First time buyer - what is this PRD thing?

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 13 May 2014 08:38


Question - I noticed on the MLS sheet for a house that I looked at that something called “PRD” was used as the source of the Square Footage of the house. What’s a PRD?

Answer - PRD is the acronym in Michigan for the Public Record Database, which is supposed to be the official record about the property that is maintained at the County. I say supposed to be because some counties like Wayne County have such worthless and out of date PRD records that they are not to be trusted. In Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Washtenaw Counties there are more accurate and up to date records, but the amount of data kept in each County or the access to it varies greatly, making some more useful than others.

At the time when a house is built and a certificate of occupancy is issued the builder is supposed to work with the local Township Building Department to record the pertinent details about the property. The PRD record has information about the Property ID, the Address (including the subdivision name, the township (or city) and the County that it is located within), the Current Owners Name and the Taxpayer Address, is it is different than the property address (an investor-owned property). The property’s zoning category will be shown as well as its land use category. The legal description is also a part of the PRD record.

Many Counties have quite a bit more information in the PRD record, including the Property Taxes for the last few years and any special assessments or fees that are charged against the property. The State Equalized Value and Taxable Value will be noted along with a notation about whether the property is Homesteaded or not. Those are all unique to Michigan values that other states would not even have. Also show in most good PRD files are the recordings of the last few sale and the mortgages that have been recorded. This can be valuable information to have when you are considering making an offer on a house. Your Realtor can get you all of the PRD information.

In the really good Counties there will also be data about the Characteristics of the house. Don’t even bother looking for that in Wayne County PRD records; however Oakland County has very good and complete records as do Livingston County and Macomb County. Washtenaw County may have good records but they do not make them available on line, at least not in a way that I can see them, even as a Realtor.  

The Characteristics Section of the PRD record usually has such things as the above grade Square Footage of the house and the basement Square Footage, with any finished space in the basement noted. Also important information like the number of bedrooms and baths is to be found in these records.  Items like the foundation type (basement, crawl, slab, etc.) are noted. The roof type is noted, as is the heating type and fuel. Whether the house is on a paved or gravel road is also called out in these records. Whether there is a garage is also noted and maybe some more information about it.

While the PRD record is the “official record” of the house on file at the County, it is not always accurate, so you may find a few surprises when you actually visit the house. Sometimes owners in the past may have made additions to the house without letting the County know; so, the house may be bigger than shown in the public record. There may be other differences as well, such as the number of bedrooms or baths that exist now. So, the PRD record is a record of the house “as built” and perhaps not as it exists now. If you and your Realtor think that there is a significant difference you should ask your Realtor to measure out the house. That could be important for mortgage purposes. A good appraiser will measure it anyway, so that will just tell you ahead of time if the differences will be in your favor.

Since the PRD record is always a little behind, you should also have your Realtor check with the Township to see what the current assessment is and what the taxes are for the current year.  In most Townships the taxes are going to go up, but the rise is still limited by the Headlee Amendment to a maximum of 5%.

So, now you know what the PRD is. In Michigan, you should have the PRD record, along with the CMA that your Realtor prepared and the MLS ticket for the house as you analyze whether to make an offer and for how much.


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Norm Werner

Norm Werner is a Realtor at the Milford office of Real Estate One serving the southeastern Michigan area of Oakland and Livingston Counties. Norm specializes in residential real estate. Norm lives and works in Milford Michigan and is married to Carolyn Werner. Norm and Carolyn live in a historic home just three blocks from downtown Milford, with their two dogs - Sadie and Skippy. Norm specializes in the historic homes of Milford and the surrounding area and is on the Board of Directors of the Milford Historical Society. Norm especially enjoys working with first time buyers and those at the other end of the real estate spectrum who are downsizing into their retirement home. 

In addition to his web site, Norm also owns and m,aintains web site, the web site. He is also the webmaster for and the web site and the MilfordCar web site, as well as his church web site - In addition to blogging about real eastate, Norm has a personal blog - - on which he shares inspirational messages and the occasions personal observation about life.

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