It is relatively easy to find the name of a property owner by searching freely available Indiana property records. They are public and can be searched via several methods: through a county recorder's office, assessor's office or, if they are older, state archives, state historic preservation offices or local public libraries.
Indiana Real Property Search Through Property Tax Assessor
To search for properties in Indiana, individuals can contact their county assessor's office. Many counties have the property assessment information available online. For example, Marion County property records are searchable through its online database, the Property Report Card.
To view or print public records, users can search via a seven-digit parcel number, a state parcel number or a street address. Searchers do not need to know the property's legal description. All the reports included on the Property Report Card will reflect information from a specific date, however information included on different reports may not match as public records constantly change.
Indiana Property Search Through County Recorder
Indiana deed forms convey real estate transactions from grantors (sellers) to grantees (buyers). Once a deed has been filed with a recorder's office in a specific Indiana county, the state considers it to be public record. For example, the Marion County Recorder's Office maintains permanent public records of property transactions. These include deeds, certified survey maps, easements, liens and mortgages.
A person looking for information about a specific property can visit their county recorder's office to complete their search, but some county recorder offices offer this information online. While property searches are free, individuals may have to pay a small fee if they want copies.
Indiana Property Search Through State Archives
Anyone looking for historical property records information can contact the Indiana State Archives. Indiana was once a state where the federal government controlled, surveyed and granted land before settlement and was known as a "public domain" state.
These land records exist and are available for examination at the Indiana State Archives:
- Field notes with the surveyor's description in writing.
- Plat maps with surveyor's graphic description.
- Land office tract book records with information regarding an individual property's purchase.
Additional Sources for Historic Properties
The Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology also has information on historic properties throughout Indiana via its SHAARD database. The data is sourced from cultural resource inventories, listings from National and State Registers, research reports and cultural resource management projects.
The accuracy of the information on this database depends on how complete and precise the original records were. Not all of the 250,000 documents from past surveys have been input into the database. However, all 92 Indiana counties have information recorded in print catalogs or available online.
Searching Surveyor Interim Reports
A local library may also have property information in an Interim Report created by information field surveyors who identify, document and photograph historic structures and sites. An Interim Report mainly includes basic information on a property, such as the approximate date of construction and some historical background; the SHAARD database contains additional details and photos.
When searching for a historic property, researchers need to remember that most properties are private and not open to the public.
- As with any records search, the more information you have at your disposal, the better. In addition to street address, knowing the plat information can be of use. Since Indiana's public records are often based in county courthouse offices, in-person searches will be limited to business hours. Online searches are available, but for detailed history of ownership a hard copy search may be your best option. Some county clerks may charge for searches and document copies.
Michelle Nati is an associate editor and writer who has reported on legal, criminal and government news for PasadenaNow.com and Complex Media. She holds a B.A. in Communications and English from Niagara University.