How To Find Out Who Owns A Property You Want
Homeowner. noun. someone who owns their house or flat. anything that is owned by a person or entity. Property is divided into two types: “real property” which is any interest in land, real estate, growing plants or the improvements on it, and “personal property” (sometimes called “personalty”) which is everything else. “
To get started, check to see whether your city or county has public records accessible online. You can do this by using the Public Records Online Directory portal. This will allow you to do a property history search for free. First, click on the state where you’re searching on the interactive map display.
Also, there’s no set rule about whether you own the fence on the right or on the left-hand side of your house. You may be able to get this information from the conveyance deed, where there could be an already established boundary agreement regarding which fence side you are responsible for.
Ever pass by a home and have your jaw drop? Maybe it has perfect landscaping or an ornate front porch. Whatever it is, you want it. It may not be up for sale, but maybe if you find the owner, they could be open to the right offer.
This article will lay out how to find out who owns a property. If you’ve found your dream house and it’s not on the market, use these methods to track down the owner. After you find them, it’s up to you to entice them to sell.
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Top 9 Ways To Find The Owner Of A Property
It can be a slog to find the right house. And when you do, it may not be up for sale. Take these ways to find out who owns a house so you can lure them to sell.
There are several ways to find the owner of the property you’re interested in. Some ways are more direct than others, but any way will rely on your charisma to convince the owner to sell.
1. Go To The County Tax Assessor Office
On your local assessor’s office’s official website, you may be able to look up property tax records. All you need is the home’s address. You can learn who owns the home as well as how much property tax they pay.
The first step you should take when searching for more information about a property is to look up tax records at the county assessor’s office. Most people are not aware that this information is public record and completely free to access. In some counties, this information can even be found online and is available for anyone to search. Try looking up your county’s tax assessment website and search for the address of the property you are interested in.
Unfortunately, not every area has this information easily accessible online. If you live in a small or rural town, you may need to make an in-person visit to the county assessor’s office. Call to schedule an appointment and be prepared to search through physical records for property tax information.
The records will contain the property address, owner name, and address where the tax bill is sent. As you might expect, it can be tedious to search for property tax records in person, especially if you are gathering information on multiple properties at once.
This is a great way to find out who owns a property for free. Keep in mind you may have to pay for physical documents.
2. Check The County Clerk
The county clerk’s office has public records of property, deeds and other useful information when searching for the property owner. Not only will this tell you the owner of a home, but it may give you insight into the history of the property.
Real estate investors can also rely on the county recorder or clerk’s office for information about various properties. The county recorder’s office contains legal records for county residents, such as marriage certificates and birth records.
The county recorder will also have information on bills of sale, property deeds, mortgages, tax liens, and easements. The amount of information available can help investors find a property owner — the abundance of records can be difficult to sort through.
The county recorder’s office will typically charge fees per document requested. These costs will vary based on your county, but they can add up quickly. While some counties allow investors to purchase one or two documents, others will require you to pay a flat fee to access all information about a given property.
Look up your county recorder’s office online or give them a call to request information about the fees. This will help you anticipate any expenses related to your research.
3. Go To Your Local Library
Your local library may have a database to conduct a property search. This could be available online, or you may be able to find public records in person.
4. Ask A Real Estate Agent
If you’re already house hunting, talk to your real estate agent. Chances are they’ll access the same public records from the first three steps. If those haven’t turned up results, your agent may be able to dig deeper.
5. Talk To A Title Company
A title company can research property deeds and perform titles searches. Not only will you be able to find the owner of the property, but a title search will check for any issues of the property. This step is part of the homebuying process, but you can take it early to find out more info on the property.
If you cannot access public records or perhaps do not have the time, you can request information about properties in your area from a title company. Title companies are typically responsible for verifying ownership of a property during the home buying process.
Due to the nature of this responsibility, title companies have access to a variety of property records. Investors can request marketing lists or information about a specific property from title companies. They will typically gain access to the property owner’s name, contact information, property characteristics, and transaction history.
Title companies offer public information at similar costs to the county recorder’s office. They can also help refine your search and, in some cases, will be able to point out comparable properties. The reason for this is because title companies are typically hoping to gain your business in future transactions.
Many investors agree that a good title company is crucial to any real estate business, so always be mindful of how often you rely on them for information. Maintain a good relationship with any title companies you use, as you will often be mutually beneficial to each other.
Note, a title search isn’t free. You’ll have to pay a fee, usually in the range of $200 – $400.
6. Use The Internet
Given the ability many have to access the internet with a smartphone, this may be your first reaction. Sites like 411.com and the white pages offer reverse searches. You input the address of the home and it will give you a list of who resides there.
A great thing about multifamily properties and other rental units is that there is so much information available online. Investors can typically google an address and find the property management company online. In some cases, your search might take you to current or expired rental listings with the landlord’s name and contact information. Another option is using websites like ApartmentRatings.com and see if any past tenants have left reviews on the property. These could also include the information you are looking for.
Know the accuracy of these sites varies. You may get a list of family members or previous owners. They may require you to make an account and may charge you for the information. Given the unreliable nature of the information, you may be better off accessing records from the assessor’s office or the county clerk.
7. Talk To A Lawyer
If the other options on this list haven’t given you satisfactory results, you could talk to a real estate attorney. They may have a few ideas on how to find who the property owner is if it’s hard to come by.
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8. Knock On Their Door Or Leave A Note
If you’re the brazen and bold type, knocking on the door might get you face-to-face with owner. If anyone answers who isn’t the owner, they may know how to contact the owner. Remain courteous and respectful with whomever answers the door. If no one answers, you could leave a note for the owner to contact you if they’d consider selling.
This is the riskiest method on this list and may not work for you. The owner may not want to talk to you. If you choose this route, you may get your answer faster on whether the owner will sell. It could save you time and effort. Just know the answer may be “no.”
9. Reach Out To Mailing List Companies & Brokers
A final method for identifying property owners is through real estate marketing brokers. This is a quick way to gain information about multiple properties in your area at once. Brokers will typically sell marketing lists with ownership and contact information, neighborhood data, and property characteristics.
The lists are available to investors for a set amount of time before they must pay again, typically one year. Investors can work with brokerages to create custom marketing lists and obtain more information if necessary.
Many investors use real estate marketing lists as a last resort when looking for property owners. While the information is available fast, it is not always reliable. In some cases, brokerages will supply you with outdated or incorrect ownership information.
For example, you may find yourself with the previous owner’s phone number instead of the current owner’s. However, if you are struggling to find information on a property, you may discover new information using a broker. At the very least, this might provide you with a new lead for your search.
How To Find Out Who Owns A Property Without An Address
At some point in your investing career, you may run into another particularly challenging question: how do you find out who owns a property without an address? Let’s say you were driving through a neighborhood looking for deals and weren’t able to write down a house number, or perhaps you could not discern what the numbers were. When these situations occur, the best place to start is by researching the neighborhood online.
Gather whatever information you can about the property, such as the street name or a close street, and prepare to do some research. Start by looking up the area on google street view and look for the lot in question. If the property is on the market, you may be able to find it by searching popular listing websites (such as Zillow or Redfin).
Once you have the address written down, try the above methods for finding the property owner. Alternatively, you can use a paid service like PropertyShark to identify the address and property owner simultaneously.
There are several ways to find out who a owns the property you’re interested in. If your interest is strong and you know you could make an irresistible offer, make the effort to contact the owner.
Most property owner information is public record. It should not take you long to find most people. Finding who owns the property is the easy part. Getting in contact with them and convincing them to sell is a whole other ball game.
How To Find Out Who Owns A Property You Want