Carfax, which provides vehicle history reports to used car buyers for a fee, has been around for almost 30 years. Just this month, the existing home market got its equivalent.

Housefax.com bills itself as the first comprehensive data service to provide home history reports to consumers. For $59, a potential home buyer can get a quick review of a property’s history: Building permits, mortgages, fires, flood and sink holes — among other residential property records, including cell phone coverage.

“Though we’re in the midst of a housing rebound, many homes have been neglected, rented, foreclosed or left vacant, and today’s buyers are far more cautious,” Eddy Lang, Housefax founder and CEO said in a statement. “[I]nspection reports … can miss hidden red flags like mold, fire and flood damage, or even meth labs, sinkholes, earthquake fault lines and other hazards. It’s important to do your own residential diligence before making an offer on any home.”

Lang said he sees Housefax as an additional tool to empower home buyers. It can provide critical information about a home’s history before an inspector sets foot inside the property and before an offer is made, he said.

The late Ed McMahon, in a way, gave Lang the idea for Housefax.

McMahon and his wife were sickened, and their dog was killed, by toxic mold in their home more than a decade ago. They settled with their insurer for $7.2 million, leading some insurance companies to exclude water damage and mold from policies.

“I wanted to create something to protect my customers from going through the process of making an offer on a house, getting a loan, and only later finding out that they couldn’t get insurance,” Lang said.

The site aggregates public and private data to create its reports, the company said.

“No one’s been able to combine all these tools and information into one universal report to help consumers make better decisions,” said Allan Dalton, Housefax’s chief strategy officer and former CEO of Realtor.com. “As the market rebounds, Housefax will complement the roles of real estate professionals and home inspectors, preserve more transactions, and convert the market from ‘Buyer Beware’ to ‘Buyer Aware.’”

Has anyone out there used Housefax yet? How'd it work for you?

Have a real estate news tip or experience to share? Email me at steve.kilar@baltsun.com.