Have you ever wondered who owns that vacant lot in your neighborhood? It's been there for decades.
Sitting empty. Growing weeds and collecting garbage. It's really an eyesore.
It would make an incredible community garden. If only you knew who owned it. But since it's vacant, the chances of you finding out who owns that land is impossible. Right?
Well, maybe not.
The challenge is how to find out who owns land when you've never seen another human on the property.
These days you can find out almost anything on the internet. Some things just take a little extra digging. Impossible? No. Challenging? Possibly.
There are two routes for finding out this data. There are searches for free or searches for a fee. We’re going to go into detail about both.
Speaking of digging, let's dig into how to find out who owns land around you so you can make that community garden come true.
Don't Know How to Find Out Who Owns Land (Fee Search)
Not to worry, you are in the right place.
PropertyScout.io can help you find out all the goods. In just a few steps, you can get all the data you want (and more). Forgoing the need to unearth county records and saving you the mind-numbing job of deciphering government paperwork.
It's a one-stop-shop to find out who the property owners are on that vacant lot or any real estate for that matter.
To figure out who owns this property, you are going to need to put on your private investigator hat.
Don't have one?
Maybe not yet, but you will! Because you are about to solve the mystery of how to find out who owns land.
Don't Know the Exact Address?
I bet your thinking, How to find out who owns the land next to me if I don't even have an address?
It sounds laughable, but keep reading.
All you need to know is the neighborhood or cross street, and you are in luck. Use the Search By Map function on PropertyScout.io. Scroll the map and zoom in until you find the area that you are looking for. Double click on the parcel of land and wait for the info below to populate.
Once it populates, you'll get all sorts of detailed information. Besides the correct address and the owner's name, you'll get the market value, lot size, mortgage, and purchase price.
With all that new data, you can enter the address or owner's name into the Search By Address or Search By Owner tabs. And lo and behold, you've got what you came for!
This is only one option for a property owner lookup on the site.
Don't Know the Owners Full Name
That's ok, too.
What if you can't remember the first name of the owner of the property. You heard the full name in passing, but for the life of you, you can't remember it.
Don't fret. PropertyScout.io can help. As long as you know the last name, pop it into the Search by Owner tab along with the city and state, and you'll get a list of everyone who owns property there.
However, it could be a very long list.
If you only know the last name is Smith, and they live in Chicago, prepare to sift through a lot of Smiths. Let's just hope their first name is something more uncommon like Zeus or Winona, or you might be computer bound for a while.
However, if you know the address, you are on easy street (see what I did there?). This is one of the simplest and quickest methods to get the goods on the landowner.
How to Find Out Who Owns Land in Alabama, or Illinois, or California, or…
Ok, you get the picture.
- 1Let's assume you did the map search, and you know the correct address.
Well done! You're on fire!
- 2Now, search by the exact address. Within a few seconds, you'll have a wealth of info at your fingertips. You'll get a property overview with the market value, the year it was built, the mortgage, the purchase price, and the APN or PIN number.
You'll see pictures of the property, who the previous owners were, and the tax info.
- 3Locate the owner's name in the Property Ownership section of the report. Click view details. That will take you to another page with the name of the owner at the top of the list.
- 4Click the green Full Profile button and voila; the property owner's age, phone number, and current address will come up.
So now you know exactly how to find out who owns a parcel of land using PropertyScout.io.
Sometimes it worth paying a small fee to get everything you need in one place. Peace of mind over pieces of mind, right?
But what if you don't want to spend the money just yet? You want to search for free first.
No problem, here is how:
Let's Begin at the Beginning: What's the Addy? (Free Search)
It's a vacant property, so it's not like you can look at the mailbox for the exact address. But first things first, let's get you the address.
It's Time to Consult Google Maps
You know where the parcel of land is located, so open up Google Maps and get to that location. When you click on the plot of land, the address will pop up at the bottom of the screen.
Now pop that address into a plain old google search and see what comes up. You'll probably find out if it's for sale, or has been recently, but you won't find out who the property owners are.
