Uncovering the mystery of who owns a house can be tricky, but once you know where to look, it’s not that hard. Maybe you want to find out who owns the vacant home across the street from you, or perhaps you want to notify the owner of a particular home about something. Or it could be that you see a home for sale and are being nosey, or possibly you have some information that you wish to verify. It would even be understandable for you to simply want to know who lived in your home before you. Whatever the reason for locating the owner of a home may be, there are some tips to assist you.
- Check With Your County Property Appraiser
- Check With the County Tax Assessor
- Go to the County Clerk's Office
- Run a Property Deed Search
- Ask Your Real Estate Agent
- Check Your Local Library
- Perform an Online Property Search
- Search Listings of Corporations With The Department of State
1. Check With Your County Property Appraiser
One of the easiest ways to see who owns a house is to check with your county property appraiser. You should be able to locate your county’s property appraiser and have online access to it. Upon finding it, all that you need to do is enter the address, and the owner history should auto-populate on the clerk and comptroller page of your county’s website.
2. Check With the County Tax Assessor
Another way to find the owner of a property for free is to check with the tax assessor. In short, when someone owns a home, they should be paying property tax on the house. Because of this, your county’s tax assessor will have the homeowner’s information. The tax assessor’s office maintains a record of ownership for all of the properties that have been assessed for their property taxes. You will need to go in person, but before you do this, doing some homework will make this process easier.
Locating the accessor’s identification number, known as the AIN, will allow you to make this process much easier. To do this, head to Nationwide Environmental Title Research’s Public Records. Choose the state where the property is located and then select the proper county. If the assessment office for this particular county has an online property search database, you will then be provided a link that will give you any information for the assessor. Once you tap into this database, by entering the address to the property in question. This will provide you with some information on the address to that assessor’s office address and, ultimately, the AIN.
From here, you may bring the AIN into the assessor’s office and ask for information and details on the current owner. It should be noted that most assessors’ offices do not accept requests over the phone, so it is recommended to go in person.
3. Go to the County Clerk's Office
As with the county tax assessor, the county clerk will have public records on file, including property deeds. By heading down to the county clerk’s office, you can request this information. The clerk can look up the current and past owners and can even pull other information such as existing liens that are on the property if there are any disputes, and if it has been sold or transferred in prior years.
If it so happens that a business is the property owner, you may be able to see if this business is doing business out of this location or not.
4. Run a Property Deed Search
The government office which is responsible for deeds of ownership records property transfers and a plethora of other legal documents, is called the recorder’s office. This is sometimes also referred to as the registrar of deeds. They will have the most up-to-date and accurate property records, along with the most recent transfer documents and property deed. These items will contain the name of the property owner.
The county recorder’s office is typically housed inside the courthouse in your county. They can sometimes have their office set up in city hall as well. Most counties allow the public to visit the recorder’s office in person and utilize one of the public terminals to conduct research. The government staff is able to assist you as well as provide copies of documents that are considered to be public record.
5. Ask Your Real Estate Agent
Another simple way to check who owns a house is to ask your local realtor. Most real estate agents have access to databases that will include information on the local addresses, including the owner's name and contact information. If an agent doesn't have this info handy they can also help you check local property records.
6. Check Your Local Library
It is worth mentioning that sometimes, local libraries will have a database available that allows you to retrieve property information. If they do not have a database there, the librarian will most likely be able to point you in the right direction to where you can go to find public records.
7. Perform an Online Property Search
By conducting a quick online property search, you may be able to find a website in which you can create an account to pull the information you are seeking on the property owner. Many real estate databases online have put together a lot of property owner information for houses that are currently for sale in your area. Websites such as Realtor, Zillow, and Trulia are known to be able to allow you to search for sale properties by location, and some will even provide information on properties that are not currently listed for sale.
8. Search Listings of Corporations With The Department of State
In some situations, properties will not have an individual owner, and a corporation is the owner. If other methods are unable to find out “Doing Business As” information, the Department of State will be able to reveal who the underlying owners are.
Finding out who owns a house can be tricky, but you can do it for free if you put in the effort. And if you don't mind spending a bit of money, you can always hire a service to find the owner of a property. While it won't be free, it can save you a lot of time.