Self-Employed? Forget About Getting a Mortgage

Imagine having an 800+ credit rating and no debt (including no mortgage loan), making a decent yearly income from freelance work and stock investments….and yet still being declined for a mortgage. Yep, that’s what happened to me- even after I was pre-approved for my mortgage loan based on my last two years’ AGIs (adjusted gross incomes). What gives?

If you are a freelancer, and especially if you have recently become a freelancer, be aware that you will probably NOT qualify for a mortgage loan, home equity loan, or even a personal loan.

Why?

Self-employed = unemployed

Banks and other lending agencies are hard set to trust traditional employment as an assured source of future income- even if you get fired or laid off tomorrow. Self-employed individuals have taken a risk by starting their own businesses and finding their own clients, and this is often reflected in their wildly fluctuating income statements. As a whole, self-employed folks are more likely to fail and then become unemployed altogether.

Finally, although never openly stated, many bankers and loan officers associate the term “self-employed” as code for “I can’t find a job.”

Self-employed = low income

Another reason why self-employed individuals are denied for loans is because they don’t make enough money- at least on paper. Yet, according to data published by Zillow, self-employed individuals actually make a lot more money than employed individuals. Furthermore, self-employed individuals have seen a substantial increase in their earnings since 2012, while employed individuals have seen a decrease.

However, in an effort to save money on taxes, most self-employed people also write off their business expenses. This saves a bundle on income tax- but it also lowers net income.

Net income is critical because loan officers use it to calculate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, or your monthly housing costs and other debts compared to your net income. A loan applicant’s DTI ratio can be no higher than 43%.

Self-employed = always self-employed

Some freelancers transition gradually into self-employment, working with clients and for employers at the same time. They do this for several reasons, including insufficient client work, employer-based training/education, etc. Also, many employers nowadays will offer employees and independent contractors the option of working from home and/or setting their own work hours, making employment seem very much like self-employment.

You may not care whether your final earnings are reported on a W-2 or a 1099, but your loan officer will. In fact, once you declare yourself to be self-employed on your loan application, your employed earnings will not count towards your net income (unless you’re still employed with that employer).

In my case, because I was employed over a large portion of one of the years I reported to my loan officer, I was told that I made only $286/month for that year. If only the IRS believed that I made such a low figure!

Self-employed = no mortgage?

If you just started your own freelance business or have resigned from your employed job, it may seem like you’re doomed to not qualify for a loan until you earn mountains of cash each year (at which point, why would you even need a loan?). Luckily, it’s not impossible to get a mortgage loan- but it will be harder.

Understand that your ability to secure a mortgage loan, or any loan for that matter, depends on three factors:

Ability to repay + credit score + collateral

Ability to repay.

This is mostly based on your DTI ratio. For employed persons, DTI is calculated using the gross earnings from their last two years of pay stubs. Freelancers and the self-employed don’t receive pay stubs, so their last two years of tax returns are used to calculate the DTI ratio instead.

The problem with using tax returns is that net income after business deductions is calculated, not gross earnings. This is where freelance income is unfairly penalized compared with that of employed persons.

Credit score.

Most lending agencies are not going to approve your loan if you have a credit score below 680 as a self-employed freelancer. Call it discrimination, but that’s just how it works. As an employee, you stand a far better chance of securing a loan despite your low credit score, even if you do end up paying a higher APR.

Collateral.

This can consist of liquid assets, a pension or other regularly distributed income, and/or your home.

Given the variables used above to calculate your ability to secure a loan, here are the steps you should take at least six months to one year in advance of asking for money from a lending institution:

1. Improve your credit score.

While you have the time, ask for a copy of your credit report and find out how you can improve it. Try to achieve a credit score of at least 740, which will significantly improve your approval odds, as well as lower your loan APR.

2. Amend your taxes.

If you took significant deductions in one year on business expenses, consider amending your returns and spreading those costs out over several years- or even not reporting your expenses at all. This could cost you in extra tax, though.

3. Choose your tax years.

You can also, to some extent, choose which tax years your loan officer sees. Typically, you are required to show your last two years of tax returns. However, if you are applying for a loan early in the year, before you have filed your April taxes, you could go back two years before the current tax year. Then, if you find your net income from those years is too low, you could quickly do this year’s taxes and take the two more recent years into account.

