Is there a free property ownership search engine out there?
September 12, 2005 2:02 PM   Subscribe

I heard there is a free real estate property _ownership_ search on the internet (you type in address and it'll cough up the owner), but it is next to impossible to google it with all the commercial listings, will anybody help me?
posted by orelius to Computers & Internet (16 answers total)
 
This is probably available through a government entity, probably a county-level office. For example, if you're looking for something in your neck of the woods, you might look here.

[later] Hmm, I was able to look up a property, but it did not show the owner's information. Where I live now, they do show that info. It's a matter of public record, so it must be available one way or another.
posted by adamrice at 2:12 PM on September 12, 2005


There is one here on the Washington Post website, and I have seen others. Don't know if that one is specific to the DC area or not.
posted by drobot at 2:42 PM on September 12, 2005


In my city it is easily found through the city’s property (land) appraisal office, which is also where my city assesses my home’s value for it’s yearly taxes. Dallas’ is online for both commercial and home. ymmv
posted by thomcatspike at 2:49 PM on September 12, 2005


Our city also has this kind of thing. It's called Forsyth County Geo-Data Explorer. You can get the property owner, tax payment history, taxable value, property value, and most times, a simple outline of the house itself and property boundaries. This is a relatively new thing for our county, though, and before that, you had to go downtown or use HyperTerminal to access their old-school system (which, in case you were wondering, was awesome).
posted by odinsdream at 4:01 PM on September 12, 2005


Search for your local County Assessor's office. They have or can point you to what you're looking for.
posted by striker at 5:13 PM on September 12, 2005


I highly doubt that real time property *ownership*, or land parcel information would be available for free over the internet (or anywhere, for that matter). In fact, I can almost say with certainty that no North American jurisdiction has made their registry system fully available online. What you may be able to find is postal information, or some sort of municipal information that ties a name to an address, but I would would warn you against necessarily thinking that the name you see in fact "owns" the property. Many jurisdictions cobble together information (even from other layers of government), but I wouldn't trust it. If you're looking for the registered owner of a piece of property, visit your local land registration authority, not even the assessment office. If that's what you're looking for, that is.
posted by loquax at 6:22 PM on September 12, 2005


Here you go loquax.

For example, try 520 Buckingham. You'll see the current owner, sales history, current tax value, a diagram of the home, square footage, land value, tax payment history, ...mumbles off incoherently...
posted by odinsdream at 6:38 PM on September 12, 2005


odinsdream: Amazing. Thanks for showing me. Do you work for/with these folks? If so, can I drop you an email with a few questions? It is, I should point out, stale data (about 15 days old), but it does look like the county is providing all that data for free. Up here, you have have to pay thousands of dollars a year for unlimited access to that kind of information, and about $20 per individual parcel register search.
posted by loquax at 7:04 PM on September 12, 2005


I don't work for them. A friend of mine is does appraisals for a living and uses their service. He previously went downtown to their office and pulled the paper records, then moved to using HyperTerminal for their BBS-style system until about five years ago, when they launched this website. It's got a lot of bugs and problems, but overall it's great.
posted by odinsdream at 7:13 PM on September 12, 2005


A friend of mine is does ...
posted by odinsdream at 7:14 PM on September 12, 2005


Tax records are online, at least here. No problem to see who owns/pays taxes on a particular property. Google your local county government and then follow the links.
posted by konolia at 7:17 PM on September 12, 2005


Thanks for all the responses, but it's not possible in Chicago (or Cook county) - where I need it most. Click here to see for yourself, although it is a nice feat to put a digital photo of the property online, there is no information about owner.
posted by orelius at 7:31 PM on September 12, 2005


How about this (search for "5400 W" and you'll find it). I found the list by Googling the address, but it can also be found on this page (it's the "Late May" one). Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a search utility on that page, but obviously Google has indexed them, so there's that.
posted by cerebus19 at 8:09 AM on September 13, 2005


Try NetROnline


posted by KRS at 10:49 AM on September 13, 2005


The link didn't take:

href="http://www.netronline.com/">
posted by KRS at 10:50 AM on September 13, 2005


KRS, thanks. That's what I was looking for.
posted by orelius at 2:31 PM on September 13, 2005


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