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How to Find out How Much Real Property a Person Owns

By Jamie Richardson | October 20, 2020

To begin with, why would you want to find out? Let’s say you have your eye on a property that’s alongside the road you take to work. It’s almost completely dilapidated, but it will be beautiful once you fix it up, and you’ll have plenty of funds to do that if you buy it for cheap. So, the next logical step would be to find who owns it and whether they own any other property. A property owner search will reveal this information and more. 

investment property under contract

If it’s their only property, they might be willing to sell it – if they’re strapped for cash. Which they could be considering it’s in such poor condition. Of course, you never know. If they have other properties too, the likelihood is high that they’re well-off and thus not so willing to sell, at least not for any price.  

Why Use a Screening Service? 

Screening services let you find out who owns real property and how many properties they own by searching addresses throughout the US. You will get the owner’s name and mailing address. If available, you’ll also learn their phone number. The service makes tools available, which make it easy to research owners and limited liability companies (LLC). These tools can generate the full portfolio of an owner at the speed of light. 

Properties change hands often, and ownership data undergoes corresponding updates. Multiple sources are used to make sure property ownership records are accurate. These include assessment rolls, title documents, notice addresses, and permit data. 

Property Deeds

The Deeds Registry can also help you find out who owns a given property. Checking this source is not unlike looking up tax records. You need to enter the address of the property if it is located in a county that has a Deeds Registry site. Then, simply choose the most recent deed you get access to. it will show who owns the house or apartment. 

If the county in question doesn’t have an online service, you might need to go to the recorder’s office and look for the deed physically. 

Property Tax Records

This is an even better way of searching property tax records. Counties and towns typically have a tax assessment site that makes it possible to look for property information and tax records online. All you need is the house or apartment address. Again, this information isn’t available online 100% of the time. You may need to comb through paper records at the tax assessor’s office manually if the county doesn’t have a website. 

Finding an Owner Without an Address 

Searching through property deeds and tax records is effective as long as you have an address. Is there a way to find a property owner without one? People who’ve made a career out of real estate investments don’t typically drive around writing addresses down to do property owner searches. Successful investors can find out who owns a property and how many properties they own even if these properties are located in another state. 

The County Recorder

Title documents, deeds, and assessment rolls are publicly available. Likewise, most US counties allow people to look information up on their official websites, which are usually quite well organized. What is more, this information is often available for free. If you’re dealing with a property owned by an LLC, searching for the deeds will help too because you can see who the real owner is. This is the person who actually signed the documents. 

We couldn’t expect every website to offer the same level of coverage. States like Missouri and Arkansas don’t have very detailed histories. In contract, ACRIS in New York has deed copies going half a century back. 

The Tax Assessor

Your local tax assessor’s office will tell you who is paying the taxes owed on a property. You can also find information about tax liens, property area, the most recent appraisal, and even the owner’s contact details. In some counties, this data cannot be found online, and you’ll need to go to the office in person after all. 

Jamie is a 5-year freelance writer who enjoys real estate. He is currently a Realty Biz News Contributor.
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