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Liens, assessments on property accessible through GIS program

By Staff | Jan 28, 2009

A new program recently made available by the city of Cape Coral will allow Realtors and the public access to up-to-date information on the amount of liens and utility assessments on a given property.
City Finance Department employees met with members of the Cape Coral Association of Realtors and the Fort Myers Association of Realtors on Wednesday to explain how to use the geographic information system, available on the city’s Web site at: www.capecoral.net since the beginning of the year.
“For the Realtors, it’s mostly a disclosure issue,” Cape Coral Financial Services Director Mark Mason said.
Before the institution of the GIS automated program, one city worker was dedicated to working on information requests on liens and assessments on properties.
“We were getting 800 requests a week,” Mason said.
That meant a wait of seven to 10 days to get the information, according to Cape Coral Association of Realtors President Paula Hellenbrand.
“With so many foreclosures on the market with different liens, it’s important to get that information,” Hellenbrand said.
The GIS is updated nightly, meaning interested parties can get the information they need within 24 hours.
To use the GIS, visit the city’s Web site, then navigate to the “Find” tab and click on the “Assessments/Payoffs” option. Enter the stap, or parcel, number to find any outstanding liens or assessments.
With the number of housing sales on the rise — Realtor-assisted sales of single-family homes in December in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area rose 146 percent from December 2007 — the new program will help streamline the real estate transaction process.
“When we go to sell a home the question would come up, ‘How much are the assessments?'” Realtor and Cape Coral City Councilmember Gloria Tate said. “When we are writing up a contract … we had to know that information. That’s a huge part of the negotiations.”