Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is BuildFax™?
Buildfax is a company that collects and organizes construction records on over 70 million properties across the United States. They collect data on new construction, major system repairs, additions, renovations, roofs, pools, demolitions, contractors and more.

2. What is included in my BuildFax report?
The BuildFax permit report provides detailed history of additions, remodels and improvements for a property. Currently, over 387 of the top lenders are now using BuildFax reports in their UAD review. The BuildFax permit report is specifically designed to meet the needs of residential appraisers. The report includes the building permit data on residential properties, and it includes the exact Permit ID, date of the permit, a description of the improvement and the contractor who performed the work. Click the link to see a sample BuildFax Report.

3. Where does the BuildFax Report data come from?
The data in the BuildFax Report comes from the building department of each city. It will include information from the permits that were filed for the particular property. Sometimes this will include the Certificate of Occupancy stored as a permit and sometimes it does not.

4. How do I get my BuildFax report?
Buildfax is included in all memberships, however, if you need more than what your membership allots, you can visit the AppraisalWorld store to purchase more. It is also included in some CompCruncher reports and through My Office for non-ClickFORMS users. If you are a ClickFORMS user, you can access your lookups from the Services menu (see the How To document).

5. Why should I consider purchasing BuildFax reports?
The BuildFax Report was especially created for appraisers to accurately comply with the new UAD requirements. These requirements ask the appraiser to state if the subject property has been remodeled or updated in the past 15 years and, if so, the date the change took place. With this new, BuildFax Report, appraisers can now accurately and confidently comply with this new requirement.

6. How accurate is the BuildFax information?
The BuildFax report relies on public information which you can sometimes access online from the building department in your city or you may have to go down to the department and get it. In metro areas with high populations and permit volumes, BuildFax reports have updated permit data every 30 days. On average, the information made available goes back about 20 years. However, please always make sure to check coverage as not all Building Departments have digitized their records and hence, they wouldn’t be available through a BuildFax Permit Property History Report.

7. How is Buildfax usage determined?
There are two cases when a BuildFax report is counted as being used:
  1. The address is recognized – even if there are no permits for the property
  2. The address is within the coverage area of BuildFax
We strongly encourage you to check your coverage area first, before you order a BuildFax report: First, click this link to see the coverage area map, then on your State to see if your state is covered. Then, look at the individual cities covered (on the left side, scroll bar). If you are keying in an unrecognized address or an address not in the coverage area, you will not be charged. Please note that once a BuildFax report is created, it will be counted against your allotment, whether there were any permits for the specific address or not.

8. What kind of property types does BuildFAX work with? SFR, Condos, 2-4 Units?
All information in the BuildFax Permit Property History Reports are based on building permit reports collected by the Building Departments. Currently, Bradford has partnered with BuildFax to provide residential appraisers with a service to stay compliant with UAD. Hence, only residential properties are considered.

9. Is there an expiration date for the lookups I buy?
The expiration date for each lookup is 12 months. With every new purchase of lookups, you will extend your expiration date for 12 months. For example, if you purchased 10 BuildFax lookups on 12/1/2011, they will expire on 11/30/2012. If you purchase new lookups on January 2nd, 2012, all your lookup will now expire on 1/2/2013.

10. If I have a report with a subject, one comp and a listing, is this one report that contains all this info or is it 3 separate reports?
In this scenario, the appraiser can choose to have one report with all three properties included, or they can query each property separately. In either case, each address lookup counts towards your total allotment of Buildfax units. If the appraiser choose to have just one report, he/she can have up to 10 address lookups per report (including the subject property).