The reasons for needing information about property ownership can be various. You’ve recently seen the house of your dreams, but no one’s ever around and it doesn’t have a “FOR SALE” sign. But the way it looks, you have to buy it. Other reasons might be that there’s a plot near your house that is in desperate need of cleaning, and no one seems to know who the owner is. Or, you would like to extend your current property by buying a plot next to you, so you need the owner to negotiate the possibility and the price.
Luckily, with today’s technology and information sharing on the internet, tracking someone down doesn’t have to be a nightmare. The information you need can also be a knock on the door away, or it is simply available in public registries.
If you have been caught in a similar situation, needing the property owner, this article will give you a couple of useful suggestions on how to search for this information in the US.
Use online tools
As we mentioned earlier, today’s technology and the internet made our lives much easier, when it comes to the availability of information. You can track down almost anyone by googling their names, or by using social media tools. This “digging” method will hardly ever fail.
Web searching tools, such as CheckPeople.com is the easiest tool you can use. Their search tools allow you to track down the owner according to their name, their address, and the state they are in. It saves you time because this kind of search can perform regardless of where you are. The results can give you complete information such as a full name, phone number, e-mail address, and the address of residence, or partial information, containing only one of the mentioned. In any case, it will at least give you a starting point or an idea where a person might be located to continue your search.
Aside from the property ownership details, there is other useful information you can find out, to help you have an idea of who you’re dealing with. Sometimes buying a property from someone will require negotiation skills, and this information can help you prepare. So, you can do a background check of a person, to find out if they have a criminal history. For your amusement, you can try and search yourself on this site, to see what are the records available about you. What other people can find out if they search for your details.
Local government and state government institutions have also developed in ways that all the public data now is available on their internet presentations. You can also use their search engines to try and obtain the information you need.
If the online search fails, public records as a service have to have the information you need. Each county in the US has a tax assessor, that you are probably aware of, and contacting the person appointed will give you answers about the property. Each property has a tax value, and whoever owns it, has to pay taxes, according to the laws. The worst-case scenario is that no one is paying taxes and the state or the county is also looking for them. But your initial assumption will be that the taxes are paid and that the information about the owner is available.
Going through public records might just be a good idea for a couple of more reasons. Such as, if the taxes haven’t been paid, the county might consider putting it on a public auction, where you have your chance to bid and buy off the land (or real-estate). Secondly, this information you can use to bargain for the price of the property. If the owner is in deep debt and no longer able to pay taxes for it, he may be willing to cut the price and sell it just to get rid of the debt or the expenses the taxes imposed on him.
In situations when you could not enter the property to see how it looks like on the inside, these records can have all the details you need to assess whether buying it would be a good idea. For example, the size, number of rooms, bathrooms, what kind of heating is used, what kind of air-conditioning, and other important things that give you an idea of a possible price.
In most places, as we mentioned, these data are available online. However, if you’re planning to buy something in rural areas, these things go differently. Then you need to drive down to the office of the tax assessor and have a little on one. Don’t be surprised if the appointed person gives you a pile of papers to dig through yourself. It sounds awfully slow and boring, but if you want the property, this is what needs to be done. Just like in the old times.
Property deeds also contain the information you need. Since each land parcel or property has to have a deed, which the owner is obliged to record, this is also one of your options. It’s a short procedure, where just go to the county recorder’s office and ask for the deed. Based on this paper, you will know everything you need about ownership.
Talk to other people
When everything else fails, or if you think this is an easier opportunity, then go around the neighborhood to ask people who are living there. People’s memory is also a kind of record database, only not the public one. The best suggestion is to go to the oldest people living there because you assume that they have been in the same neighborhood for the longest period. They must remember someone, or know someone who knows the owner.
At the beginning of this article, we’ve mentioned that modern technology has influenced the availability of information to everyone. Thanks to a well-organized public administration the US can be proud of, searching for a property owner should not be time-consuming.