There are three primary ways to find a street address using a property's Assessor's Parcel Number (APN): asking a real estate agent, going to the county assessor's office or using a property tax office. While the term APN is widely recognized, the parcel number may also be referred to as a parcel ID, Key Number, Parcel Control Number or something similar.
Real Estate Agent Resources
A real estate agent can take the parcel number and do an APN lookup by entering it into the Multiple Listing Service(MLS). Explain to the real estate agent why the property is of interest. In most cases, people search these records based on a lien record, such as a tax lien, in hopes of evaluating and purchasing the property. Real estate agents work on commission and will most likely provide this information free of charge hoping to gain a client.
While it would take a real estate agent less than five minutes to obtain the address, he may not want to bother if no prospect of financial gain exists. It is smart for investors looking to flip real estate to develop relationships with local realtors who become valuable assets. Real estate agents not only provide address information, but also hope to add insight for investors regarding market trends in specific communities.
County Assessor's Office
The APN is registered at the County Assessor's Office. Either go physically to the assessor's office, or call or visit the website. Many assessor's office websites have the information readily available. In your browser, search for the county assessor's office to access the website database. Type "APN" in the search field or on a "search by APN" link or tab if available.
For example, the Sacramento County Assessor's website offers a simple search box. Entering the APN in the box generates search results including a map, address and assessed value. If for some reason a particular county does not have this information readily accessible online, physically go to the county assessor's office and request help in person.
Property Tax Office
Most property tax offices are directly linked to assessor's information because property taxes are based on location and assessed value. For example, the County Hawaii Real Property Tax Office requests that all searchers agree to certain terms and conditions. Once that step is done, a page opens with links to search by APN, address, map or legal information.
Select the APN search link and enter the number. Check directions, as some counties require keeping any dots or dashes while others will request only the numbers. Once you submit the required information, the result should provide the actual physical address and may also provide owner and land value information.
Public Records and Courtesy
The APN and its corresponding physical address are public record. This means anyone can get the information, not just the property owner. Therefore, respect the privacy of residents living on the property. Most searches are needed because of an impending foreclosure, bankruptcy or short-sale. Property owners can be defensive or uncomfortable if approached or see people looking at the house.
This article was written by Legal Beagle staff. If you have any questions, please reach out to us on our contact us page.