How to Find Out Who Owns a Property


|10 min read

There are many reasons why someone would want to learn who owns a specific property. As a buyer, you might want to discover why someone is selling the home. This could help you make a competitive offer based on what you discover.

Investors also look up property records if they want to make offers on distressed or abandoned houses. It might not be possible to reach out directly to the owner if they do not currently occupy the property. Some people use property records when they want to reach out to landlords. This public information can help neighbors report disrespectful tenants who are affecting their daily lives. 

There are multiple ways to discover who owns a house or condo. Use this guide to find out who owns a property and how to contact them. 

1. Online Property Records

Start your search by looking into public records. Property ownership is usually public information that can be found online. If you aren’t sure which government departments or offices can help you, run a quick Google search. Request property ownership in your county and see which offices come up. This will give you an idea of which formal channels can help you look up public records.

Discovering who owns a house or condo could also be as easy as searching the property address itself. Submit the address to Google or your preferred search engine and see what information comes up. Even if you can’t find the property ownership information, you might find other clues that can help you in your search. People often discover old Zillow listings through these searches and can even find news stories about potential deaths in the home.

In your search, you might discover websites that promise to give you information about a specific property if you sign up for paid services. Be careful when using these tools. You could submit your credit card information to a website only to discover that the system doesn’t actually have the property records you need. Explore government offices and public records first before using paid web services.

2. Local Government Offices

You can turn to multiple local government offices to find property ownership records. These offices will either have online tools and resources that you can pull from or you can visit the offices in person to go through existing records. 

Start your search by visiting the county assessor’s office or website. The assessor’s office is responsible for calculating the estimated value of a property. It is not responsible for calculating taxes, setting tax rates, or sending out bills. Its estimates are used to calculate taxes, but the tax collection office is completely different. By contacting the assessor’s office, you can look up the owner of a particular property and potentially see how much it was worth the last time it was evaluated. 

You can also check the recorder’s office, which is where all relevant documents in a county, city, or municipality are saved. If a specific person or department is unable to help you get the information you need, the recorder should have the tools to find the right documentation. Many of these offices are found in the county clerk’s office or your nearest city hall building. 

Some municipalities have more resources than others, which means it may be easier to look up property ownership in certain counties and cities than in others. Be patient when working with different departments to find the information you need.

3. Professional Real Estate Services

You don’t have to search through public records on your own. If you want to find the name and contact information of a property owner, consider working with real estate professionals who conduct these searches every day. Reach out to a title company to see if they can look through property records on your behalf.

They might be able to conduct a title search and pull the relevant information that you need. You can also enlist the help of a real estate attorney whose job it is to learn the owner of a property when drafting contracts.

Both the title company and the real estate attorney will have access to tools and resources that are not available to the public. Not only are they more experienced in looking through public records, but they have systems in place to find this information faster. 

One drawback of working with a real estate attorney is that you may have to pay a fee for their services. Real estate attorneys charge between $150 to $400 per hour. Even if they can easily find the property owner’s name, you will have to pay your lawyer. That said, some people would rather pay a real estate attorney and save time instead of spending hours searching through files on their own.

4. Tax Collector’s Office

Next, check the local tax collector’s office. In the modern era, you don’t have to visit a physical office location to go through these records. Many public records can be found online and are easily searchable. 

See if your online tax records office has a search function. You might be able to input the address of your desired property and gain information on who owns it. This is often the easiest way for homeowners to look up their properties and pay their taxes, but it is also a useful tool for discovering who owns a property.

If your local tax collector doesn’t have an online search function, you might be able to call the office and ask someone who works there to look up the property owner of a specific address. 

Potential buyers often search tax records to estimate how much they can expect to pay each year to the local government. However, property taxes usually increase after a home purchase because they are based on the value of the property.

What the current owner pays in taxes is not necessarily what you will pay. Additionally, buyers and investors will use tax data to confirm that there aren’t any liens on the property. This means that the seller doesn’t owe property taxes to the government.

5. Property Survey Documents

Another way to learn the owner of a property if you don’t have any luck in the assessor’s office,  is to search through property survey documents. Your local surveyor’s office should have this information. 

