Property ownership records are public records and can be searched either online or through local government offices. Searches for property ownership can be conducted online using the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and its affiliated sites or local government public records website searches. Property records can be searched through the local courthouse, Tax Assessor's Office, title companies, a real estate agent or County Recorder's Office.
In order to search a property ownership record, it is necessary to have the address of the property in question or the owner's name. Many property records searches require the address of the property to locate the ownership records. Records searches that are done through a title company or the Tax Assessor's Office may be done using the owner's name. The owner's name can also be used to locate liens, short sale pay off amounts, property tax records and other debts against the property. A realtor can search the MLS for property history information such as previous and current owners, purchase prices, realtors who previously listed the property and property listing information, such as price and listing changes. To check if a property's improvements or additions were added legally, it may be necessary to do an owner or property search through the local city planning office.