How to Do a Property Title Search

How to Do a Property Title Search
Image Credit: Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/GettyImages

Things You'll Need

  • Computer

  • Internet connection

  • Name or address of a property owner

  • Name of the county property official

Warning

When done in person, there may be a fee attached to some property title record search and retrieval or copying activities.

Tip

If you cannot locate your county's property office websites or are having trouble finding the information you need, simply call the relevant county office. County property records offices typically have no qualms about people search property records because they are indeed public documents.

In many cases, property records offices also keep staff to help searchers with gathering files and documents.

Because property records and tax information are public record, anyone can access this information online. If you are a property owner you can find information about taxes due, back taxes owed and the value of your land, house and any other buildings. You can also search property titles and other relevant information, something that may be helpful when researching property values or when buying a home.

Finding the Information

Step 1

Make sure you have the name of the property owner and/or address of the property and title information to be searched. In almost all cases, you can look up a property through its owner or title information.

Step 2

Determine the elected official that is responsible for maintaining property records in your county. County auditor and recorders, assessors and other fiscal and tax officers frequently maintain applicable property title records. The exact nature of property titles vary from county to county and state to state. Once you know the official maintaining your county's property title records, go to the appropriate website.

Step 3

Locate the area of the applicable county website that allows you to search property records. Individual county property websites may use different terminology, but look for links that go to tax information, tax maps, property records and other items. Most county property record sites also offer a property search page.

Step 4

Search by the relevant property owner's name, address or parcel number. Parcel numbers and addresses usually return the most precise results, but if you only have a person's name it may serve well enough in many cases. You may have to choose between more than one person with that name once property title records results are returned.

Interpreting the Results

Step 1

Find the property value, building value, acreage and condition of the structure on the county property records webpage. Many property record sites also show an outline of the home or building, including any additional add-ons such as porches, decks and storage buildings. County property title records also usually include the square footage of the homes maintained in their databases.

Step 2

Find the tax information. Most country property records list property tax amounts for a 6-month period, any back taxes that are currently due on the property and a history of payments made going back several years.

Step 3

Click the appropriate property title record link on the county's property webpage to see any transfers or sales, which will provide a record of when the home was built, sold and bought by new owners. Using property title records, you should be able to see the names of all owners and the amount they paid for the home at the time of purchase.

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