A grant deed is used to transfer property ownership. For a grant deed to be valid and enforceable, it needs to be recorded at the county recorder's office. This means that every grant deed is a matter of public record that you can look up. While some county recorders make their public document records available online or will look up the information for you if you call them, if you'd like to not only see the document but also have the opportunity to research the property's history, going to their office is usually the best option.
Look up the address and parcel number of the property, if you can get the latter. Frequently, counties will have a "property information search" or "property tax lookup" tool on their website that lets you look up the parcel number for a given piece of land. Since most county records are tied to the parcel rather than the address, having the number handy will save you time before you go to the county office.
Travel to the recorder's office for the county in which the property is located. You may want to check the appropriate website to find out its hours, especially in rural counties where the employees may not work a full business day.
Obtain instructions on how to use the local office's computer system. Sometimes, a member of the staff will show you, and at other times there will be a booklet or brochure to show you the basics on how to use the system. Systems vary from county to county, so it's hard to predict what you'll find.
Enter the property's parcel number into the system and page through the documents that are recorded against it. Grant deeds will be identified as such in the list of recorded documents and you'll be able to view them on the computer screen or print them. Some counties charge for prints, though.
- If all that you want is the current ownership of a property, the property information tool that you use to look up the parcel number will usually also have basic data on the owner, including her name.
- Some counties make summary data available on their website, which might be adequate.
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images