Basically, applying for a loan early in the year means you can pick your two best earning years out of three.

4. Pony up a big down payment.

Even if your loan officer tells you to apply for 10% down payment loan, don’t. Save up enough cash so that you are putting down at least 30% on your mortgage loan. If you’re applying for any other type of loan, reduce how much you need to borrow as much as possible.

5. Work with an accountant now.

Get an accountant involved early on and have her calculate what your DTI ratio would be given your current and past net earnings. Discuss ways you can raise your net income or lower your current debts.

6. Obtain contract verification from all your clients.

Request contract verification from all your clients now, before you even set foot into a bank or apply for a loan online. Make sure your verification letters state how much you are earning with each client and how long you’ve been contracted with them. Having such letters ready to go and to supply to your loan officers will save you weeks of time (and aggravation) during the approval process.

7. Find a contractor-friendly lending institution.

With more and more individuals becoming self-employed or performing at least some freelance work, certain institutions are taking notice. Type “self-employed mortgage” into Google and you will locate online banks and other lenders that work with self-employed persons. Some cases in point are Vancity, a Vancouver-based credit union, and Freelancer Financials, based in the U.K.

8. Find a broker who specializes in self-employed loans.

A broker can go submit your income and other information to several lenders at a time. This saves you the hassle of constantly applying for loans and having multiple hard inquiries show up on your credit report- which ultimately lowers your credit score (I lost 0.9 points/hard inquiry). A broker can also provide you with advice on how to best submit your income and other variables.

However, you need to find a broker who regularly works with freelancers and the self-employed. Otherwise, you will be wasting your time with someone who knows about W-2’s….and not much else.

9. Apply at state banks and/or credit unions.

Traditional and national (i.e., “too big to fail”) banks typically work within Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac loan regulations, which are skewed in favor of W-2 applicants. State banks and credit unions are more independent and needn’t comply with such government-imposed restrictions.

10. Consider creating an annuity.

Annuities have long been touted as something for retirees who need a fixed income. However, if you have some liquid assets, you may wish to create an annuity with your bank and have it pay you on a monthly basis. This guaranteed monthly payout raises your net income. It does cost money to create an annuity account, however.

In summary

Being a self-employed freelancer is great in many respects, namely, choosing my own hours and clients and never getting bored with my work. But there are certain aspects to being self-employed that aren’t that great. It’s tough to secure a loan as a freelancer, and the mountain of documents you must supply is maddening. I now realize that I will need to track my income and expenses more closely. I will also need to invest much more time and effort into obtaining a loan in the future.

Still, what doesn’t kill me as a freelancer only makes me stronger. And then I get to write a blog post about it.

How to Start Your Own Local Affiliate Marketing Program

Are you frustrated by Amazon’s low affiliate commissions or the fact that everyone and their uncle is selling what you are trying to sell? Affiliate marketing can be a tough field to make serious money in simply because lots of people are already doing it.

But what if you could knock out most of the competition, both in terms of similar products and even SEO? And what if you really could get a bigger piece of the affiliate marketing pie?

Enter local affiliate marketing.

What is local affiliate marketing?

Somewhat self-explanatory, local affiliate marketing is the marketing of local products and businesses in your neighborhood, city or (maybe) state. Basically, rather than scouring Clickbank or Amazon for would-be products and services to market on your website or blog, you go after area merchants and advertise their specific (and unique) merchandise, promotions, advantages, etc.

It’s a shame that many affiliate marketers overlook the money available right in their own backyard, assuming that local accounting firms, lawyers, restaurants, mechanic shops, etc. won’t want to deal with them. However, local merchants often need the most help of all when it comes to attracting customers and placing their wares online. Likewise, without a middle entity (i.e., affiliate network) taking a cut of the earnings, you could easily score a 25% or higher commission for every potential client/lead you refer to your select business.

Local affiliate marketing: Easier than you think

You might be thinking “I don’t want to be going door-to-door” or “I am not standing on a street corner holding up a billboard.” Here’s the thing: You don’t have to. Much or even all of your marketing can be remote and performed exclusively at home.

