Tips For Finding Out Who Owns a House
Are you looking to find out the ownership of a specific home? There are many reasons why you would want to know how to find out who owns a property.
Perhaps you are looking to purchase an abandoned house or a waterfront house you’ve always wanted? Maybe you need to make contact with the owner, or maybe, you’re just curious?
Understanding how to find out who owns a house is something a real estate investor would need to know in order to turn a potential lead into a profit, for example. It is not unusual for a real estate agent to hear the question, “who owns this property.”
In fact, it can happen quite often. Real Estate investors are constantly looking for off-market properties to purchase.
Companies like “We Buy Houses” and “We Buy Ugly Houses” often score some of their best deals by finding off-market sales.
Maybe you heard the property might be heading to foreclosure due to the owner missing some mortgage payments?
Whatever your reasons, there are many methods for how to find the owner of a house. Let’s look at all of the ways you can see who is the owner of a specific property.
Where to Begin Your Property Search
Understanding how to find the property owner will save you quite a bit of time with research. Some of these sources will be excellent places to continue your real estate due diligence anyways.
In most parts of the country, you should be able to find information about the ownership of a home online, either for a small fee or even for free. The information offered and the method to get it differs significantly between states.
If you don’t know where to look, there is an online public record tool on the NetROnline.com website. The site gives you the information about where publicly available property data can be found for your area and should show you some details about the likely costs involved in your search.
If the information isn’t offered online, they will provide address details of the office you need to contact.
Sometimes owners of the property can view these records for free, while everyone else has to pay. And in some other locations, ownership information isn’t available online at all. There are a few places you should check to find out what information is available in your state. Let’s take a look.
The County Assessor Can Help Determine Property Owners
One of the best places to try when you want to know how to find a property owner is heading to city hall. You will be able to kill two birds with one stone and start your search of the property history as well.
This government office can go by a few different names depending on the state you are in. It is sometimes known as a land registry, property records, land records, or the tax assessor.
To find the webpage for this service in your area, go to your local government website. Look around or have a search on some of the terms we’ve suggested.
There should be some information available online unless you live in a mainly rural area with less chance of these records being made available. You will also be able to determine who owned a house in the past beyond the current owner.
The Tax Assessor or Collections Office Will Provide Ownership Details
Another option to find out who owns a home is to check who’s paying the taxes on it. The tax assessor’s office should have information on the ownership of the house. The best way to find the report is to have the clerk in the office pull the data card.
The public records will often contain contact information, including the current street name of the owner and possibly phone numbers to contact them.
You can also go to the official website for information about the last assessment. In the online database, it might also be possible to see if there are any tax liens on the property, property values, and information on the home’s dimensions.
It should also have contact details for the owner, such as the mailing address to reach them. Unfortunately, this information isn’t available online for every county, but you can take a trip to the tax office in person to get the property tax records instead.
The property tax bill will often contain an abundance of information to help with your ownership search. Speaking with the county tax assessor should help if you are unsure about any of the data.
County Recorder or Recorder’s Office Can Show Prior Owners
The recorder of deeds is known as the county recorder or recorder’s office, and they hold copies of property deeds. Sometimes these functions are taken care of by the county clerk or court clerk, depending on your jurisdiction.
Most counties should have easy-to-use official websites for the county recorder. The information available from this website should be free in most cases, though sometimes there can be a small fee.
You should be able to look at a copy of the deeds for the property you are interested in, showing who signed the documents. This is particularly useful if the property ownership belongs to an LLC, and you are otherwise finding it difficult to determine who the owner is.
The Title Company Knows Who Has Owned a House
If you’re having trouble finding any information about the owner, you can approach a title company to help. They should be able to track down the owner and provide you with any information about tax liens on the property.
There is a big downside with this, however, the cost. Using the services of a title company could cost you hundreds of dollars. So help from one of the larger title companies is only really justifiable in a few circumstances.
Real Estate Agents Can Help Determine Property Owners
One of the easiest ways to assist in knowing who owns a property is speaking to a Realtor. A great buyer’s agent can be like your own private investigator to find property owner information.
