Fairfax County surrounds the cities of Arlington and Alexandria in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and sits just outside Washington D.C.
Due to this strategic geographical location, the county is home to more than 975,000 total commuters, nearly 30% of which travel to one of the three cities mentioned above.
Such commuter-friendly markets often become a hotbed for commercial real estate professionals including investors, brokers, roofers, and anyone else looking to do business with property owners.
In this article, we will discuss how anyone can unlock more commercial real estate business using Fairfax County property search by owner, address, sales history, and much more.
Fairfax County Property Search
Unsurprisingly, the arrival of Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood sparked even more interest in the Fairfax County commercial real estate market, particularly among investors.
Today, CRE professionals are digging into the market more than ever before, looking for properties and owners to unlock new business opportunities.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular public records platforms in Fairfax County that can be used to locate property ownership information. We’ll also review Reonomy’s off-market capabilities that can help you take your property search to the next level.
About Fairfax County Public Property Records
Before we begin, it is worth noting that 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 of the property.
Deeds, mortgages, and liens, which can be much more indicative of an owner’s intentions towards their property, are filed with the Circuit Court, and can be more difficult to locate.
We’ll elaborate on the search process for each below.
Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration
The Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration (DTA) is often the first resource commercial real estate professionals turn to when looking for property owner information.
The DTA has a specific Real Estate Division that is responsible for the accurate valuation of commercial and residential properties and tax assessment throughout the county.
The DTA’s online portal provides several services, including the ability to pay taxes and change your mailing address.
The most beneficial tool for CRE professionals searching for Fairfax County property owner data however is the “Lookup Assessments” function.
The Real Estate Assessment site provides appraised values and physical characteristics for all residential and commercial properties in the county.
Users can search the database by address, tax map reference number, or by using the map to locate the property of their interest.
Each property card contains valuable information, including the 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 are vital comp data for investors looking to buy real estate in Fairfax County.
Additional resources offered by the Real Estate Division include appeal filing instructions, and information about tax rates and exemptions.
Fairfax County provides certain exemptions to seniors, people with disabilities, disabled veterans, and other qualified individuals. It also provides an exemption for certain solar energy equipment.
These exemptions are often of interest to real estate investors who develop their pro formas while investigating potential opportunities.
Fairfax County Circuit Court
The Fairfax County Circuit Court has a specific Land Records Division that maintains various property transaction documents dating all the way back to 1742. People typically use the Land Records Division to obtain information about recorded deeds, mortgages, and other liens on a property.
Individuals 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
Despite the depth of the information available through the DTA’s Real Estate Division, its database is only searchable by property address, tax ID number, or map area.
This is in stark contrast to other counties’ portals, which often allow users to search deeds, property records, assessments, and more by owner name.
With that said, here’s one way to approach the property owner search process in Fairfax County:
Fairfax County DTA’s Real Estate Division
One of the best places to begin your property search is the Fairfax County Real Estate Assessment website. As noted above, you can look up records in this database by address, map number, and by map search.
The easiest way to search is obviously by street address, assuming you have this information on hand.
Another way to navigate the platform 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.
After entering the street address, you will see a property card like this:
The name of the property owner is listed as 14000 Thunderbolt LLC. The record also lists a mailing address for the LLC, but more research is needed to identify the actual individuals who own and manage the LLC.
At first glance, this search did not provide us with the property owner information we’d want in order to connect with an individual.
The property card however features other important information. You can see that this is a commercial building, zoned industrial, and it is known as Dulles Business Park.
Furthermore, if you click on the “Sales” tab near the top left-hand side of the screen, you will access additional information about the property’s transaction history.
In our example, you can see that the property was last sold in 2018 for $6.7 million.
The “Values” tab provides a history of the property’s assessed value.
You can see that the value of the property owned by 14000 Thunderbolt LLC has fluctuated over time, and that the 2019 assessment is just over $6.6 million.
The “Tax Details” tab features a summary of the property taxes owed for the current year.
Here, you can also see that the taxes are split between “General Fund” and “Special Tax District.” This indicates that the property is located within a special area that requires additional payments to be made.
Another useful feature is the “Map” tool, which can help you get a sense of the size and boundaries of the property.
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.
As you have seen, the Fairfax County DTA’s Real Estate Division web portal is not particularly useful if you would like to run a search by property owner name, however it can provide invaluable information to those able to search by property address.
Sometimes the property card will provide information on an actual individual owner. Other times, as in our example, the property is held by an LLC and commercial real estate professionals looking to connect with a true owner need to continue their due diligence through other resources.
Fairfax County Circuit Court
In order to access the Fairfax County Land Records’ database 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 utilized by land professionals like title examiners, real estate attorneys, mortgage companies, and banks.
The average person looking for zoning and land development information, land records (deeds, etc.) and other publicly-recorded documents, should visit the Circuit Court in person.
It’s certainly not the most convenient system to conduct a property owner search, especially for those just perusing commercial real estate opportunities at a high level.
However, if you are serious about locating specific Fairfax County property records, you may find the CPAN subscription worthwhile.
Reonomy Off-Market Search and True Owner Discovery
The Reonomy platform can help you accomplish three major tasks.
You can search all commercial assets in Fairfax County (or any other U.S. county, for that matter) including off-market properties.
You can access building and lot, sales, debt, tax, business, tenant, and ownership details for any commercial property in the U.S.
You can see the true owners of any commercial asset, including those hidden behind LLCs, and gain access to their phone number, email, and mailing addresses.
While public records can be incredibly helpful, they are also difficult to track down and the information you can obtain from them often times has to be pieced together.
In contrast, Reonomy packages many data sources together, including county-level public records and multiple layers of private data, and presents all that information in one place.
With the power of Reonomy, commercial real estate professionals of any kind can scout for properties and owners, gather valuable insights, then reach out to prospects directly—in just a few quick and easy steps.