Also, given what you would typically expect with affiliate marketing, such as content optimization, backlink generation, guest posting, etc., there’s significantly less of it involved. Here’s why:

SEO is fairly easy.

Local SEO, especially in a small to medium town/city, is going to be much easier to do well than if you are trying to sell a world-famous brand. Simply put, the SEO will be easy because, aside from other local businesses that are in the same industry/field,  you won’t have much competition to worry about. Also, because your website is probably going to mirror your client’s to a good extent, it won’t look like the typical affiliate marketing website that is often overlooked by search engines.

AdWords is easy too.

Google Places loves local businesses and its AdWords ad program won’t knock out your keywords or charge you exorbitant fees for referring “real” local businesses. You’ll also be able to track your leads fairly easily because most of them will be local, so outliers in other states or countries will probably be false positives.

How do you find clients?

Depending on your personal style, there are several different ways to do local affiliate marketing.

If you build it, they may come.

If you know the field already, you could launch a website on the topic of personal finance, accounting, etc. Once you have sufficient traffic coming in, you could then approach prospective clients and ask them if they’d consider placing an ad on your website for a monthly/yearly fee. This approach works well if you want to work with several clients in the same profession. However, it also demands that you make a large investment of time and effort before you see any payoff.

Use AdWords only.

You could also contact individual businesses and offer to run AdWords ad campaigns for them. You could launch the ads and direct inquiries to a sales page, which would then provide those leads with additional sales material in exchange for their contact information. You would keep tabs on those ad clicks and collect an appropriate commission for each lead.

Alternately, you could also work with a third party call center and collect AdWords-based calls as your leads. Input the term “call centers” into Google and you’ll find lots of places- including local ones- that you can work with.

Do lead nurturing.

This requires a bit more trust from your clients, but if you know the industry fairly well, and they simply don’t have the time/patience to deal with inquiries, you could offer lead nurturing as part of your affiliate marketing deal. With lead nurturing, you’d be in charge of calling leads that had already clicked on your AdWords ads or sent an inquiry via your website. You’d then gauge how likely they’d be to try or buy your client’s products or services.

In time, your client could even give you entire lists of leads that she had collected over the years. By converting them, you’d be able to command a much high commission because they would be generating actual revenue for the business.

How do you track your leads?

It’s challenging to track leads when you aren’t relying strictly on Google Analytics or sales page conversions to provide you with definitive numbers. You’re also relying on the integrity of your clients to report their business dealings truthfully and not stiff you on (especially) converted leads.

However, most local businesses aren’t looking to rip you off, especially if you’re working hard to promote them. Of course, there will always be that one bad apple in the bunch, but you shouldn’t let the fear of untruthful reporting scare you away. If the hesitation is still there, stick to just generating and reporting your own sales leads via AdWords, for example, or through direct sales calls to your call center.

What kinds of businesses should you target?

It’s far better, and far less work for you, if you target local businesses that make high revenues on each converted lead. For example, consider how much a lawyer makes on every one of his clients. Or think about how much an event venue makes for each conference, wedding, etc. held there.

High revenue businesses are preferable because you’ll do less work for more money/lead. You also won’t need lots of leads, which can be especially difficult if you’re marketing in a small town.

Finally, it’s best if you can work with businesses that have recurring income from their clients, enabling you to re-market to these clients or charge a constant monthly or yearly commission. Also, you should not consider cyclic businesses like tax preparation because these industries will leave you with no leads for a good part of the year.

A Review of AmaSuite for Amazon Affiliates and Sellers

Last May, I reviewed Amazing Selling Machine (ASM) and noted that its nearly $3500 price tag was a bit steep for some would-be Amazon sellers and affiliates. Luckily, some members of ASM have created their own Amazon training courses and mini-communities, and often with much lower entry costs. One such example is AmaSuite, which is offered through Chris Guthrie and Dave Guindon.

The AmaSuite software, which is now available in its fifth version, trains members to not only become successful Amazon affiliates, but Amazon sellers too. How? The name of the game is sourcing and selling private label, not brand name, products. In this way, you can say goodbye to two of the biggest obstacles with making a decent profit via Amazon:

  • Low affiliate commissions. Amazon offers its affiliates either a 4% or 6% commission on sales, which means you need to move hundreds of thousands of dollars of product each month to make a viable income as an Amazon affiliate.
  • High product license fees. If you purchase your own brand name products to sell on Amazon (or through your own website), you typically have razor-thin profit margins because of high manufacturer license fees.

