There are many professionals who seek the business of building owners—sales and mortgage brokers, investors, cleaning companies, HVAC service providers, solar panel installers, just to name a few.

A pivotal step to winning new business among this customer base however, is knowing how to find out who owns the buildings on your prospects list.

While the options to uncover property ownership information have always varied from market to market, the most popular method relied upon by professionals for years, has been to look up public records through the local county recorder or tax assessor.

Individuals looking for more detailed, holistic information on building owners however, can now turn to Reonomy – an evolved source of commercial property data for any U.S. market and commercial property type.

How to Find Out Who Owns a Building

In this article, we’ll first discuss the use of free public records resources and look at some examples. In most cases, interested parties will turn to the local tax assessor’s office and/or the county clerk, which exist in every county nationwide (together or separately).

Real estate investors, brokers, contractors, and other servicing companies rely on public sources to identify new business prospects and opportunities all the time.

In the latter part of the article, we’ll review how the Reonomy platform can help you find building owners in any market, of any building type and size, while also giving you access to their contact information.

The 3 most popular options for finding out who owns a building:

  • Option 1: The Tax Assessor / Appraisal District
  • Option 2: The County Clerk / County Recorder
  • Option 3: Reonomy

Option 1: The Tax Assessor / Appraisal District

  • Price: Free
  • Availability: All markets
  • Access: Online web portal or in-person (depending on the county)

As we mentioned earlier, public records have been the traditional go-to source for locating real estate owner information used by all types of businesses and professionals.

While property ownership records are, in fact, publicly available, locating the exact information you need can be a time-consuming process that requires solid research skills.

Sometimes you may even have to utilize multiple local office resources in order to piece together the information you need on a property and its owner.

One great place to start your research efforts is the local tax assessor’s office, which is responsible for the valuation and taxation of commercial properties within certain geographical parameters.

In tracking that information, these appraisal authorities often include the name of the individual or LLC that is the owner on record, as well as other insightful details about the property.

If your local tax assessor offers online access to its public records database, typically, you’ll be able to do a search by an owner’s name, address, or parcel ID.

If you have one of those pieces of information as a starting point, you should be able to find what you’re looking for pretty easily.

In the example below, you can see the results from running a search on the Salt Lake County assessor website for property owners with the last name “Smith.”

Salt Lake County Building Owner Search

Option 2: The County Clerk / County Recorder

  • Price: Free
  • Availability: All markets
  • Access: Online web portal or in-person (depending on the county)

While property assessment authorities can provide the name of the owner and some other basic details, on a grand scale, the county clerk’s office is usually a more reliable resource for ownership information—by way of transaction deeds.

Depending on the location, the county clerk may be known as the “County Recorder,” “County Registrar,” or the “County Register of Deeds.”

Regardless of the exact name, these administrative offices are responsible for recording, storing, and providing public access to commercial property deeds within the county’s geographical boundaries.

It is worth mentioning that in some markets there may be an overlap between the county recorder and the assessor.

Take Marin County in California for example:

Marin County County Clerk

In any case, as we mentioned with the tax assessor, county clerk public records may or may not be available for search online. If they are however, their platforms tend to offer more search options, namely the ability to look up properties by transaction date, document type, and other deed-specific parameters.

Additionally, you may be able to also search business records and other documentation that might come in handy when trying to understand the ownership behind a property.

  • If you are unsure whether real estate owner records in the city of your interest are available online, you can find out quickly by doing a web search for “property ownership records” along with the city or county name where the property is located.

Public Records Search Examples

Locating the public records platform for your market of choice is the first step in starting a new building owner search.

For example, searching for “San Francisco property ownership records” returned the CCSF Office of Assessor-Recorder platform as the top result.

The City and County of San Francisco Office of the Assessor-Recorder

San Francisco Building Owner Assessor Search

We also googled “Dallas County building owner records” and easily found the Dallas Central Appraisal District search portal.