If that doesn't work, there is another way.
Some states have parcel maps that make it easy to gather info on any parcel of land.
For example, if you want to know how to find out who owns land in Texas, google Texas parcel viewer, or Texas parcel map. There will be pages of search results, so if you know the county, enter that instead of the word Texas. It will narrow down the search.
Once you find the right map, you should be able to click on the parcel of land and get some basic info. Depending on the state, and how much info they put on the site, you may find out who owns the property.
You can do that for any state, not just Texas. However, some states make it more complicated than others. Some counties have offices where you can go and physically pull parcel maps to get the address. Others have uploaded all of their maps to online portals.
The basic info is out there if you have the time and patience to search it out.
So let's assume you've found the exact location, but still don't know the owner's name.
This is your next step.
How About a (Free) Property Owner Lookup
You've got the address; now you need to find out who owns that property.
In your quest to learn how to find out who owns land, you've got to get the basics first. Start with a public records search at the local county recorder's office or the tax assessor.
The recorder's office keeps all the permanent public records that have to do with real property. The clerk will do the property owner lookup for you with the address you've given them. Their records will show who owns this property, and who was the previous owner was.
If you decide to go to the tax assessor's office instead, they will look up the address and find out where they mail the tax bills. Obviously, if it's vacant land, the property owners don't live there, but they still have to pay taxes on the parcel. You can assume whoever is getting the bill is the owner of the land.
The documents found by either of these offices will have more info than just the owner on record. You'll get tax records and if there are any current liens or encumbrances.
The county you are looking within might have all of these records online. Finding it out is just a matter of figuring out which portal has access to the specific data you need.
Not Vacant Land? Who Lives at This Address (Free Search)
These methods also come in handy if you want to buy a house that's not on the market.
For example, you've been keeping an eye on this home for years, and it's falling into disrepair. There is so much potential, and you could see yourself growing old in that house. You'd love to buy it, but you have no idea who owns this property. Head down to the tax assessor or county recorder's office and find out who lives at this address with a free search of public records.
As with most bureaucratic processes, finding the answers might not come so easily or be so straight forward. But you've got to try, right?
Or go to PropertyScout.io and get all the info you need.
Ask the Neighbors (Free Search)
If you know the area well, asking the neighbors is an easy option. But be sure to explain what you are trying to achieve. People may be hesitant to talk if they think you are a debt collector. However, once they know you are there to help out the community, they will more than likely be willing to spill the beans.
How to Find Out Who Owns Land (Online): Free Deed Search
For every real estate sale, be it a home or land, there is a deed. Both the buyer and seller need to sign the deed to transfer over the property's ownership rights.
To do a deed search online, you can google search the registry of deeds website for your county. Enter the property's address and select the most recent deed. You'll see the current owner and who they bought it from.
Fun fact: The oldest deeds in America date back to the American Revolution.
Still No Luck? Hire a Pro (Fee Search)
Sometimes you just can't find what you need. It could be complicated ownership histories, or records getting lost over the years, or even human error.
If you are friends with a real estate professional, ask them first. They have all sorts of connections. And if you are looking to buy the property, it's a win-win for you both.
While this certainly isn't a free option, it may be your last chance to gain the knowledge that you require.
So Now What? Reaching Out
You've done your due diligence. You've tracked down who owns that parcel of land.
So now, what do you do with the info?
You reach out via snail mail or a phone call. Whichever you feel is more comfortable.
If you go the written route, address the envelope by hand. It's an added touch, and since no one, and I mean no one, gets handwritten letters anymore, it will catch their eye.
Another option is a postcard.
Either way, write something short and sweet – no need for loads of details. Just let them know you are interested, what your thoughts are for the property, and how to reach you.
The Wrap Up
Whatever the reason you want to know who owns a property, these methods will guide you in the right direction. It could be as easy as knocking on a few doors or as convoluted as bureaucratic red tape could possibly be. But go into the project with time and patience, and you will get what you need.
Now that you know how to find out who owns a piece of land, it's up to you to make that community garden happen.
Now start planting!