Chris Guthrie is a well-noted Internet marketer and Amazon affiliate, and he has promoted the Fullfillment by Amazon (FBA) selling platform for some time now. He also referenced that he recently signed up for ASM. From there, his involvement with Amazon selling has deepened, from hosting a mastermind group to selling his own Amazon products, to now offering a bulked-up AmaSuite 5 that incorporates many of the principles of ASM.

Currently, the program is discounted to just $197. However, even at its regular price of $297, the software is still a bargain compared with the ~$3,500 charged for ASM.

What do you get with AmaSuite 5?

Lots of software:

  • Amazon research tools, including an Amazon keyword suggestion tool that helps you locate the best keywords for your product niche. Keep in mind that Amazon provides very little in the way of Analytics (like Google does), so this is valuable and saves you lots of time.
  • A Top 100 analyzer that provides you with data on the hottest Amazon products based on sales, reviews, etc., enabling you to obtain competitor information quickly.
  • A product inspector that helps you select low competition products that you can quickly rank well for and generate sales from. It’s essentially a niche marketing tool fitted for Amazon.
  • An AmaSync WordPress plugin and tutorials that help you quickly set up your product websites, generate content, and integrate your Amazon products into them. You also get free WordPress themes.
  • An Amazon reviewer finder for your product category. This software tool locates top reviewers on Amazon that you can contact and ask for help from, which is an absolute must if you are trying to sell private label products.
  • Social media tools and plugins that enable you to quickly post across numerous platforms, encourage Facebook Likes, implement pop-ups, show different ads, etc.
  • Educational courses on online/content marketing, SEO and website creation.

Amazon seller training:

  • Private label products are explained as well as how to pick one or several by using the software tools outlined above.
  • How find and contact candidate product suppliers using Google search or Alibaba (which Amazon is now also affiliated with).
  • How to generate sales of your Amazon products and reviews using the provided AmaSuite software tools.

What do you not get with AmaSuite 5?

  • Promotion tools and guidelines. Unless you already know how to generate website traffic and promote niche products, AmaSuite 5 won’t help you become a successful Amazon affiliate and/or seller. This software suite assumes that you already have an action plan for promoting your products on social media platforms, through your website(s), etc. Having said this, AmaSuite does offer a Video Traffic Guru, which instructs you on “how to drive traffic to your videos.”
  • Lots of hand-holding. ASM’s offerings include a yearly conference and community support, plus one-on-one support with Amazon veterans. With AmaSuite, you don’t get a lot of support and it is assumed you are somewhat adept at selling on Amazon. Even after emailing Chris or Dave, you might be waiting several days for a reply. To be fair, AmaSuite does offer a members area that you can log into and take advantage of.

Our Review: Is AmaSuite 5 worth it?

Success as an Amazon affiliate and/or seller depends on three key factors:

Sales + Reviews + Outside traffic

With AmaSuite 5, you can improve your chances of generating product sales because the keyword and niche product research tools will help you select products that have low competition and thus are more likely to be suggested to buyers by Amazon. Likewise, the software will help you find reviewers, and product reviews help improve product rankings on Amazon.

Regarding traffic generation, you’ll be spread out pretty thin. Even if you already know how to generate traffic to your websites and Amazon products, you won’t get much help if you encounter a problem with your methods. Additional help or tools may be necessary, especially if you don’t have the time to generate AdWords ads, grow social media audiences, involve other affiliates, guest post on outside blogs and websites, etc.

In summary, for its $200 or even $300 price tag, AmaSuite 5 offers a lot of bang for the buck. However, if you are a complete newbie to Amazon selling/promoting, you may still be better off with ASM.

Work at Home Paycheck Review- Fictional Characters, Fictional Earnings

What do Jessica Marshall, Kelly Frazier, Alex Cooper and Mark Wilson all have in common?

