How to find public real estate records online

Often if you are buying or selling a house or other real estate, or even in some other circumstances, you may want to know some additional information about certain pieces of property. Generally, information such as the owner, the tax value, the zoning, and some other information is public information. Here's how to find it online if its available.

Find out what county the property is located in. If you do not know the county that the city or town of interest is in, look up the town in Wikipedia. Wikipedia has a rather comprehensive list of towns and cities, and generally has information about the county that the town or city is located in.
Since counties are generally responsible for maintain real estate records (as opposed to the town/city or the state), you'll need to find it on the county's website. One exception is a state like Connecticut where the counties are merely geographic designations and there is no county government. In the case of Connecticut, the towns each maintain their own real estate records.

Do a Google search to find the county's website. Make sure you find the county in the correct state, since many states have counties of the same name. For example, there is an "Orange County" in California, Florida, Indiana, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont and Virginia.
Browse the county's website to see if there are obvious links to the revenue department, real estate records, the registrar of deed's office, or other offices that have an interest in real estate.
If there are no are no obvious links, you can use Google or another search engine to search within that site. For example, the website of Orange County, NC is Therefore, one could do a search such as the following in Google.
real estate records

Other useful search terms are "taxes", "real estate", "deeds", "registrar", "GIS", and "maps".

  • Not all counties or towns make the information public on their website. Public information laws vary from state to state, so the information may not be readily available.

Copyright 2009 by Michael Nehring