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Having access to Berks County public records that relate to homes and properties is a great help. It is an even more significant help when the records are correct.

Virtually every municipality in the United States has a way of keeping records on the properties that make up their community. Advances in technology have allowed many of these municipalities to keep accurate and informative data. Some better than others.

My objective in writing this article is to make you, the citizens of this community, aware of how inaccurate real estate data can be destructive. After reading this, you may want to reach out to our Berks County officials who are in charge of these records to see what can be done to improve the situation. I tried.

When a homeowner lists their property in Berks County, it is put into the multi-list (MLS). Some of the relevant information that populates the MLS comes directly from the Berks County public records. This information includes things like the property address, owner(s) names, bedrooms, baths, square footage, property taxes, year built, lot size, building characteristics and more.

Once the Berks County public records information populates the MLS, it can only be changed by the listing agent and brokerage. If the information is wrong and goes unchanged by the brokerage, it then circulates to all the online real estate portals like Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Realtor.com, Etc. Some real estate portals get the public record information directly from the municipality or data aggregates like CoreLogic. Either way, if the source is wrong, the data will be incorrect all over the place.

Here is the catch. Let’s say you live in a community like Spring Ridge and have a two bedroom townhome. You are planning to sell the property, so you call a real estate agent (hopefully) and ask for a home value analysis. The real estate agent looks at comparable home sales in your area and finds one in the MLS that sold for $200,000, but it had three bedrooms. The agent tells you that your property will likely sell for less than the three bedroom home because it only has two bedrooms.

How can that be? It is the same model home in the same community. They all have two bedrooms. How can this one have three? You find out that the other townhome has three bedrooms listed in the Berks County public records and the real estate agent never changed the error when they entered the property in the MLS.

Now every person who owns a two-bedroom townhome in that particular community could pay a penalty for the error in data. You see, the appraisers use the MLS data when evaluating a home for a mortgage. The appraiser only has the inaccurate data to use to value a home. That home sold for $200,000, and the MLS says it has three bedrooms (even though it only has, two). Your home has two, and the Berks County public record noted it as such so guess who loses.

I have seen this same error in data in many homes. The errors range from wrong addresses to the wrong square footage. Many of these data errors can and do affect the appraisal of a home. That is not fair to the seller or buyer.

Could you imagine if physicians kept records on their patients like this? Many people could suffer. In my opinion, many suffer financially from the lack of accurate data of Berks County public records.

A second, and maybe more important reason, to have reliable data regarding the homes lies with the fire company. They are called to a fire and find a home engulfed in flames. There may be people in the home. The Berks County public records relating to the property state there are four bedrooms in the home, but there are only three. I think you can see why accurate property data is important.

There are ways to fix this issue with Berks County Public Records and real estate agents can be part of the solution instead of adding to the problem. Someone in charge just needs to listen!

Knowledge is power!

Jeffrey C. Hogue