Every property is owned by some person or entity, even if it's vacant. Even if the property is off the tax rolls, there will still be records noting its address, owner, and assessed value. The list of records on a property include assessment rolls, property tax bills, deeds, parcel identification numbers and liens or court documents.
Get as Much Information as You Can
Gather information on the property. Get the house number, as well as the street name and town in which it is located. Note other street numbers, cross streets or landmarks. Trade that information for an address and parcel ID number at the county tax mapping office.
Read More: How to Delete Personal Information From Public Records
Visit the County Recorder or Register of Deeds
Visit the County Clerk/Recorder's office and bring the address and parcel number with you. There, you can search title books to see who currently owns the property and who previously owned it. You can also check for liens on the property and find out if the property's ownership is disputed. In addition, if the property was recently sold, you can check the listing of recent transactions certificates filed under that address. The DBA, in turn, might include names.
Some counties have their land records online. For example, Wayne County, Michigan, where Detroit is located, allows public online access to property records. So does Philadelphia.
Check with the Tax Assessor
Both the assessor and tax collector/chamberlain can access information on a parcel. If your county register of deeds is unavailable or not easily accessible, try the assessor. The property tax records will show up-to-date information about who owns the property. If the property is tax-exempt, there should still be an assessed value and a record of who owns it.
The Department of State or Secretary of State
Check your state department of state's web site for listings of certain corporations. If the owner is listed as a company you are unfamiliar with and no DBA certificates have been filed for that address, there's a chance that it might be owned by a corporation that has filed records with the Secretary of State or the state Department of Corporations. The types of corporate public records that are available online vary by state. Annual reports might include records noting ownership of a property.
Property ownership is public record. You can find out who owns a parcel of real estate if you have the address. You'll need to search the records at the property tax assessor's office or the county recorder of deeds; the records may or may not be available online.
- Voter registration records are not a good indicator of property ownership because many people don't own their place of residence.
Aaron Gifford is based in New York. He has been on staff at the "Syracuse Post-Standard," the "Watertown Daily Times" and the "Oneida Daily Dispatch." He's also written for "Long Island Newsday," "Empire State Report" magazine and "In Good Health." He has been writing professionally since 1995. Gifford holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University at Buffalo.