There are many professional types that seek the business of building owners—from sales and mortgage brokers, to investors, cleaning companies, solar installers, and many other building service providers.

For all of these groups and more, knowing how to find out who owns a building is a pivotal step in winning new business.

The options to find this information have always varied from market to market.

The main option is typically to access local public records through the county recorder or tax assessor.

Those that are looking for more detailed, holistic information on building owners, however, can turn to Reonomy as a more evolved source of truth—for any number of markets and properties.

How to Find Out Who Owns a Building

Here, we’ll discuss the use of public records resources and what your best free options typically are, with some examples.

After that, we’ll touch on how Reonomy can help you find building owners in any market, of any building type and size, while giving you access to the contact information of those owners.

Your 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)

Public records have been the traditional go-to source for locating property owner information used by all types of businesses and professionals.

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

By combining different local office resources, you can piece together different information on a property and its owner.

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

In most cases, those looking for ownership details will turn to the tax assessor’s office and/or the county clerk, which exist in every county nationwide (together or separately).

Since there is no centralized overseeing authority, however, each county can decide how to present this information to the public.

Sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s bad.

Many have already digitized their records, and offer robust web-based search tools that can be accessed by anyone from anywhere.

ACRIS often serves as the cleanest version of digitized public commercial property records.

Digitized records have created a wealth of new business opportunities for individuals and organizations that are looking to diversify their portfolio or add to their book of business in different markets across the US.

So then, how does the tax assessor fit into the equation?

The tax assessor’s office is responsible for the valuation of commercial properties within certain geographical parameters.

In recording that information, they’ll often include the name of the owner or LLC that is attached to the property.

If your local tax assessor’s office allows you to search records online, typically, you’ll be able to search by an owner’s name, address, or parcel ID.

Below, for example, you can see a search on the Salt Lake County assessor website for an owner name of “Smith.”

Salt Lake County Building Owner Search

In counties like this, as long as you have a property address, parcel ID, or an owner’s last name, you should be able to find what you’re looking for pretty easily.

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 assessments can provide the name of the owner, on a grand scale, the county clerk’s office is usually a more reliable resource for ownership information—by way of transaction deeds.

From county to county, the “County Clerk” may be synonymous with the “County Recorder,” “County Registrar,” or the “County Register of Deeds.”

This is the branch where commercial property deeds are recorded, stored, and made publicly available to anyone interested.

Again, this varies from county to county. In some markets, there may even be an overlap between the county recorder and the assessor.

Take Marin County 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 made available for search online.

When they are, however, you can often search them with a bit more flexibility, because you can search for more specific characteristics like transaction date or deed type.

Not only can you search for properties, but you can also search business records and other paperwork that might come in handy when trying to understand the ownership behind a property.

  • If you are unsure whether the building 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

You can usually start your search for a building owner in your preferred search engine.

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

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

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.

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

San Francisco Building Owner Assessor Search

As you can see from the screenshots of the two sample property search tools we discovered, their interfaces can vary quite a lot.

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

The Dallas Central Appraisal District

Dallas Building Owner Appraisal District Search

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 information will include 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 interfaces will display several years of historical property value data as well as the names of any previous owners.

LLC Masking

It is worth mentioning that while public records are a great place to start in your search for a property owner’s name and contact, they are not always enough to locate 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 tax assessment 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 way to do this is 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 find out 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.

To make a long story short, despite being completely free, there’s quite a bit that goes into finding an owning-entity and its members through public records.

That’s precisely why someone may opt to use a platform like Reonomy, where the legwork of discovering this information is already taken care of.

Option 3: Reonomy

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

With Reonomy, you can find out who owns a building in a number of different ways.

You can identify buildings in any market by:

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

What does that mean?

Well, not only does that provide you with some customizability in your search, it also allows you to identify brand new prospect building owners completely from scratch.

Building Owner Search by Address

If you do have a specific building in mind, finding the owner is as simple as entering the address of the property or finding it on the map.

In the platform, to search an owner by address, type 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, you’ll be taken to the research page for that individual property.

There, you’ll find many tabs, one of which is titled, “Ownership.” In that tab you’ll be able to see the reported owner on the property.

Reonomy Platform Reported Owner

By clicking “Unlock TrueOwner,” you’ll be able to see the individuals behind the LLC, along with their contact information—a level of drilling-in that’s not readily available with public records.

Reonomy True Owner Unlock Building Owner

This can all take place in a matter of seconds, always online, for any location, from any location.

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

You can search any market for office buildings, medical buildings, hotels, motels, retail buildings, industrial buildings, shopping centers, apartment buildings, and much more.

Furthermore, you can search by building size and age and number of units, to find properties in your preferred range.

Reonomy data uses public records, though enhances those records with a combination of private data sources across the country.

The final product is something that was built to combat the time-consuming nature of tracking down the right public records.

Now, more time than ever can be spent reaching to property owners and winning new business.

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

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