Property surveys are used to identify the exact boundaries allocated to parcels of land. If your neighbor builds a fence and you suspect that they are encroaching on your property, you can look into official records and property surveys to identify where your land starts. Property surveys are often conducted when homeowners want to build additions to their houses to make sure they follow official zoning laws. 

In most cases, you can look up property survey records for free. Some offices might charge a small processing fee for looking up specific documents. You may choose to start with this office if you’re looking for additional property information about the size of the parcel and any particular zoning regulations. This could help you determine whether you are interested in purchasing the property as a real estate investor. 

6. Real Estate Websites

You don’t need to be a real estate agent to use online tools that provide information about specific properties. Even if you are interested in an off-market property, you can look up the details of the home on websites like Zillow and

These sites might hide the owner’s information but can provide other insights that are useful and learning about the house. 

For example, you can see many property owners have taken over the house in recent years. If the property has changed hands multiple times recently, that could be a red flag that something is wrong. Conversely, if a single owner has been in the home for several decades, it might have strong sentimental value. this could impact the listing price and actions of the seller. 

Researching the sales history of any house is a good idea if you intend to make an offer on any property. Once you find the owner, you can discover a wealth of information that helps you make competitive offers that get noticed.

7. Networking with Local Realtors

They say it’s not what you know, but who you know. If you are trying to discover the property owner of a specific house or condo, reach out to any real estate agent contacts you have. Realtors look up houses throughout the day and are skilled at discovering relevant information for their clients. A real estate agent will also have access to the local multiple listing service (MLS), which provides ownership information and other valuable insights. 

Developing a network of Realtors could also be useful if you need this information because you are looking into real estate investing. After you purchase and flip a distressed property, you might want to buy additional houses in the future. Experienced real estate agents can send you pocket listings or potential homes that could be good for your investment goals. 

If you are good friends with any local Realtors, they might be willing to look up this information for free. This can help you save on real estate attorney fees and other online search costs.

8. Public Library Resources

You might be surprised at how much information your local public library has. Many libraries are the source for local records and historical documents about the town or county. These institutions preserve newspapers and important information. 

If you live in a region that is supported by multiple public libraries, see if a particular branch houses public records. This will help you save time by going to the right place. Additionally, many public libraries are working to digitize their files.

You might not need to visit a physical location if your local library has online records. Access to these records is free to the public so you can easily discover the property owner of the home in question. 

Your public library might provide more information about the house than you expect. Through old newspapers and reports, you could learn why a particular home is abandoned or the history of the property as a whole. This is particularly useful if you are looking to purchase an older home. 

Many librarians are experienced in searching for records and documents. If you don’t know where to start in your search, ask one of these professionals for help.

9. Title Search Companies

If you are still having a hard time discovering who a particular property owner is, find a title company that can help you with your efforts. These companies specialize in finding a variety of information for real estate investors and interested buyers. They use investigative skills to pull as many public records as possible.

This is another good option if you aren’t interested in combing through online databases and property search tools yourself.  The title search company can reach out to the county assessor’s office, records office, and county clerk on your behalf.

Along with finding the current property owner, they might be able to discover who owned the house in the past. See if one of these companies operates in your area or if you can work with a digital title search agency.

Use FastExpert to Find Trusted Real Estate Agents

If you need to find out who owns a property, you can explore each of these channels to get the information you need. Property ownership is public information that can be found across multiple government offices and title searches.

However, if you are inexperienced in searching for who owns a particular house or condo, you may want to contact a real estate agent to guide you. Realtors frequently have to look up property ownership information during the buying and selling process. They can get the job done quickly so you can achieve your goals. 

To find a real estate agent in your area, use FastExpert. You can read Realtor profiles and contact someone in the real estate field who can meet your needs. FastExpert makes it easy to find trusted real estate professionals in your area. Try the service today.

Amanda Dodge

Amanda Dodge is a real estate writer and expert. She has worked in the field for more than eight years. She spends her time writing and researching trends in real estate, finance, and business. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Communications from Florida State University.

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