If you’re interested in purchasing the property, the agent would be in the perfect position to help with that as well. They may have already researched the property to find the owner, to offer their services to them.
Real Estate agents also have access to an online database known as the multiple listing service that contains property ownership information.
The MLS offers a ton of helpful information, including the owner’s name, the property address, the square footage, the tax assessment, previous owners, and other ownership data, like when it was last sold.
If you want to find out who owned a house, it is usually easy to do with MLS access.
The agent probably will have access to parcel maps as well, which come in handy when researching property data.
Real Estate Attorneys Can Also Assist In Researching Owners
A real estate attorney can be another valuable source of finding who owns a particular residential property. Attorneys can research legal documents to determine a property owner’s name.
Real Estate attorneys also have access to looking up the deed book and page to find property info.
Armed with this information, they see the legal description of the property. Real Estate attorneys routinely visit the registry of deeds and can access property information that you might not otherwise find.
Customized Mailing Lists Can Help Locate House Owners
Did you know some companies will provide mailing lists based on the custom data you provide them? Real Estate investors often order customized mailing lists to mass market to potential sellers.
Besides providing the name of the property owner, some companies might offer email addresses and a telephone number as well. These mailing list companies can often customize a list of contacts in the United States based on your parameters.
For example, you might want to find potential foreclosure homes or look for an absentee owner living in another state. They often can provide detailed information to help narrow down your search.
Look For Suppressed Information
Though unusual, sometimes, the owner of the property has asked for their information to be suppressed. Hiding contact information can happen if the owner is concerned about their privacy for some reason.
Perhaps the owner is in a witness protection program, but whatever the reason, they might not be happy that someone is looking into their business. Your best course of action might be to contact a lawyer to help find who owns a property in these circumstances.
Websites to Find Property Owners Online
There are quite a few websites that will allow you to discover the name of the owner of a house you’re researching. Property owner lookup becomes easier by trying these sites. You can find the owner of a property for free with most of these sites.
- US Realty Records – is an excellent site for establishing the current owner of a house. The company provides public access to official records for property data in the United States. By doing a simple online search, you’ll have access to much information, including owner name, mortgage, and sale history.
- Property Shark – with Property shark, find out who owns any property in the US along with access to comprehensive property data. It’s an excellent site for real estate investors on how to find out who owns a home. The site lists records of property ownership. You will be able to do a property owner search on
- Property Radar – In addition to residential searches, property radar also allows you to search
- Melissa Lookups – Melissa Lookups can be found on the Google Play store. They provide detailed information such as the owner’s name, current residents, square footage, assessed value, property taxes, and other data points.
- Nationwide Environmental Title Research – as previously mentioned, NETR is a public portal to research how to learn who owns a house. Using the site, it will be possible to find public documents on property deeds, assessment data, tax info, mortgages, parcel maps, and more.
- Searchbug – sometimes it is harder to find a property owner when they only use a PO box for their address. The site allows you the ability to find a residential address from a PO box number. With the help of Searchbug, you can locate a property owner’s name.
The Information Needed to Search for a Property Owner
If you have the address of the property, this should be enough information. The parcel number of the property can also be used to search. If you don’t have either of these details because you don’t have the full address, it’s typically possible to do a partial search in these databases.
In a situation like this, it usually is best to narrow down your search as much as possible to save yourself time. There’s no point in spending hours trawling through the records when you can cut down on the number of potential homes it could be.
Google Street View can often help with this, it allows you to search around the property, and the street, to find out more information about the home. You can check the numbers on neighboring homes to work out the number of homes you are interested in.
Final Thoughts on Finding Out Who Owns a Home
If you need to know how to determine who owns a property, you may be surprised at the number of options available. In many counties, you will be able to get the information online for free, though it might not be as easy as that in many cases.
There are laws in some states that prevent the disclosure of ownership information. If you find yourself with such a problem, the only option is to order a formal title search to reveal these details.
Hopefully, you have learned quite a bit and now understand how to find a property owner.
About the author: The above Real Estate information on how to find the owner of a property is provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 34+ Years.
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