How to Find a Deed for Land

By George Lawrence
Title to land is recorded in deeds.
lakes and land image by Xavier MARCHANT from Fotolia.com

Title to land must be recorded in writing and filed with the land records office in the county where the property is situated. The county recorder’s office keeps land records going back, in some instances, hundreds of years. The records trace the past and current owners of the land and are used in title searches to determine such things as who holds the true title and whether there are any liens on the property. If you need to find a deed for land, visit the property records or similar office.

Gather as much information about the land as you can. Ask who the current owner is and ask how the owner received title to the land. The current owner is typically the “grantee” and the previous owner is the “grantor.” Write down the address of the land and any other information, including plot number.

Visit the county property records office, which is typically located in the courthouse building in the county where the land is situated. Inform the clerk that you are looking for a deed to land.

Give the clerk the grantee’s name or the grantor’s name. The clerk either looks up the names for you or allows you to search through the records yourself. Records are organized by grantee or grantor index. If using the grantee index, search for the deed according to the last name of the grantee; if using the grantor index, search for the deed according to the last name of the grantor.

Review all matches you find against the information you gathered about the land. For example, assume you want to find land owned by Carlsbad Smith. There may be many grantee’s with the last name of “Smith” but only two with a first name of “Carlsbad.” Look at those two deeds and find the one that fits the land description or address.

Ask the clerk for copies of the deed or write down the information you needed from the deed.

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