The best way to find out who owns a property is to search public records available through the local tax district. In most places, a county clerk or tax assessor has these records, though sometimes you may need to contact the city.
- Determine the location of the property
Determine where you need to look to find information on the property. Enter the street address into Google Maps to find out what county the property is in and whether or not it is within city boundaries. Alternatively, many counties offer a GIS mapping service that may be available online or have an office available for walk-in access to the public.
- Determine who has the records you need
Search for the contact information for the office that has the property ownership records that you want. Online databases such as NETROnline and SearchSystems are particularly valuable because they compile the contacts for public records nationwide and provide links to any that are available online. Searching Google for the city or county name and "property records" or "tax assessor" may also lead you to the appropriate contact.
- Pay a fee, if necessary
If the property records you are searching for are in an area that doesn't provide a free online search, you may have to pay a fee to get the information that you need. Sometimes clerks give information over the phone, but if not, ask what the local procedure is for requesting public records in that jurisdiction.