Who really purchased this house?
December 21, 2012 11:30 AM   Subscribe

How do I find out if a house has been "flipped" ?

If a person purchased a house privately and then flipped it and put it up for sale and made a profit (obviously), is there a way to find out who the first person who bought the house is? This would be in Ontario... Toronto to be exact.

I won't go into boring details but I strongly believe that my sister talked our elderly mother into giving her the house (selling it privately) so she (my sister) could then turn around, flip it, and make a nice profit that the rest of us would know nothing about.
posted by out_of_order to Law & Government (18 answers total)
I think you want a historical title search done on this property.
posted by jph at 11:35 AM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

If the deed was transferred, you can go to the court to see if it was recorded. You can search the address in the MLS in your area to see if it's listed.

If your mother is still alive, and this is what she wanted to do, what do you think this will accomplish?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:36 AM on December 21, 2012

Do you want to know whether or not your sister currently owns the house, rather than your mother? You can ask any real estate agent to check out that out. Public records will show who the current owner is and when they took it over.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 11:36 AM on December 21, 2012

I don't really know what you mean by "selling [a house] privately." If the house changes hands then the sale usually has to be registered. I am not Canadian, but a cursory google search implies that title and deed records are registered with the Land Registry of Ontario.
posted by muddgirl at 11:38 AM on December 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

For $1 (for printing) at City Hall you can find out the current owner.
posted by saucysault at 11:39 AM on December 21, 2012

In my part of the U.S. at least, you can search property ownership via your county auditor's website. No idea if that is the same in Canada though.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 11:42 AM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I want to find out if there was an owner in between my mother owning it and the current owner (who is not my sister). I suspect she bought it in between, if that makes sense.

As to what this will accomplish... I just want to know the truth. In the end, there's nothing I can do about it but to put my mind at ease, I'd like to know.
posted by out_of_order at 11:42 AM on December 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Title search.

However, a title search is only considered notice of title. An intra-family transfer may or may not have been registered.

But still -- you need a title search as even a first step. Ontario now has electronic registration with protected access, so you would need a professional for this. Lawyer, conveyancer, maybe certain paralegals.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:50 AM on December 21, 2012

Is the sale recent? I have been able to google up an amazing amount of stuff on recently sold houses (like the previous owner's name) by starting with the address in google. Do you have the realtor's name? You can ask who the seller was (not sure if they would release that due to the Privacy Act), I have also gotten the seller's name on the "comparables feature sheet" i have asked for on a specific street.
posted by saucysault at 11:54 AM on December 21, 2012

Thank you everybody. You've all been very helpful.
posted by out_of_order at 11:54 AM on December 21, 2012

Yes, the sale is recent. I haven't been able to find anything (other than the listing) via Google.
posted by out_of_order at 11:56 AM on December 21, 2012

when buying/selling houses, my real estate agent has always had on hand all kinds of information on who owned each house and how much it was bought and sold for. Do you have an agent buddy who would be able to look stuff up fo you? that might help.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:05 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would be really surprised if this information required a professional beyond the helpful bureaucrats who work at your local branch of the Land Registry. Perhaps this is the closest office:

Toronto No. 64 & 66
20 Dundas Street West, Suite 420
Toronto ON M5G 2C2
Tel: (416) 314-4430
Fax: (416)314-4435

Apparantly there may be a fee. It looks like it will be somewhere around $5-10.
posted by muddgirl at 12:15 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

The government agency in Ontario is the Land Registry Office. To do a title history search, you need to access the POLARIS database, which, unfortunately isn't free on line. It's managed through a public-private partnership run by Terraview. If you know a real estate agent, they almost certainly have a subscription and can do this for you (Yay outsourcing). You may be able to access terranet for a one-time fee, but I've never done it that way, and can't speak from experience.

Otherwise, a member of the public can search by going to one of the LRO offices---click here to find one near you.
posted by bonehead at 12:48 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Often refered to as the "chain of title".
posted by humboldt32 at 12:50 PM on December 21, 2012

I want to find out if there was an owner in between my mother owning it and the current owner (who is not my sister). I suspect she bought it in between, if that makes sense.

A title search will show you who the registered owners have been. If your sister bought it from someone other than your mother, that will show. If someone owned it between your mother and sister and listed it on MLS, then any real estate agent can see the listing. If you know any real estate agents, that would be a quick way of dispelling any concern, though if nothing shows, then you'll still need a title search to confirm your suspicions.
posted by Dasein at 2:41 PM on December 21, 2012

I'm not sure if this is an option in Canada, but here in the USA I was able to see the sale history of my house on the Zillow webpage for it. It had clearly been flipped, it was interesting to see how little the 'flipper' was able to purchase it for.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:43 PM on December 21, 2012

This discussion is old - sorry. Haven't been here since Dec 2012 (what with all the family drama!!).

The issue has been resolved and you'll never guess how. I went to my mother's (old) neighbour and casually asked if the people now living in what used to be my mother's house are owners or renters. They are renters. Which means the house was flipped because I/we (the family, except my sister) was/were told these people are the new owners.

Digging a little more, I found out "the little flipper" purchased it for $85,000 less than what it's worth (what she flipped it for).
posted by out_of_order at 8:06 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older Mail Merge using Google Docs?   |   So, what is alt.chi? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.