Work at Home Paycheck: A production with many actors

Jessica, Kelly, Alex and Mark are all promoting a work-at-home system called Work at Home Paycheck, which also goes by WAH Paycheck. Each one of the aforementioned characters plays a unique role:

-Jessica Marshall is the down-on-her-luck single mom who creates a system for making money from home.

-Kelly Frazier is also a down-on-her-luck single mom who tries Jessica Marshall’s system and now makes money from home.

-Alex Cooper is the reporter who interviews Kelly for a big online news organization.

-Mark Wilson is the originator of this money-making system.

Jessica Marshall weaves a wonderful story about how she was freshly divorced, trying to raise her young daughter, and on the verge of a nervous breakdown thanks to a layoff. Here’s Jessica as she weaves her hard luck story:

workathomepaycheck1

Luckily, a mysterious (but friendly) guy named Mark Wilson saves the day. Jessica runs into Mark at a coffee shop and he tells Jessica exactly how she can make boatloads of money right at home.

workathomepaycheck3

Next, we are shown her wealth growing in real-time in her Paypal account.

workathomepaycheck2

How do you make money with Work at Home Paycheck? The details are a bit murky, but Jessica states that, by posting links to products sold by large and well-known companies, you can earn referral commissions.

So, it’s really just affiliate marketing.

How much can you expect to pay to learn about affiliate marketing? The site initially prices the information at $397. However, if you hit your browser’s back button a few times, the system becomes available for the ultra-low price of just $47.

workathomepaycheck4

Is Work at Home Paycheck worth its $47 price tag? To answer this question, the system offers a third party testimonial from Kelly Frazier, another single mom who now also makes mountains of cash by working only 10-13 hours/week from home. Her interview is conducted by Alex Cooper and is posted on the news site Consumer Finance Guide.

wah

So far, everything looks legit- and who can argue with making over $7K/month for part-time work, right?

There’s just one problem…

There’s just one small wrinkle in this entire operation. When you scroll down every one of these “news” pages and read their terms of service and privacy statements posted below, you find the following disclaimer:

We are not affiliated in any way with any news organization. This is a advertisement for Work at Home Paycheck.

It is important to note that this site and the stories depicted above is to be used as an illustrative example of what some individuals have achieved with this/these products. This website, and any page on the website, is based loosely off a true story, but have been modified in multiple ways including, but not limited to: the story, the photos, and the comments. Thus, this blog, and any page on this website, are not to be taken literally or as a non-fiction story…I UNDERSTAND THIS WEBSITE IS ONLY ILLUSTRATIVE OF WHAT MIGHT BE ACHIEVABLE FROM USING THIS/THESE PRODUCTS, AND THAT THE STORY DEPICTED ABOVE IS NOT TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY…All photos images on this site are stock photography [my bolded emphasis added].

So, not only are these news pages not actually news pages, but the story, photos and even the comments themselves aren’t completely true. The website itself is “based loosely off a true story.” And all those news photos are stock photography.

In fact, all the “news” about this program is actually published on or through Consumers Finance Guide, a notorious fake news site that is well-known for promoting work-at-home scams.

OK, but what about Jessica Marshall herself? She’s got to be real, right?

Again, the privacy statement tells all. In brief, it runs as follows:

For purposes of privacy, the creator of Work At Home Paycheck is using the pen name Jessica Marshall. This story is based upon the real life adaptation of the parties involved. The Company reserves the rights to the name and any uses of it as affiliated with the product. Any improper uses by unauthorized parties is strictly prohibited.

So, nervous breakdown Jessica Marshall is also fictional. What else about Work at Home Paycheck is make-believe?

Fictional certification courses

When you try to sign up for Work at Home Paycheck, you are presented with the following program guarantees and trainings.

workathomepaycheck7

The program promises to make you an instant search engine agent, for starters. What does that even mean- that you know how to use Google?

Next, you are enrolled in a link posting certification program, for which you pay a fee. As far as I’m aware, there is no such certification program in existence.

Additional charges may apply

The next worrisome detail is (again) noted in the terms of service area. Specifically, we have the following statement:

Please Note: Additional Charges May Apply. As with any Internet Business you may need to pay for additional products or services. For example: Hosting costs, domain name costs, advertising costs, internet and broadband costs.

