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How to Find Out Who Owns a House

The information below will help you determine the owner of a home, lot, or piece of land. It’s not difficult and there are always resources available if needed!

There may be several ways to find out who owns something; however, most people turn towards their local MLS (Local Multiple Listing Service) for this data since it's free at many levels - including updates about listings changes, which can provide peace of mind when looking into buying property. You could also ask around within your community as well as check online databases like Zillow, etc., though these too might charge fees depending upon the information you're seeking.

The first step is to look up the address for the property in question on your local MLS. If it's a rental, there will likely be a phone number listed for the owner or management company. If it's a For Sale By Owner (FSBO), then the contact information should be right there. You could also check the county assessor's office as they usually have public records of who owns what.

If you're still having trouble, then you can try contacting a title company in your area - they would have access to property ownership data and would be able to help you out for a fee. The best way to find a reputable title company is to ask for referrals from your real estate agent, lawyer, or financial advisor.

Tax Assessor

To find out who owns a property, you can go to your county tax assessor's office and ask them for that property's tax records. You can discover who owns the property by their address as well as how much they pay in property taxes each year. Keep in mind that if you want physical documentation, you may have to pay a fee.

Try your local library

Your local library is a great resource for information and may be able to help you track down physical records that might otherwise fall through the cracks. Additionally, some libraries offer free public databases on their computers so you can conduct a property search. Library staff will usually have more information on how you can access information related to property sales and ownership. 

Title search company

You can also reach out to a property title search company. These are independent firms who do searches for real estate transactions and make sure there's no "cloud on the title" - meaning the property has been confirmed as being free from any other claims, such as debts or liens, that might prevent the full transfer of ownership. This service is not free, however, and such companies charge an hourly rate (which typically ranges around $100-$300). 

Talk to a real estate attorney about property ownership

If the subject of your research is an LLC or probate dispute, you may find it difficult to figure out who holds the title. In these situations, a real estate attorney may be able to assist. Even though hiring one costs more than doing records searches yourself, sometimes saving time really does pay off.

An attorney may also be able to help if the person you're trying to find is deceased and the property was willed to someone. The probate process can be confusing, and an experienced lawyer can guide you through it step-by-step so that you can get the information (and peace of mind) you need.

More home-finding resource ideas

Zillow

Zillow is an online real estate database company that provides information about homes for sale as well as rental properties. You can search for a specific address or general area, and narrow your results by price, number of bedrooms, square footage, and more. If you find a listing that interests you, you can contact the owner or agent directly from the site.

Trulia

Trulia is another online real estate database. In addition to listings for sale and rent, Trulia includes data on recent home sales, median prices in specific areas, market trends, and more. You can also find information on schools, neighborhoods, and local businesses. As with Zillow, you can contact owners and agents directly from the site.

Redfin

Redfin is an online real estate brokerage. In addition to helping you find a home, Redfin will also help you sell your home. The company offers a 1% listing fee (or a minimum of $3,000), as well as a refund of up to 50% of the buyer's agent commission. Redfin also has its own team of agents who can help you throughout the process.

Homesnap

Homesnap is a mobile app that allows you to quickly and easily find information on homes for sale or rent in your area. You can snap a photo of any home to find out its address, price, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and more. You can also contact the listing agent directly from the app.

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