collection Frequency Schedule
|MA||Registry||Bristol Fall River||Weekly|
The Warren Group standardizes all property use codes to the Massachusetts format since it is the most detailed. We created several more broadly defined codes to accommodate such classifications as “Commercial” or “Industrial” or “1-4 Family Res.” (For example, in Connecticut Grand-List-towns, the property use code assigned to a single-family house is the same code that is assigned to two and three-family houses. This use code translates “1-4 Family Res” and it is used whenever we do not have any other information to further refine the property’s use.)
Often the property address is used by a real estate trust as part of its name. This accounts for situations where you will see “30 Main St RT” with “John Doe, Tr” as Seller/Buyer1 and Seller/Buyer2 for a property address of “30 Main St.”