Fairfield Financial Services, Inc. - Private Money Loans, Lending & Borrowing

Web based resources for the private money professional (re-post)

Clay Sparkman

I originally published this article in January of 2010. Two years later, I think it is as useful as ever. Thus the re-post (for those who missed it the first time around).

Today I will focus on a few web based tools that I have found to be useful in the business.

Let’s start locally (Portland, Oregon) and then expand out from there.  A really nice little site if you are doing business in the Portland area is:


The City of Portland provides PortlandMaps.com as a new way of easily accessing public data regarding properties and property areas.  A wide variety of data is available for the Portland Metropolitan Area, including the following:

  • Assessor/Tax Lot Information
  • Aerial Photography
  • Building Footprints
  • Building Permits
  • Census
  • Crime Data
  • Elevation
  • Parks
  • Mass Transit
  • Natural Hazard
  • Schools
  • Urban Growth Boundary
  • Underground Storage Tanks
  • Water/Sewer
  • Zip Code
  • Zoning Maps

Fortunately most states offer all kinds of helpful data on-line now.  For instance, this handy site offered by the state of Oregon gives you access to a wide range of licenses, permits, and registrations.


Of particular interest to me is this site which allows me to lookup a mortgage broker’s license:

Oregon mortgage broker licenses

It is also frequently useful to lookup the license status of a given contractor, which you may do in Oregon at:

Oregon contractor licenses

I’m sure that just about everyone in this business already knows about Zillow:


Zillow is a great little comp tool, easy to use, with a vast national database, and free.  It does not offer the range of options available with most professional comp tools, but then they are expensive.  I can remember when we first signed up to MetroScan at Fairfield.  The price was very substantial and the software was localized to the machine, so that you could only use it at one workstation at one site without paying even more, and updates were given monthly via mailed CD-ROMs.  We also had very limited regional access and had to pay for access by county (that is if a particular county were available at all).  We’ve come a long way.

Also, I hear good things about the Zillow blog, though I haven’t had time to properly check it out for myself:


I know I don’t need to tell anyone about Google Earth.  When I was first introduced to this site, I just about fell off my chair!  I still can’t quite believe that such a powerful far reaching tool exists, at my fingertips and for free.


And it just keeps getting better.  The Street View layer of Google Earth is incredible.  It allows you to do drive by inspections from your home office or living room.  Of course it is not really as good a an actual drive by, but it certainly allows you to get a feel for a property and its neighborhood.

Now, if you want to look at real estate trend data for a given area—something I would think you would want to do these days before making just about any loan—this site is terrific:


The Scotsman Guide has long been regarded as the “bible” of the commercial and residential loan industry, offering detailed categorical listings of various active lenders and loan sources.  Their online site is here:


And Lendicom may be of interest to you.  This site is geared toward commercial lending, and allows borrowers and brokers to sign up and submit specific loan proposals to lenders who have also signed up online.  If you are a hard money lender looking directly for commercial loans to fund, you may sign up as a lender and create an account that allows you to specify detailed criteria regarding the specific loans that you would be interested in.  In the interest of full disclosure, I am an officer and a part owner of the company that offers this site.  Maybe that’s why I like it so much.


If you are aware of any sites that I didn’t mention which might be useful to the subscribers to this blog, please take a moment to respond via comment or send an e-mail.  Either way, I will make sure that any useful information is shared.

– Clay (clay@privatemoneysource.com, 503-476-2909)

Clay is Vice President of Fairfield Financial, a primary source for private money since 1964.  Fairfield is currently targeting loans in Oregon and Washington, with potential to loan in:  AK, CA, CO, ID, FL, GA, ID, MT, NV, NY, OK and TX.  To submit a loan to Fairfield for consideration: http://www.privatemoneysource.com/loanproposal.php

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