When you find a plot of land, you might want to find out who owns it for a variety of reasons. Let’s find out how to determine the owner of a plot of land.
Finding the owner of a plot of land is often a matter of either knocking on a neighbors door and asking, or using a variety of government resources to learn the info. A local city office should have records of who currently owns land, and will be able to give at least a name or a company.
We’ll discuss the methods of finding out who owns a plot of land. We’ll also relay some info about what information you might expect to find during your search.
- One of the most reliable methods of learning who owns a piece of land is to ask the local city clerk. You may not even need the address to get ownership info.
- Other methods include asking a realtor or doing a property tax search
- Sending a letter to the address listed on the land is an old school but effective way to attempt to communicate
- Ask neighbors in the area about who owns the land and you might get a story instead of just contact information.
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Check your city’s website
Most cities have websites that allow you to search property tax information for any address within the city limits. The searches are usually found by looking up the name of your city oline with “property tax search”. You’ll often be able to search by address or parcel number. The site could provide the name of the owner, though you won’t receive any contact information about the owner - except the address of course.
In many cases, finding the address for a plot of land might be difficult because it is either not readily visible or just isn’t posted.
Government records are often available for land within the city office. A city clerk can look up info based on a given location. You might have to tell them information like a cross street or nearby addresses to find it.
A city clerk or official within the city might be able to do one better than the city’s website: You’ll often be able to find a separate mailing address (in the event that a lot of land doesn’t have a mailbox, it probably has a PO Box) and potentially a phone number.
Not every way of finding information about land is electronics. Does the vacant lot of land have neighbors or anyone on the same street? Try to knock on a door and ask someone nearby if they can provide any info about who might own the place.
This might feel a little weird, and some people might not be willing to answer your question, but this is a very easy way to find very local knowledge.
If you feel weird about knocking on someone’s door, you could put them at least by telling them you aren’t a debt collector but are more interested in learning who lives there because you like their land. People tend to frown about door-to-door debt collectors, so giving them some more information about why you are there and asking might break the ice a bit.
Ask a Real Estate Agent
Especially if you are interested in a property, you can definitely ask a real estate agent. The real estate agent doesn’t necessarily have access to more tools than you, but amongst the many hats they wear is the ability to find who owns a plot of land. They will probably use property tax searches as mentioned previously.
If you do choose to employ a realtor to buy a plot of land, this will be a good step in choosing one. You’ll probably find out pretty quickly if you get along or not.
Ask a Title Company
This one will cost you a few bucks, and we don’t necessarily know if it provides any advantages besides having someone extra motivated to get the job done. Title companies are specialists at looking up legal information for houses and record keeping.
Having a title company seek the owner of a plot of land can come with a price of $200 or more, but if you don’t run out of options and have the resources - and real need, to find the owner, this is one way to go.
Send a letter
Coming up short, still? Or want to do a non technical way of asking? Try to write a letter to the address provided requesting contact. The Post Office will try to forward the letter to another address or at least attempt to get it to the right person. This might sound obvious, but be sure to put return contact information and specify what is it you are looking for, otherwise it might be off-putting and hard to get back to you.
What information can I find about a property?
Using an address, you should be able to find at least the owner's name and mailing address, which is often another habitable place used for forwarding, like a PO Box or another residence.
If you ask around further in the neighborhood, someone might have a lot more info based on personal history and talking to the owner. You could find the person or business phone number too.
In some cases, you’ll quickly learn that the land is owned by a bank or community organization. You’ll get the name of the bank and a particular address within the bank for correspondence about land or assets. These will be a bit harder to get a hold of but they definitely aren’t impossible.
Regardless of what is available, you should be able to look up further contact information online. A name and address could lead to a phone number or some level of contact with the owner if just knowing their name isn’t enough.
Why would I want to know who owns a plot of land?
This is a good question and can be the result of curiosity or real information seeking. If you happen to see a plot of land that you would be interested in owning, it might be worth your while to find ownership info for the purpose of contacting them and seeing if they want to sell it. Asking about a land sale was more common before the Internet, simply because information about land sales didn’t reach the rest of the world quite as quickly as they do now.
Some people might just want to put a name or contact place behind a plot of land. Seen what seems like a vacant lot for years - and it is in bad shape? In this case, the city usually handles issues related to how a property looks, but a private citizen could reach out and inform the owner that something has happened on the land that needs the owner’s attention.
About THE AUTHOR
Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.Read More About Brittany Melling