Public property records are often a lifeline those of us in lending, investing, and insuring industries come to rely on. However, it's getting to the right entity within a county government that houses that data that proves to be a significant challenge.
Counties throughout the U.S. typically have similar infrastructures; however, there are variances in departmental or authorities that maintain and control property records. Los Angeles County is no different when it comes to a maze of county departments you must work your way through. So, just how do we get to the right place quickly for the information we need?
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A Synopsis of Los Angeles County
Los Angeles County hugs the California coastline between Anaheim and Oxnard. It reaches northward as far as Lancaster, California. The city of Los Angeles sits in the southern-central area of the county. The greater Los Angeles area is infamous for the vast number of celebrities that live there. LA culture drips with wealth with mansions with unfathomable square footage and amenities strewn up and down palm tree-lined boulevards.
Tourists of all walks of life visit in hopes of a celebrity sighting, mega mansions, and various attractions. The beautiful beaches call to those who vacation and live in the area. There's no doubt that you'll enjoy a diverse world of culture and things to indulge in not only in the Los Angeles area but California as a whole.
Los Angeles County is the LARGEST county in the U.S. A whopping 88 cities are within the boundaries of this county, the biggest city being Los Angeles. Approximately ⅓ of the county is densely populated, with the other ⅔ being mountain ranges and desert areas with smaller cities and towns. In the winter, you can bury your feet in the warm sands of Malibu Beach and drive a few hours northerly to enjoy a fun run on the snow-covered ski slopes in the mountains!
Los Angeles County is where all your favorite movies were shot in. From Blade Runner to La La Land, it has it all. It’s not uncommon to walk around outside in LA and see a film crew setting up to start a shot.
Los Angeles County Property Tax Search (Tax Rates)
Because there are so many cities within the county, the tax rates vary. However, the average tax rate on properties is about 1.25%. Tax revenue is distributed throughout the county, with the largest portion (40%) going towards schools. Los Angeles County property tax search that is narrowed down by address or city will yield definitive tax rates rather than averages.
Property Investment Opportunities
Working remotely has become the "new norm" for many of us. As investors, we can leverage this shift in work environments by investing in seasonal/rental properties in Los Angeles County. Remote workers opt for areas that offer desirable climates and access to the outdoors, such as beaches.
Although a cramped little rental in the city's heart may not be ideal for potential remote worker housing solutions, something within walking distance from the beach is. The mountains north of Los Angeles are just as appealing as the beach for remote work. Regardless of a beach or mountain property potential, now is a great time to take advantage of an investment opportunity!
A FAST Los Angeles County property tax search can be done by clicking HERE!
Owning or Renting Property in Los Angeles County
Seasonal, vacation, or full-time residential rentals provide newcomers with endless choices. Location, price, and available amenities make this area very attractive! Downtown high-rise apartment living to a simple beach bungalow awaits tenants. Grand-scale living is attainable on a monthly rental basis with choices in mega-mansions, contemporary hillside homes, or turn-key vacation homes that provide ample room for the occasional private helicopter.
Quick Facts About Los Angeles County
Property Climate in Los Angeles County
The enormous size of such a densely populated county presents a bit of a challenge to gain insight into the market as a whole. To get specific median home pricing, valuations, etc., requires scaling down from a county perspective to city-data. This perhaps sheds light on just how immensely time-consuming a DIY property records search can be.
Median Home Prices
A market report generated by the California Association of Realtors breaks down the median prices on homes over the past year along with home sales rates. Their forecasted figure on state-wide foreclosures includes 60,000 properties. A baseline market outlook in single-family homes reflects an increase of about 3.23%. Median home prices are predicted to increase by 4.23% over the next year.
We have highlighted various cities in the northern, southern, eastern, western, and central regions within the county to give you a synopsis of single-family residential property (SFR) market ranges.
Property Stats for Los Angeles County
Los Angeles County has 3,524,321 housing units in which averages about 868 houses per square mile. There are more rental properties than owned in the county.
Rentals: 1,791,480 (54%) with a monthly median rental of $1.390
Owned: 1,514,629 (46%) with a monthly median mortgage of $2,417
GDP Los Angeles County
Mortgage Stress in Los Angeles County
Los Angeles County will, of course, reflect a higher percentage of homeowners with second mortgages or home equity line of credits because of the size of the county. Within the county, 72% of the population have mortgages, of which 21% have 2nd mortgages or a home equity line of credit.
Property Stats for Los Angeles County
Earthquakes are synonymous with California. Additionally, wildfires and mudslides plague the hillsides where multi-million dollar homes sit. Along the coastline, there is an increase in the potential for flooding.
Back in 2009, the infamous "Station Fire" was documented as the largest wildfire in the county. Over the past three years, there have been six county wildfires. Those who invest or own properties in the hills are at risk of fires like these. Mudflow and mudslides can result from the runoff of water used in fighting the fires.
Numerous earthquakes have shaken Los Angeles County. In 1987 a 5.9 earthquake caused $358 million in damage to properties. Just four years later, another one hit, triggering $40 million in damage. 1994 brought forth a 6.7 earthquake that damaged over 100,000 structures.
Public Access To Los Angeles County Real Estate Records
Los Angeles County real estate records are publicly accessible. Once you think you've found the right place, you do a silent happy dance. However, you are quickly met with disappointment when you are either told to go somewhere else, or a county website link proves fruitless.
The lack of consistency in departments and/or officials that handle property records is something we must contend with in different counties across our nation. One county's tax assessor may manage property records, while another county houses those records under some other department/official.
The only way of discovering this is to work your way through the maze of each individual county infrastructure. Doesn't Los Angeles County property appraiser handle property records? No, unfortunately, they do not.
Just where do you go to get results for a Los Angeles County property lookup?
Searching For A Los Angeles County Property Lookup
When arriving at the Los Angeles County's website, there's no precise way to know where public records (property records) are. Most of us would ordinarily look for a portal that links you to "public records." But this is not the case for this county.
Typically, we would go straight to the Los Angeles County property appraiser to begin our search. You would think that the Los Angeles County property records by name should be attainable through the appraiser or assessor.
Because there's no "jumping off" point on the county's website, a general search must be entered for "property records." After typing this in, we are directed to a page that contains links to more pages. One link ("property document recording") appears to be promising. Clicking on that link carries you deeper into the abyss with another page opening. We are now staring at the "Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk" page.
Scrolling down, there are more links, one of which may get us somewhere! So, we click on "Real Estate Records." Another page opens and brings us to "General Information." Appearing on the page are three tabs; "General Info," "Real Estate Records Request," and "Viewing Real Estate Records." Undoubtedly one of these tabs will get us where we need to be.
A click on "Real Estate Records Request" opens a page listing fees for public records such as copying, mailing, etc. That's as far as this page takes us. So, we click on the other tab, "Viewing Real Estate Records." A page opens bearing an address in Norwalk, where you must go in person to access public records dating 1850-1957. Requests by telephone are not accepted. But wait, over on the left side of the page is a link, "Online Access to Real Estate Records." This has got to be the link we need!
So, we click on this link, and a page appears with a statement of "This office does not provide online access to real estate records or indexes via the internet." This dead-end was just that, a flat dead end! When calling the Registrar's office to inquire further about online access to records, we were met with a recording.
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Source for county statistics: www.towncharts.com