How to Find Lost Property Deeds

Written by anita cooper
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How to Find Lost Property Deeds
Public records help keep track of important information. (Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A deed is a document that shows ownership in a piece of property. Years ago, before documents had to be placed in the public records, losing a property deed was a catastrophe. Today, however, losing a property deed is an inconvenience, but not the major problem that it used to be.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Look online for the property's county appraiser or tax collector website. Locate the interactive searching features of the website and find your property's legal description by entering the address in the appropriate fields. Data entry can sometimes vary, so make your search as wide open as possible. For example, the address N552 County Rd. R could be entered in the database as N 552 Cty Rd R, which means the property address you're searching for wouldn't be returned in the list of results. It may also be possible to search by name as well.

  2. 2

    Search online for the clerk of the court or recorder who services the county the property is located in. Once you locate the site, look to see if the option to search for documents is possible. Begin by locating the "name search" field and enter the names as the search format on the website dictates. This is known as a granter/grantee or name search. As a general rule, the more information you have about the property, the better you will be able to narrow down your search results. When you receive a list of documents found, print it out.

  3. 3

    Locate your property among the list of documents that the search found. Some websites provide more information than others, however you should be able to narrow down your search without looking at a copy of each deed listed on the printout. Searches are printed out in date order, usually the most recent document filed will be listed on top, with documents filed earlier listed below them. If you know about when the deed was recorded in the public records, you can make your search easier by looking through the list of documents filed during that particular time frame.

  4. 4

    Obtain a physical copy of the printout by choosing the image from the website, if it is provided, and print it out. If you need a copy of the property deed for personal reference reasons, this will suffice. If a copy is not acceptable for some reason, contact the clerk of courts or records department and request a certified copy of the deed. Give her the reference numbers, whether it's an official records book and page, or instrument number, to be certain that she certifies the correct document.

Tips and warnings

  • If your county doesn't have online searching capabilities you can go in person to the records department, give them the names on the deed and obtain a copy of the original. Once it's been certified by the clerk as a copy, it is as good as an original.
  • Once you've found the tax sheet for your property, check first to see if there is a list of deeds that were recorded in connection with the property. This can help when you go to the clerk's website to pull a copy of the deed.

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