The Dallas Central Appraisal District

Dallas Building Owner Appraisal District Search

Additionally, directories such as NETR Online (Nationwide Environmental Title Research) feature links to the official tax assessment or public records web portals for nearly every county in the United States.

As you can see from the screenshots of the two sample property search platforms we discovered, their interfaces can be quite different.

Nevertheless, most tools offer similar search options and allow you to query their databases by address, parcel number, owner name, or by locating the property or area of your interest on a map.

The property ownership details you will be able to see once you conduct a search will also vary from one county to another.

Typically, the available information includes the name of the owner, a description of the property and any structures, an assessed property value, and estimated taxes.

In addition to the current details, most platforms provide access to several years of historical property value data as well as the names of any previous owners.

LLC Masking

While public records can be a great place to begin your search for a property owner’s name and contact, they are not always sufficient for locating this information.

Often times real estate owners and investors choose to develop or purchase a property under a limited liability company, or LLC, rather than as an individual.

This practice is referred to in the industry as LLC masking.

Using an LLC allows the owner to protect their personal assets as well as any other real estate holdings from liability arising from the original property.

If you look up a property using the county’s public records and discover that the building owner is listed as an LLC, then you will have to do some additional research to find its members.

One option would be to visit the secretary of state’s website where the LLC was established, and search the business entity and corporations database.

The LLC’s original Articles of Organization should list the names of the organizing members.

Keep in mind that it is not unusual to discover that the members of the LLC you are trying to investigate are other LLCs. In those cases, you will have to repeat the search process for the member LLCs, and hopefully you will be able to uncover the name of the true individual owner.

The bottom line is that while accessing public records is free, the legwork required to track down owners through them can be time-consuming, complicated, and even frustrating at times.

That’s precisely why many industry professionals turn to platforms like Reonomy instead, where all the property and ownership data you may need is already aggregated and organized for easy access and use.

Option 3: Reonomy

  • Price: Varies by plan
  • Availability: All markets
  • Access: Online platform

Reonomy allows you to find out who owns a building in a number of different ways. You can identify properties in any market by:

  • Asset type and size
  • Sales history
  • Debt history
  • Commercial tenants
  • Tax history
  • Ownership

What does that mean for your research efforts?

Not only does the platform provide you with unprecedented level of search customizability, but as a result, it empowers you to identify brand new prospects you may have not even considered previously.

Building Owner Search by Address

If you already have a specific property in mind, finding the owner is as simple as looking up the address or finding it on the map.

To search for an owner by address, simply type in the address into the search bar at the top of the page:

Reonomy Property Owner Search by Address

Once you click the correct address in the dropdown of suggestions, you’ll be taken to the profile page for that property.

Here, you’ll see a number of information tabs, including one titled “Ownership.” Under this tab you’ll be able to see the recorded owner of the property.

Reonomy Platform Reported Owner

If you click on the “Unlock TrueOwner” button, you’ll also be able to see the names of the individuals behind the owning LLC, along with their contact information—a level of instantaneous access to critical information that is simply not possible with public records.

Reonomy True Owner Unlock Building Owner

This simple research takes only a few seconds, can always be conducted online, in one platform for any market, and from any location – whether you’re at the office, the airport, or the beach.

Reonomy includes information on all property types except single-family homes—in other words, a great deal of building owners nationwide.

You can search any market for office buildings, medical facilities, hotels, motels, retail stores, industrial warehouses, shopping centers, apartment complexes, and many other asset types.

Furthermore, you can use filters such as building size, age, and number of units to find properties in your preferred range.

While Reonomy also utilizes public records, it supplements its datasets with numerous additional private data sources from across the country. The final product is a powerful platform that virtually eliminates the complexity of tracking down property ownership details.

Now instead of digging for information, you can spend more time than ever reaching to property owners and winning new business.

Discover owners. Access contact information. Win new business. Free Trial

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