How to Find Out Who Owns a Property: Top 5 Methods
Whether you are a real estate investor, a curious neighbor, or a home services professional, you might have all the good reasons to need to know who owns a vacant property you've discovered. Knowing where to look when searching for a property owner is a bold real estate move, and if you are a real estate investor, it could be the key to landing your next client.
When you work in the real estate industry, you will need to find information on the property owner and the address of the property, and how the property taxes are paid. With enough property data, you can easily reach a property owner to pitch your ideas. The following are methods on how to find out who owns a property.
1. County Tax Assessor
One thing about any person owning a property like a house is they have to be paying taxes on it. As such, it is quite easy for you to find a property owner by searching them on the tax assessor's website.
To do so, search for the tax assessor website for the county the property is located. This search process will yield faster results if you have the property identification number. Note that different counties in the US have different ways of identifying property, so you might need to do a lot more research to find the particular property you want.
On the other hand, if you are not sure you have the right website, you have the option of visiting the tax assessor's office in-person to perform a manual search on the property. For best results, it would help to have the property address to finish the search faster.
When you search for the property owner through their tax records, you will get their names and mailing address. However, it is vital to check that the tax records are current and learn if the property has any special assessments, such as loans, attached to it before contacting the owner.
2. County Clerk Office
It is also possible to find the details of a property owner from the County Recorder's office. For this method, you can use the Public Records Online Directory using the free site called NETR Online.
By searching the County Recorder office, you want more details than just the name and current mailing address the property owner uses. Here, you can find vital documents about the property. For example, if it is a residential home, you can find important documents associated with the current and previous owners with information like death, divorces, births, and even bankruptcies. For both residential and commercial properties, you can find documents supporting things like mortgages, notices of sale, tax liens, easements, deeds of trust, etc.
Using the County recorder is an excellent way for real estate investors to get a lot of information about property owners before deciding whether to contact them. While using these online resources to find the owner is free, note that viewing documents related to the properties may come at a fee. It is also essential to follow a county's procedures when obtaining any information on property owners.
3. Using Local Title Companies
A local title company has local representatives with information about many properties in any area. When you are doing a challenging property owner search, you can enlist one representative to provide you with a Focused Real Estate Marketing (FARM) list. However, if you intend to use this method, it is best to learn the state's rules and regulations to make sure you do not break any laws.
The local representative can provide you with these lists at a fee, and they will include details like names, mailing addresses, property characteristics, sales history, and the area demographics. This method is ideal if you want to find the property faster but don't know the specific area. It will also help you create a business relationship with the title representative who would like to gain your business.
Additionally, using a title company will help you learn new ways of broadening your property ownership search.
4. Using Mailing List Brokers
To find the ownership details of your potential investment property, you can enlist the services of a mailing list broker. You inform the broker of the property ownership information you need, and they make a custom link of potential owners for you.
These mailing list brokers have the resources to carry out due diligence on a property than you would alone. They can make you a list that includes the property owner's email address and phone numbers. They compile the list using data like the property characteristics, the neighborhood details, and other demographic data.
However, since the broker will offer you the service for some compensation, you need a system of your own to ensure the lists they provide are not outdated. Because of the rate at which real estate is progressing, properties can change ownership details faster than you can obtain them. To find out who owns the property currently, you need to work closely with your broker to avoid having to spend a fortune looking for updated lists.
5. Using a Real Estate Data Provider Platform
When you want to have constant and updated property ownership details, you need to have access to as many properties as you can, and this is where owner information software comes in handy.
With a platform such as PropertyShark, you gain access to public records of properties to create a custom mailing list you can use to reach the owner of the property you wish to ask about. While these platforms come with a subscription fee, you can access the property details and those of the owner, including personal social media profiles and phone numbers, and email addresses.
Finding the right property records is the best real estate investing guide as a property appraiser since you will be able to find out who owns a property and certain documents attached to the property, like a notice of sale or mortgage details.
Whichever method you pick to find the property owner records depends on your purpose for finding the owner. Using a County Assessor can be the best option when you want basic contact information to reach the owner of a property. While it is a safe and legal method, it can be tedious for real estate professionals who need a lot of property information for different properties to help in finding property owners.