What this tells me is that the $47 enrollment fee into Work at Home Paycheck is just the tip of the iceberg as far as costs are concerned. You’ll end up paying more money down the line for “required” upsell and cross-sell products provided within the system.

In fact, one of the common tactics used by such programs is to reel you in by offering a super low introductory rate. Then, when you find out that the purchased material is insufficient to make you a decent income from home, you’ll call the site asking for a refund. Just before you are issued your refund, however, sales agents experienced in using  boiler room tactics will tell you how you just need to purchase additional coaching programs or software in order to start earning lots of cash. This is the standard practice for many work-at-home scams, and it can end up costing you thousands of dollars.

In brief, don’t get sucked into this program, even at its low rate of just $47.

11 Companies That Offer Court Researcher Jobs in 2020

Ever sleuthed around to find out information about someone and succeeded?

You may just have the research skills to be a court researcher.

If digging around public records sounds like your jam, read on to find out what it takes to be a court researcher and which companies are offering court researcher jobs, including ones that you can do from home.

What Does a Court Researcher Do?

Court researchers look up and report on all kinds of legal and civil records, including tax liens, deeds, marriage licenses, lawsuits, etc., for the businesses that hire them to gather this information. Typically, these businesses are law firms, home lenders, marketing firms, or background information companies.

Thanks to many public records being stored electronically, much courthouse researching can be conducted from home while sitting at a computer. However, in some cases, court researchers need to physically visit the County Clerk’s office or City Hall, or the city or county courthouse, in order to gather more detailed records.

After that information is found, the researcher enters it into a spreadsheet or database provided by the hiring company. When the information is verified, the researcher gets paid.

The workload can vary substantially depending on the size of the county; smaller counties means fewer records.

Most companies that hire court researchers pay per researched item. Depending on the complexity of the assignment, pay rates can range from $0.25–$20 per inputted document or record.

In essence, courthouse researching is actually one of the few legitimate data entry jobs out there.

What Skills And Qualifications Would a Court Researcher Need?

A court researcher needs to have research skills, customer service skills, time management skills, and attention to detail.

If you’re going to work from home, you’ll need to have a reliable internet connection. When you need to go into courthouses, you’ll need to have a trustworthy means of transportation.

There are no educational requirements for this job, but employers generally prefer applicants who hold bachelor’s degrees.

No experience is necessary, but experience in the legal or judicial field is definitely an advantage.

Aren’t These Records Confidential?

You might assume that information on a person’s mortgage or how much tax money he owes is confidential. It isn’t.

Because a person’s property is subject to city/county assessment and taxes, a lot of its fiscal information exists in the public domain. Likewise, if someone is charged with a misdemeanor or felony, that information is viewed as belonging to the public because it is the public that has paid for the court service through their taxes.

Granted, there is some restricted information out there; for example, the DoD does not release a person’s military or veteran status to anyone but the next of kin or spouse. However, that still leaves plenty of public information that you can be paid to find, research, and report on.

It might feel intimidating or intrusive to go to courthouses and other city/county buildings and demand information on people and entities you don’t know. However, keep in mind that these buildings and their personnel exist because you, the taxpayer, are paying for them.

Essentially, you are their boss, and as their boss, should feel comfortable requesting help. Besides, city/county employees understand that public data is checked and recorded by reporters, marketing and research firms, and other businesses all the time. Your presence in a courthouse as a researcher should therefore not be a surprise.

Companies That Offer Court Researcher Jobs

Now that you know what a court researcher does and what skills it requires, here are the companies that are currently hiring court researchers.

1. Advanced Background Check

Advanced Background Check is an Ohio-based company that provides background checks as well as court and public records retrieval via their network of over 2,000 “boots-on-the-ground” court researchers.

Their three divisions include a wholesale pre-employment screening division, a retail pre-employment screening division, and a real estate division.

You can fill out a simple online application form to be considered for a post in a given geographic area.

2. Deed Collector

DeedCollector.com mainly collects information from mortgage documents, which are filed after a home is purchased or an equity line of credit is secured.

Your rate of pay is dependent on how many records you can collect and how fast you can collect them. As you get better and more efficient with your data collection, you can make between $12 to $18 per hour, which can even go up to $20 per hour.

