What are property records?
Property records detail information about real estate in the US, whether that is a residential home, a commercial property or even a piece of undeveloped land. When a person or a company buys a property and become the legal owners, then their name will appear on the property record for that particular house, office block or piece of waste land. But a search for land records or the owners of property will not just reveal who those owners are. You can also find out where they live or where they are abased, if they are a company. This can be very useful if the owner of a property turns out to be some kind of holding company that you have never heard of. By searching on the “home” address provided in the property records you can find out who the real owner is. A search like this can be very useful for journalists or campaigners who are concerned about a developer’s plans for a building or piece of land in their home town. When they find out that the owner of a piece of real estate is actually a supermarket chain, then the chances are they are planning to build a supermarket there!
Some property records also include how much the owner paid for the real estate. This is ideal for those who are thinking of buying property in a similar area, as they can search for property information on recent sales and figure out what they are going to be able to afford in the current market. In some states, property records may even have practical information about the property itself, such as any structural problems that have been found or any improvements that current or past owners have made to it. You can even search all the past owners of a property, finding out when they moved in and when they sold the property on. If you are trying to track down a missing relative or friend and know that they lived in a certain property at some point in the past, searching on the property history records will help you find out exactly when they were the owners of that particular piece of real estate. You might get even luckier; as the sellers of the property, the record could contain their new address! A property record search can be another way to track down the current address of the person you are trying to track down. If they currently own a piece of real estate then you can search on their name on commercial websites and find out where they own a home or business. Of course, there is no guarantee this is where they are actually living, but it is a good place to start.
The property history records for an area will show prospective buyers how property value has changed over the years too, as each sale will be recorded. You can compare this to the national or regional average and see if this is an up and coming or if property prices have probably hit their peak. Using a property check you can decide if buying real estate in a certain area is going to be a good investment, or if an area is obviously going downhill and would not be a good place for you and your family to live. Buying real estate is a huge commitment and is definitely worth doing your research in order to make sure you get the best return on your investment – and a great family home too.
How do I find property records?
In the US property records are maintained and held by each individual state, so if you want to search the actual paper copies of the documents, you will need to deal with the local County Recorder who is in charge of each state’s public records. In reality, it will be the staff at the local archives or courthouse, wherever these documents are kept, who will help you out! If you are looking for older records, for genealogy purposes, then a document search could be your only option. In some parts of the US the land records for a particular piece of real estate can stretch back decades or even centuries. While some genealogy sites have transferred the basic details of these documents online to make them searchable, often for a fee, if you want to actually see the document itself then you’re going to have to get your hands dirty and spend some time digging through the local archives.
However, if you are looking to carry out a more recent property check, most states have now put many of their real estate records online, making them searchable by address, postcode, area or even by the name of the owners. If you are trying to track down a particular person and want to know if they ever lived in a town or currently own property there, then this last option is ideal. If you don’t know which states they might have lived in, however your best option would be to use one of the paid search websites which pull together information on property ownership from all over the country. They will be able to track down every piece of real estate the person you are looking for has ever owned, providing full addresses, property value and in some cases you can even cross reference these addresses with any other public records that exist, such as criminal records or arrest warrants.
This can be a useful way of checking up on someone’s past, if you are unsure where they may have lived before. Establish their property-owning history and then use those addresses to search for other interesting incidents. Whether you are an employer wanting to check if an employee is who they say they are or a woman thinking of moving a new boyfriend into the family home, cross referencing someone’s property history record with other available public records can help build up a full picture of someone’s past. If you are an employer, however, make sure that the rules in your state allow you to carry out this kind of search and act upon it. In some states employees are protected from discrimination if they have never been convicted of a criminal offence but have been charged or arrested.
These state-wide search tools, which can be narrowed down to a particular neighbourhood, are also ideal for those who are just looking to research the current real estate market in a certain area. You can also search property history records in this way to see how prices have changed over the years. It is important to find out as much as you can about the property market in an area you are thinking about investing in, as this will tell you about more than just the cost of real estate. If the national average for house prices is going up and the prices in one area of the city you are thinking of moving to are going down, then you might think that would be a great place to move to in order to get a bargain. But there is probably a very good reason why the prices are falling there when property value is on the up everywhere else; perhaps the area has poor crime figures, perhaps local councillors are building a freeway over the top of the area. A search on property records can help identify potential problems with prospective new homes in a new city which you can then investigate further.
There are many reasons why people may want to search property records, but these documents can be quite complicated, confusing and full of legal and financial language that the layman might have problems understanding. Even if you manage to find the record you are looking for, it might very well not mean much to you because of the way the vital information is recorded and written. Using one of the many online search sites that do the legwork for you can not only save you many hours of searching, but they will also analyse the information for you, providing not just the original property record itself, but also a report detailing all the data contained within it. Of course, these sites don’t come for free, but the small fee that they do charge means that you don’t have to spend hours sat at your computer carrying out dozens of property searches, and that an expert will analyse all the information and tell you exactly what you need to know about real estate in your selected area.