How to search public records for home ownership

Written by ryn gargulinski
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How to search public records for home ownership
Who the heck owns this thing? (Illustration by Ryn Gargulinski)

Perhaps you need to know who owns the house on the block that looks vacant and haunted. Maybe you want to confirm that your new boyfriend or girlfriend really owns the mansion where he or she lives. Finding out who owns a home in a given neighbourhood or area may seem like a daunting task, but it's really not if you know where to go for the information. Property tax records, which reveal home ownership, are public documents and yours for the viewing if you follow some simple steps.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Gather your information. The more information you have, the easier your search will be. Information can include the person's name, the home's address, and the plat or block number in the city or county where you are searching. Let's say you're looking up 1234 East Broadway Boulevard in Tucson, Arizona.

  2. 2

    Get to the proper county's assessor's office. The county assessor is where your desired public records will be. Some assessor's offices have a searchable database online, which will make your life easier. Check for an online database by searching through the county's website. Tucson is in Pima County, Arizona. By simply typing a search for "Pima County Assessor's Office," you are greeted with a search option on the main page.

  3. 3

    Pick the search option online. If the search option does not greet you warmly on the main page, poke around on the site until you find it. Pima County's allows you to search by the taxpayer's name or parcel number and, in the advanced search option, by address, block and plat number, and other information. Fill in the information you have.

  4. 4

    Submit your request by telephone or in person if you come up blank, don't have the required information needed to search online or there is no online database.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are unsure of the spelling of the name, enter only the first few letters. Searchable databases will usually find anything that contains those letters at the beginning. For instance, "Jones" will be found by entering "Jones," "Jone," or even "Jo." Of course, the "Jo" will also give you all the "Johnson," "Jonnah" and "Jozkowetzcski" options.

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