There are many reasons why someone might want to know who owns a property or land. Let’s say you’re taking a walk in Nashville, Tennessee, and you see a house you want to buy immediately. It could be an old Victorian home or a beautiful abandoned carriage house. Or maybe you just want to know who owns a house in your neighborhood or a piece of land on the edge of town. The good news is that this information is usually easy to find. Read more about 8 Ways to Find Out Who Owns a Property. Read more about what is real estate wholesaling and Capital Gains Tax on Real Estate.
Most of the time, you can get free information about property ownership online (just ensure the website you use is legitimate). If that doesn’t work or you’re looking in a more rural area, you’ll have to go to a local government office, title company, or broker.
We’ll explain how to use each of these ways to determine who owns a property.
8 Ways to Find Out Who Owns a Property
Find the address first.
Before using any information-gathering methods, it’s essential to find the exact address of the real property, the piece of land, and everything that is permanently attached to it. This is often shortened to just “property.” This is usually done in three ways:
Go there in person.
The addresses of most homes and some other properties are easy to see. Find the address yourself by walking or driving.
Online map tools:
With map apps like Google Maps, it’s easy to find the address of a property. If you know exactly where the piece of land is, you can zoom in on it to see its address. You can also get a better idea of the terrain and features of the whole plot from the satellite view.
If the map tools don’t work, you should look at a parcel map next. The best thing about these is that they help you find addresses, but they can also help you find homes. They are usually available online and have detailed maps of the property. Different states have parcel maps, and your city or town may not have any.
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If you just want to know who owns a house, you only need to know its address. But you need the identification number if you want to find a property. This number is not the same as the address, but it is necessary to find out who owns the property. Unfortunately, the United States has 3,143 counties, many of which use different property identifiers. This makes it hard to find the number. It’s usually on a property’s tax bill or assessment notice, so your county is an excellent place to start.
Once you have the property number or address, you can start looking up who owns that dream property or house.
Look on the Internet
The best way to find out who owns a house or property is to look online for the address or property number. Websites like Whitepages let you do a reverse search, and most brokerage sites like Redfin listings have information about who owns the property at the bottom. Keep in mind that the information might not be complete or correct.
You could also go to the website for your county and look for a property that way. Many counties have online portals that put all this information in one place. If that doesn’t work or you want more information, your next best bet is to talk to the tax assessor for your county
Go to the office of the tax assessor in your area.
Most private property people have to pay property tax on it (often excluding churches, libraries, schools, and religious buildings, among others). They pay these taxes to their county. The county treasurer, whose office is often called the “collector’s office,” gets the money. The county assessor determines how much a property is worth and keeps a record.
So, if you want to know who owns that property next door, you should start by going to the office of your local tax assessor. Assessors give free, easy-to-understand, and complete information about who owns each registered property in their county. You’ll also see if the property has special assessments, such as loans or other financial information. But, depending on when it was registered, the information may be outdated.
If you have questions, call your local government office’s information line, go to your city hall or a meeting place, or email the office.
contact the county clerk
Some properties aren’t on tax assessors’ lists for various reasons. For example, the land might not be registered, there might have been a mistake, or no one has ever paid taxes on it. If the county assessor wasn’t able to help, you should contact the county clerk, whose office is also called the register of deeds or recorder’s office.
Most of the time, the county clerk keeps track of property deeds. When you find the deed, it should have the property owner’s name, address, and a way to contact them. Depending on how long the deed was written down, it may no longer be correct.
Most of the time, the information is online, but it varies based on where you are.
Look into things at the registry of deeds.
You might be able to search through the local registry of deeds by hand, depending on where you live. This isn’t available everywhere, so you should contact your county if you have questions.
Use a title company in your area
You should go to a local title company if the county didn’t tell you who owns a property. Reid Hayton-Hull, Principle Counsel for Title Forward, a Redfin company, says, “Title companies are experts at finding property information.” “They usually don’t get involved in a deal until the property is under contract to be sold. They then search the property’s title and find any problems with the current owner’s title. But some companies may offer paid services to look for contracts before they are signed. Check with title companies in your area to see if they do this.
Pay for service on the web
Paid online property search services can be a great way to find the owner of an abandoned property or empty lot if you’re set on buying it. Many property data tools can find out who the current owner is and give them contact information and details about the land registry. You might also find out if there are any liens or debts, which could help you decide what to do next.
Online services can be pricey and are often hard to understand because they use a lot of jargon. If you go this way, you should be ready to spend a lot of time and money.
Mailing list brokers
Mailing list brokers are an online service that is great for gathering a lot of information and getting in touch with many people. People use them for many reasons, one of the most common being real estate. Mailing list brokers collect detailed contact information for homeowners, property owners, businesses, and other groups and send it to their clients.
If you tell the broker what you’re looking for, they can determine property ownership for any number of properties or homes. They will give you lists with information about and contacts for each property. Remember that these services can be expensive and not do everything you need.
Talk to a real estate agent or investor in real estate
Agents or people who invest in real estate may already have access to lists of information you would have to pay for on your own. Ask for a favor from a friend or family member who works as a real estate agent. They can also help you figure out how to use an online service.
Speak with a real estate lawyer.
You could ask a real estate attorney for help if none of the other options have worked. They might know of other places to look and might know people in the county.
Stop by and leave a message
If nothing else works, try knocking on the door of the perfect house you want or leaving a note if no one is home. You might meet the owner directly or talk to someone who knows the owner. If no one answers, consider leaving a message with your contact information.
This could be the most direct and risky way to find out, but you might get your answer quickly and easily.
Last thing to say
It can be hard to figure out who owns a piece of property, so let’s go over the basics:
Most of the time, the information is easy to find online.
There are a lot of free and easy-to-use government resources out there.
If this doesn’t work, the next step is to contact your county clerk’s office. They usually have tax, title, and deed records for as long as the house has been registered.
Most of the time, counties take a long time to answer requests. If it’s too long, ask a broker, title company, or paid online service to find the information.
When looking for a home, you should always be wary of bad information and companies that do bad things. Try not to be too nosy, and if you have any questions, talk to the county.
Most of the time, finding out who owns a property is easy and has many benefits. You can be sure that you’re talking to the legal owner of the property, and you might be able to convince them to sell even if it’s not on the market.