Sometimes finding the owner of a house is a lot more complicated than talking to them at their Open House or when you visit the home that’s listed for sale. If you stumble across an abandoned home or you notice a home is getting neglected and you wonder if it’s about to go into foreclosure, you may want to find the owner and ask questions.
5 Ways To Find The Owner Of A House
You don’t have to wait until a house is listed or goes through foreclosure to find out the owner. There are ways to get your hands on the necessary information so you can make real estate deals and possibly help the distressed owners if that’s their situation.
Here are 5 ways to find the owner of a house.
1. Check With The Assessor’s Office
Property tax records are public records. This means anyone can access them and with most records online today, it’s easier than ever to get the information you need. First, find out the county the property is located in and then search for that county’s assessor’s office website.
Once there, all you’ll need is the property address and you’ll have information about the owner of a house within seconds. You’ll also see the property tax status (if they are delinquent) and even a tax liability history so you can see how much the taxes change through the years.
2. Ask The County Clerk
If you can’t find the property tax records or they aren’t online, you may need to visit the county clerk’s office to see the deed and other recorded documents. Again, you’ll need to know the county the property is located. Next, you’ll need to know where the county clerk is located.
You may have to visit the county clerk in person so you can see the records yourself. Some have old-school files you must dig through and others have them on film. If you’re lucky, though, the county may have uploaded everything online and you can search for the deed from the comfort of your own home.
3. Work With A Title Company
If you’re buying a property or want to buy it, you can work directly with a title company. Title searchers do this for a living. They look for records regarding homeownership to determine if there are any liens or other issues with the home.
They also check the chain of ownership. If you tried to two steps above and had no luck or you don’t have time, you can hire a title company to do the legwork for you. They will likely come up with much more detailed information too.
4. Connect With A Local Real Estate Agent
If you’re just trying to learn more about a house or to inquire when the owner may sell, you can talk to a local real estate agent. Try to find an agent who is well known in the area, as they are usually a wealth of information.
Someone who is ‘in the know’ may be able to tell you who owns a home and a bit about the history without you doing any legwork. Real estate agents like to perform tasks like this because it shows their care and value, and makes people refer them to others who are about to buy or sell a home.
5. Talk To The Neighbors
If you want to do it old school, walk around the neighborhood of the property you’re interested in and talk to the neighbors. You may learn a lot more from them, especially if they’ve been around there for a while than you would from a few recorded documents.
Reasons To Find The Owner Of A House
Sometimes you just need to know more about the property than you can find out from online records. Finding the owner of a house can provide you with much more information that can help you make an informed decision. Consider these reasons for finding the owner of a house:
- You found an abandoned property and want to learn more about it. If you’re considering buying it, talking to the last owner may help you understand more of its history.
- You need to know the home’s history. Maybe you’re concerned about the chain of title or that someone may still stake a claim in the property beside the current owner.
- You worry there is some hidden information about the property that you can’t tell from reading the basic documents you can find online or at the courthouse.
- You want to know more about the area and its developments. The owner may know about future developments in the area that may make or break your decision.
- If you suspect the owners are in financial distress, you may want to be the first to jump in with an offer to help them avoid foreclosure.
There are many ways and reasons to find the owner of a house. You don’t have to wait until a home is for sale or publicly listed because it’s in foreclosure to show your interest. Many times you can get a good deal on a home when you’re the first to show interest in it and to help the owners avoid foreclosure.
Always use caution when looking for owners of a home. Make sure the information you receive is legitimate and you aren’t being taken by a scam. Always work with reputable government agencies (county clerk or assessor’s office) or a licensed professional including a real estate agent or title company. Together, you can get the information you need to make a solid real estate investment decision.