Fairfax County, Virginia surrounds the cities of Arlington and Alexandria, VA, and sits just outside Washington D.C.
The county has roughly 960,000 total commuters, nearly 30% of which travel to one of the three cities mentioned above.
Commuter-friendly markets like Fairfax typically serve as a hotbed for commercial real estate professionals—from investors, to brokers, roofers, and anyone else looking to service property owners.
In many cases, the starting point is to search for assets by the name of the owner.
In this article, we take a look at how to unlock more commercial real estate business through your Fairfax County property search, including when searching by owner, address, sales history, and much more.
Fairfax County Property Search
Fairfax County forms part of the suburban ring of Washington D.C.
Given its proximity to a such major hub, the county has long been a destination for commercial real estate investment, and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.
Especially when considering the arrival of Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood.
Unsurprisingly, Amazon’s HQ2 announcement sparked even more interest in Fairfax County commercial real estate, particularly among investors.
With that, more CRE professionals are digging into the market more than ever before, looking for properties and owners to unlock new business opportunities.
Here, we’ll show you how to get the most of your property search using public records, and how Reonomy’s off-market capabilities can help you expand your Fairfax County search much further.
About Fairfax County Public Property Records
As we’ll highlight below, some Fairfax County property records are easier to track down than others.
For instance, assessed information and individual property card data are relatively easy to find (assuming you know the address or map location.)
Deeds, mortgages, and liens can be much more indicative of an owner’s intentions.
These documents, and more, are filed with the Circuit Court, and can be more difficult find, however.
We elaborate on that below.
Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration
The Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration (DTA) is often the first place commercial real estate professionals will begin their search when looking for property owner information.
The DTA has a specific Real Estate Division that is responsible for the following:
- Ensuring that the valuation of commercial and residential properties is completed in an accurate and uniform manner throughout the county;
- Fairly reviewing and rendering decisions on administrative appeals to real property assessments;
- Ensuring that the administration associated with the assessment of all real estate properties is accurately processed to allow for proper taxation of real estate taxes;
- Fairly reviewing and rendering decisions on applications for exemption of real property taxes.
The Fairfax County DTA’s Real Estate Division provides several online services, including the ability to pay taxes and change your mailing address.
However, the most beneficial tool for CRE professionals interested in conducting a Fairfax County property owner search is the “Lookup Assessments” function on the DTA’s online portal.
The Fairfax County’s Real Estate Assessment Site provides assessed values and physical characteristics for all residential and commercial properties.
Users can search the database by address, tax map reference number, or by doing a map search.
Each property card contains valuable information, such as the property owner’s name, mailing address, the property location, land use code, acreage and zoning description.
The portal also allows users to view residential sales within a property’s assessment neighborhood, which provides valuable comp information for investors looking to buy commercial real estate for sale in Fairfax County.
Finally, the Fairfax County Real Estate Division provides robust resources about tax rates, how to file appeals, and information about exemptions.
For instance, Fairfax County provides certain exemptions for seniors, people with disabilities, disabled veterans, and surviving spouses of military personnel and first responders killed in the line of duty.
Fairfax County also provides an exemption for those investing in certain solar energy equipment.
These exemptions are often of interest to commercial real estate investors as they develop their pro formas when investigating various deal opportunities.
Fairfax County Circuit Court
The Fairfax County Circuit Court has a specific Land Records Division that provides documents related to various property transactions dating all the way back to 1742.
Most people will utilize the Land Records Division for information about recorded deeds, mortgages and other liens on a property.
(For those interested in obtaining original, historic deed books from 1742 through 1942 or Fairfax County real estate tax books from 1951 through 1980 will have to visit the Circuit Court’s Historic Records Center.)
Fairfax County Property Search by Owner
There are actually few online tools available to commercial real estate professionals seeking to conduct a Fairfax County property search by owner.
Despite the valuable information provided by the Fairfax County DTA’s Real Estate Division, this information is only searchable by property address, tax ID number, or map area.
