our everyday life

How to Check to Whom a House Belongs

by Alexander Harris, studioD

Finding out who the owner of a house is a fast process in most localities, especially those that have property records online. In some places, you might have to take a trip to the local courthouse to find out who owns a house. Either way, the identity of a property owner is a matter of public record and is readily available if you know where to look.

Visit the government website of the locale where the house is located and search for the property assessment office. It may also be called the real estate assessor's office or another similar name. Most localities will allow you to search property records by address. The record for the property will include the assessed value of the property as well as the name of the owner.

Search deed records to confirm the information from the property assessment office is correct. The best place to search for deed records varies from locality to locality, but most of the time you will have to visit the particular office in person. Deeds are legal instruments, so the court should have a copy of the deed on file. Visit the clerk's office to obtain the record. Many local governments also maintain deed records with the office of the comptroller or the office of the recorder. You may not be able to search by address, but in most cases you can search by name or parcel number. The name and parcel number should be included in the property information you obtained from the assessor's office.

Dig deeper if you have to. In some cases, a house might be owned by a limited liability corporation, a limited partnership or some other business entity. Finding the individual or group of people behind an anonymous business name requires a bit more work. Start by visiting the corporation commission website for the state where the house is located. Search the business name to find its record. The record will include the name of the registered agent for the business, which could be a member of the business or a lawyer representing the business. Contact the registered agent directly to try to find out more.


  • If you have any trouble locating a particular record, ask a staff member at the clerk's office. Remember that you are a citizen seeking access to public information and it is the staff's obligation to help you find it.

About the Author

Currently living in Austin, Texas, Alexander Harris is a business journalist covering the self storage industry for SpareFoot.com and SelfStorage.com. Harris previously wrote daily news for RichmondBizSense.com, a business journal in his hometown of Richmond, Va. His work has appeared in various other publications including "Philadelphia Citypaper," Stateline.org, "RVA Magazine" and the "Virginian-Pilot." Harris holds a mass communications degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images