You don't have to hire a private investigator to find out who owns a piece of property. You don't even have to spend a dime in this search. Fortunately, free property information is available to the public — you just have to know where to look and who to speak with.
Your County's Tax Assessor
If someone owns a piece of property, they should be paying taxes on it. As a result, your county tax assessor will have their information. Before you pay them a visit, you can make your search (and their job) easier by finding the accessor's identification number (AIN) for the property.
To find the AIN, you can use the Nationwide Environmental Title Research's public records. This site will also help you locate the assessor's office. Select the state where the property is located. Then select the county. If the tax assessment office for the county you've selected has an online property search database, a link will be provided next to the information listed for "Assessor." Click on the link for more information.
If you're able to access your assessor's database, type in the property address in the appropriate field. Among the listed information about the property will be the AIN and the address of the assessor's office for that property. You can then bring the AIN to the assessor's office and request information about the current owner. Note: An assessor's office likely won't accept phone requests, so an in-person visit is best.
If you cannot find the property's AIN online, you can still visit your assessor with the property address and any other information you have available. They should be able to point you in the right direction.
Your County Clerk
Your county clerk is responsible for maintaining public records such as property deeds. Just like with your county assessor, you can pay the clerk a visit to request a current property deed, which should have the owner's name listed.
Your Local Library
Your local library may also have a database available for obtaining property information. Before paying them a visit, you can give them a call or search their website to see if this is available to patrons. At the very least, they can suggest where to go to obtain property owner information.
An Online Property Search Tool
While you can use an online property search tool such as Property Shark, you may have to create an account and pay a fee in order to access owner information. As a result, one of the above free, more official methods can be better depending on your needs.