Property records are accessible to the public, and although the ease with which people can find records and decipher their meaning varies by municipality, it’s possible to garner a good deal of information from them. Read on to find out what property records are, what sorts of information they can be used to gather, and how it most frequently gets used.
What Are Property Records?
In their simplest form, property records are legal documents containing information about plots of land or real property. In most cases, property owner records refer to deeds, which list who the property currently belongs to. These records are kept to make information available about not just the properties, themselves, but also liens, encumbrances, and unpaid taxes.
Types of Information Available
The most obvious reason to check property records is to find out who a current home or plat of land belongs to. This information is available online, often including actual images of deeds. People can also find out about past sales, mortgage transactions, liens, refinances, home equity lines of credit, and the lenders offering these loans. Contact details for the property owner may also be available, including mailing addresses and phone numbers, plus key demographic information like age and gender.
People can also find a good deal of detailed information about properties via searches of public records. Common examples of property details included in the search results include the size of parcels of land, information about any homes and outbuildings present, and details about pools or other accessory structures.
Reasons to Conduct a Search of Property Records
There are all kinds of reasons to conduct searches of property records, ranging from simple interest in a property or an active intent to purchase to the confirmation of the ownership and value of real property being used as collateral. Here are just a few examples.
Real Estate Professionals
Real estate investors often search property records looking for information about buildings they may want to purchase. Remember, commercial buildings are also included in property search records. When real estate investors or developers need information about a building or promising piece of land, they can use the results of property searches to get in touch with the current owners to ask about their willingness to sell.
Lenders often use information from property records searches to verify ownership of a home before offering a mortgage loan or a home equity line of credit. Since property searches also contain tax information, lenders often use them to determine the value of land or buildings.
Private investigators use whatever information is available to them to research cases. Property records can yield vital clues that help them make sense of situations and find new avenues of research.
Anyone Can Search Property Records
Property records searches used to be very difficult. Now, all it takes is an internet connection. There are companies that do all the legwork for their clients, putting together information from public property records into easy-to-read reports.