How To Find Land Deed Records and Do a Property Owner Search
There are many reasons people search for land deed records and names property owners. In some cases people look for information about a property because they are interested in purchasing it. In other cases creditors may seek information about a property they wish to use to secure a loan on. Land deed records and property owner searches also provide valuable information to genealogists and other types of historians.
What is a Land Deed Record?
Land deeds contain the name of the legal registered owner of a property, as well as other important information, such as a description of the property, the assessor's parcel number (APN), the property lines, the names of buyers and sellers and their addresses.
Searching for a Land Deed
To search for a land deed or to find the owner of a property, usually all that is needed is the street address. Searches completed using the APN often lead to records with more complete information that by searching with the street address alone. Often the APN can be found using the street address.
Different locales are governed by varying legislation as to where land deed records are stored. Some states mandate that counties are responsible for the administration of property records, while other states mandate this at a municipal level. Older records, particularly in western states may be stored in state administration offices.
Deed Transfer Laws
Property cannot legally be transferred from one party to another unless the change is properly recorded with the proper governing agency. Some of these land registrars have made records available online for free, others have made records available online and charge a fee and others yet have not made records available online at all.
Finding Land Deed Records Online
The Free Public Records Search Directory publishes a comprehensive state-by-state listing of land registries by state. In cases where land deeds are not available online it is necessary to contact the appropriate registry office directly. Some of these offices may have services available where land deed information can be ordered over the telephone or by mail. Others require those searching for land deed and property owner information to visit the office directly and search through physical files or microfiche.
If the information sought is about an area not covered by the Free Public Records Search Directory the next step is to search Google to find the location of the land registry. Once the country or municipal land registry is found, visit the website or call the office and ask how to access their records. Most county clerks are very familiar with the process of searching for land records and are happy to help in any way they can.
Property Title Search History
By using land deed and property title searches it is possible to build a chain of ownership and get a complete picture of the past history of any piece of land. Land deeds and title searches can also reveal if there are any liens or other legal holds on properties.
Laws governing the transfer of property change from time to time. In the mid-nineteenth century it was common for states in the western United States to require land to be registered at the state level, while today most properties are registered at the county level. It is important to keep in mind the laws that were in place at the time of the information sought. This will help choosing the appropriate places to begin a search. Unfortunately, due to human error and accidents, such as fire, some land records may be destroyed and it may be impossible to find information about certain properties, from certain time periods and locales. Choosing the appropriate venue to begin a search can save time completing possibly fruitless searches.