Deed Collector is constantly looking for independent court researchers but in very specific geographic areas, so check their updated list of current locations available first before you start applying for a position with this company.

3. First National Acceptance Company

This site pays about $12/hour for locating owner-financed real estate documents and recording names and addresses. Research work is doled out on a per-county basis and researchers are expected to regularly visit area courthouses to keep the information current. The work is not too detailed or exhausting, but it may also be just a few hours per week or month.

To apply for a court researcher position, call their Researcher Hotline at 1-800-428-1319.

4. Information Technologies

Information Technologies prides itself on being one of the largest collectors and compilers of financial public records, such as tax liens and bankruptcies in the country for their “Financial Hardship” database.

Their clients are mostly tax and bankruptcy attorneys, mortgage companies, CPAs, and other financial entities who purchase their potential customer lists. As a court researcher with Information Technologies, you will probably do a lot of your research online by accessing city/county assessors’ sites. The occasional road trip may be required if you run into conflicting or missing records.

You can fill out an online form to apply as a court researcher.

5. JBS Court Research Services

JBS Court Research Services offers lead generation through the collection of court and public records. They can provide leads for companies who are targeting new businesses, financial companies that target new mortgages, employers who want to know if an applicant or employee has a criminal record, attorneys looking for clients, and many more.

JBS prides itself on having court researchers that visit courthouses in person, so if you’re not able to do this, you might not qualify for a court researcher job with them.

To apply, you’ll need to fill out an online application form and they’ll email you back. They specifically state that applicants shouldn’t call.

6. Omni Data Retrieval

Omni Data Retrieval is a wholesale public record retrieval company specializing in providing criminal history, as well as civil history, bankruptcy history, and federal and state tax liens to business customers.

You can email your resume if you’re interested in working as a court researcher with them.

7. Sentinel Data Retrieval

Sentinel Data Retrieval is another wholesale data retrieval company specializing in criminal records research and hires “hands-on” courthouse researchers for its work.

Their many clients require this information for risk management, corporate compliance, network security, and operations management, so the workload here can be fairly high volume and steady.

As with most of the companies on this list, you can fill out an online application form through Sentinel’s site to apply to a court researcher job.

8. Sunlark Research

Lark Tucker has operated this one-woman research company since 2005 and regularly hires court researchers to gather data for client businesses.

The amount of work you receive depends on your geography; if you live in a busy metropolitan area, you might receive enough work to keep you working full-time, but if you’re out in the boonies, you might receive an assignment once every month. The pay depends on assignment complexity and ranges from $0.50-$10 per record.

They are not currently hiring, but check their online application page from time to time to see if there are any openings.

9. IT-Boss Research

Look past the old-school website design and you’ll find a tight operation ran by women.

IT-Boss Research is hiring court researchers as independent contractors to compile public records and encode information that is then sent to clients who are looking for leads.

Simply fill out their application form to apply for a court researcher job. If they approve your application, you’ll be sent an offer letter via email and invited to an online Virtual Interview. After this, you’ll be assigned to a client and you can expect to get your first assignment within 7 to 10 days.

10. HireRight

HireRight is a global company that specializes in doing background checks on applicants and employees of companies all over the world.

Locally, they periodically have openings for court researcher jobs. Check this link every so often or access it from the HireRight Careers page.

11. Morse Genealogical Services

Morse Genealogical Services is a family business dating back to 1939. Their specialty is genealogical research for probate matters; that is, they’re dedicated to finding missing persons and missing heirs for the purpose of settling an estate.

The records they normally require researchers to obtain from court include recently filed cases in probate court to see if there are heirs missing or unknown. You might also be required to pull up marriage, birth, or obituary records.

If you think you are suited to this kind of work, you can apply for a court researcher job through this form.

Apply For a Court Researcher Job Today!

Not everyone is cut out to be a court researcher, but if you think you’ve got what it takes, I hope the information above has been helpful.

Other jobs you can do from home

If you love doing research, but you’re not qualified to be a court researcher or it sounds a bit overwhelming, here are 8 online research jobs you can apply for.

Or if you have a legal background, you may also be interested in sites to look for work as a legal writer.

Have you ever held a court reporter job? Or are you planning to apply as one? Don’t forget to share your story with us in the comments!