This is in stark contrast to other counties, which often allow users to search deeds, property records, assessments and more by owner name.
That said, here’s how you’d approach finding information about commercial property owners in Fairfax County, VA:
Fairfax County DTA’s Real Estate Division
Most people will want to begin their search using the Fairfax County Real Estate Assessment website. As noted above, there are three ways to search: by address, map number, and by map search.
The easiest way to search is by street address, assuming you have that on hand.
Otherwise, the next easiest way to navigate these public records is by utilizing the map tool, which allows you to hone in on specific geographic areas, even if you are not sure of the exact property address.
Let’s say you know the street address of a particular commercial property for sale in Fairfax County.
Let’s use the example of 14000 Thunderbolt Place, Chantilly, VA – a commercial building in Fairfax County.
After entering the property address, the resulting property card looks as follows:
From this property card, we can tell that the property is owned by the “14000 Thunderbolt LLC.”
The assessor’s record gives us a mailing address for the LLC, but more research is needed to identify the people who actual own and manage the LLC.
At first glance, this does not give us the property owner information we’d want to connect with an individual.
However, the property card tells us other important information. We can see that it’s a commercial building, zoned industrial, and is referred to as the Dulles Business Park.
By clicking on the “Sales” tab to the top left-hand side of the screen, we can access more information about the property’s transaction history. For instance, we see below that the property was last sold in 2018 for $6.7 million.
The “Values” tab provides a history of the property’s assessed value.
We can see that the property has fluctuated in value over time, but is currently assessed for just over $6.6 million.
The “Tax Details” tab gives us a summary of the property taxes owed in the current year.
It looks as though all tax payments are current, and we can see that the taxes are split between “General Fund” taxes and a separate “Special Tax District.”
This indicates that the property is within a special tax district that requires additional payments to be made, above and beyond what would typically be required of a property owner.
The “Map” tool is also useful.
The Fairfax County assessor’s office uses a GIS system that allows users to zoom in and out to see where the property is in relation to others.
We get a sense of the size and scale of the property through this map, as well.
While the Fairfax County DTA’s Real Estate Division is not particularly user friendly when conducting a property owner search by name, it does provide significant information to those able to search by property address.
As you can see, sometimes the property card will provide owner information – other times, the property will be held in an LLC and require commercial real estate professionals to continue their due diligence through other mechanisms.
Fairfax County Circuit Court
In order to access Fairfax County Land Records’ documents online, users must subscribe to the Court’s Public Access Network (CPAN).
Given the cost of the service (starting at $150 per quarter, per user), CPAN is typically only utilized by land professionals like title examiners, real estate attorneys, mortgage companies, and banks.
For the average person looking to search for zoning and land development information, land record documents (deeds, etc.) and other publicly-recorded documents, the best approach is to visit the Circuit Court in person.
It’s certainly not the most convenient system for those looking to conduct a Fairfax County property owner search, especially for those just perusing commercial real estate opportunities at a high level.
However, those who are serious about finding specific Fairfax County property records may find the CPAN subscription worthwhile.
Reonomy Off-Market Search and True Owner Discovery
On the Reonomy Platform, you can do three major things.
You can search all commercial assets in Fairfax County (or any other U.S. county, for that matter) off-market.
On any individual asset, you can access building and lot, sales, debt, tax, business, tenant, and ownership information.
You can see who the true owners are on individual assets, including those hidden behind LLCs, and gain access to their phone number, email, and mailing addresses.
While public records are incredibly helpful, they can be difficult to track down, and need to be pieced together over time.
Reonomy packages many data sources together, however, including county-level public records, and many additional layers of private data.
Then, with a bit of advanced technology, that information can all be presented in one place, all tied to its rightful property and associated owners.
With it, commercial real estate professionals of any kind can prospect for properties and owners, learn in-depth insights on those owners, then reach out directly—in just a few steps.