How to Find Out Who Owns a House
A property owner can be found using any of several different methods. Real estate agents, homebuyers, and many others sometimes need to know who owns a particular piece of property. Discovering the owner can be accomplished using one of a variety of resources available online and in the records section of the city or county the property is located inside. Some resources charge fees for the information and others release the data for free. It’s important to determine any fees or costs involved in performing a search before starting the process. Many resources provide ownership identification as a part of an overall program while a few are focused solely on owner data and information.
Why Look For a Property Owner?
The most obvious reason to identify the owner of a property is to purchase the property. Commercial property is particularly prone to this type of investigation as many businesspeople and others find a location that suits their needs and need to make contact with the landowner. Other reasons include legal issues, taxation questions, and zoning guidelines.
Whatever the need for an owner’s information, the method to track down the property owner is a matter of choice. Before taking the time to travel to a specific office or location to perform research, it is recommended searchers use more convenient resources online which may provide the desired information more readily and easily.
In most states, the county the property resides inside will have the documents concerning land ownership filed with the County Recorder’s office. The County Recorder is responsible to record landowners and the transactions associated with buying and selling the property over time. Some Recorder’s offices let the public look through their record books while others perform the task themselves. Many County Recorder’s offices have records available online for internet searches. Don’t be surprised if there is a fee associated with looking up the information, either in person or online.
Register of Deeds
Another resource often found in the County Recorder’s office is the Register of Deeds. The register is a record of Deeds of Trust that has been filed with the County Recorder or, in some cases, with the City offices of the local municipality. The Register of Deeds gives the historical ownership of property as well as other information about ownership of mineral rights. In highly populated areas with a dense concentration of property owners, the Register of Deeds can often be a faster route to determining property ownership than searching through files at the County Recorder’s office.
As with the other municipal resources listed above, the tax records are an excellent source for property ownership investigations. Tax records are generally kept by the local agency that receives property taxes which may include both a city or municipal office as well as records maintained at the county and state levels. While some tax agencies are reluctant to provide tax records for privacy reasons, many agencies will respond to requests for information filed with local authorities.
City, county, and state Zoning Authorities maintain records concerning property use and ownership. This information can be as important as discovering the owner of a property for a potential buyer. Zoning authorities can also provide information concerning both current and future zoning considerations that might occur as the result of expected changes in municipal or state land-use guidelines. Zoning law changes for commercial property frequently affects the value and usability of the site for subsequent owners.
Secretary of State
In those situations where property is owned by a corporation and not by an individual, the Secretary of State can often provide ownership information via telephone or personal contact. Corporate filings often include a list of assets like real estate in annual reports and other documents submitted regularly. The Secretary of State’s office also holds records of Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filings which detail debts that have been collateralized with assets like property.
Real Estate agencies have many tools at their disposal when it comes to identifying a property owner. If the property is listed for sale, the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) can help find the owner. If the property is not for sale, the real estate agent has other online tools that can help determine property ownership. Frequently, a real estate office or agent has sufficient familiarity with the area that they can name the individual without searching online or through records.
One of the easiest ways to discover who owns a property is to ask the next door and nearby neighbors. Depending upon the level of security and desire for privacy a neighbor may wish to invoke, many people are happy to give out the information, provided there’s nothing suspicious about the inquiry. Inquiries can frequently reveal other information about the owner like length of occupancy, family size, any issues with the resident, whether or not the property is rented, and many other valuable insights.
The resources available online are numerous and easily accessed. There are online websites that offer extensive information about real estate. Information about property size, taxing authorities, real estate listings, and much more.
Several websites can provide ownership information, including:
Property Shark– This online service can identify a property owner with a local address or anywhere nationwide. The website charges a fee of $19.95 to search within a state or $59.95 to search for an owner nationwide. The basic plan provides information on up to 150 properties so for real estate investors and others with interest in discovering multiple property owners, this is much easier than searching for various government offices to begin the process.
Spokeo.com– Searching for property owners as well as other important data is quickly accomplished using this internet platform. Searchers can receive valuable information on who owns a property and other details. The website offers instant results for any property by easily searching using the property address and zip code.
Netronline.com– Information searches for property owners are conducted by accessing databanks available from state, county, and municipal government offices. Property details are searched using address and zip code. the information available includes environmental data, historical overhead photos, and many other public records associated with the property.
Propertytaxrecords.com– Over 125 million property records available to search on this site. Each property tax records search delivers a detailed report with the owners, market values, mortgage & lender information, sales history, taxes and more! of any property in the US. With detailed information on property and additional access to other records, this website allows searchers to deep dive into information about a property.
Reonomy.com– Searchers for owners of commercial property find this website to be highly productive. Search parameters include vacant commercial and residential properties. The database also contains information on forest, marsh, and agricultural land as well as recreational and mobile home property. The website’s database includes over 30 million commercial properties searchable by address, acreage, sales history, zoning, and debt history.
Perhaps the simplest way to determine property ownership is to go knock on the door and ask. Some property owners don’t mind giving the information out, as long as the person asking doesn’t appear suspicious or concerning. Conversations concerning the property are facilitated nicely when someone knocks on the door and asks nicely. It’s called the direct approach and it may seem a little pedestrian, but it has worked for a long, long time.
Here, There, and Everywhere
The reasons to discover a property’s owner are as varied as the owners themselves. Corporate and private ownership of real estate is important to discern when the property in question is being considered for purchase or other important activities. Creativity, commitment, and diligence will pay off with the needed information, provided the searcher is prepared to investigate using the variety of contacts and methods provided in this article.
Costs for searching can become an issue and it is recommended several avenues are considered and researched before paying fees or committing to any long-term agreements.
It’s Easy to Find Out Who a Property Owner Is
Finding the owner of a piece of property is usually the first step in an ongoing process. Knowing who to talk to or who to gather information from can be critical to any legal, financial, and governmental activities. Searchers with an internet connection can usually find what they need quickly via both free and fee-based platforms. Caution should be exercised once the information is found as privacy and other issues may arise from the publication of the findings.
It is also a good idea to verify property ownership through multiple sources, whenever possible, to avoid any confusion or misinformation being transferred to third parties. Like any other research project, finding a property owner can be challenging and rewarding for the seeker.