Every so often, you run into situations where you want to search for the owner of a house by address.
This could be because you want to verify home ownership. Perhaps you’re thinking of renting a room in a building, and you want to make sure that the person who posted the ad isn’t a scam artist.
Or you could have no idea who the owner is. For example, you see a vacant house and you’re interested in buying it, but you need to know the owner to do that. Here’s how you can find the owner of the home, from the old-fashioned ways to more modern methods.
- Traditional Methods
There are a few tried-and-true methods that have been around for decades. These include:
- Calling Information and asking for the name of a property owner
- Going to the county recorder’s office to search the property deeds
- Going to the city or county tax assessor’s office and looking through ownership records
Calling information is obviously the quickest and simplest method. It also works a good amount of the time, making it worth the attempt.
The other two options require you to do a bit of legwork, but they also tend to be very effective. The location of the county recorder’s office varies by county, but the most common locations used are the county courthouse or city hall. There are public terminals in these offices that you can use to search property deed records, including ownership deeds and records of property transfers. There may also be staff available who can help you out and even copy documents for you, although there may be a small fee for this.
The tax assessor’s office will have property ownership records for any properties in that city or county that pay property taxes. Even though some of this information is available online, in some states, it’s illegal to publish that identifying information online unless the homeowner authorizes it in writing. For that reason, you’ll likely have better luck going to the office to search property records to find the owner.
- Searching Online
There are also sites available that can help you find the owner of a home. One of the easiest options is our website FreeBackgroundCheck.org, which has several information-lookup tools. Here’s how you can use the site to conduct a property ownership search:
- From the site’s home page, go to where it says “Find Records Fast:” and click the Address tab to switch to that search mode.
- In the information fields, enter the house number, the street name and the city, and then select the state from the drop-down box.
- The site will let you know if it found the ownership records for that property. If so, there’s a nominal fee to pay, and then you can access that information.
There are also real estate sites that will sometimes have property ownership data available. These include Zillow, Redfin, Trulia and Realtor, to name a few. Searches can be hit or miss with these options, and just like with FreeBackgroundCheck.org, there can be small fees to access the information. Just look at it as paying for the convenience of not trekking to the recorder’s office or the tax assessor’s office.
- Asking Around
In most cases, one or more of the methods listed above will work fine. But an often-overlooked option is simply asking other people in the area who owns the home. Try knocking on a neighbor’s door and seeing what they have to say. You could save yourself the time of conducting online searches or looking through records in person.
The Smartest Way to Find a Homeowner
If you’re looking for a homeowner, start with the neighbors and a call to Information, as these will be the most convenient options. No luck there? Then give the online resources a try, since you can use these from your computer or smartphone. If you still get nowhere, then it’s time to break out the big guns, which means going to the offices for records or property taxes.