Real estate documents by law are public records. A deed that is signed over from one person to another, a mortgage that finances a property, and a lien against a property, are all public records.
Real estate transactions are public records in most states, but there are exceptions. In some states, only personal information like names and addresses are public records while other information like the purchase price is confidential. You may need to research your state’s laws to find out what is considered private or public information. In addition, many counties or cities have specific laws regarding whether real estate transactions are considered public records or private business matters that aren’t open for the public’s viewing. Here’s what you need to know about accessing real estate transactions:
County Recorder of Deeds
Check with the county recorder’s office to find real estate transaction documents. The county recorder will have deeds available online, in person, or both. Some county recorders will charge a fee for this information, while others will provide it for free.
You can find out whether the deed is online by searching for it on the county’s website or calling their office directly. If you are unable to find your deed online and want to come into their office, make sure you bring along some form of identification such as a driver’s license or passport so they can verify that you are who you say you are before giving out any information about yourself or anyone else related to the transaction that is being looked up through public records.
County Property Assessor
Check with the county property assessor to find out current and historical tax information on the property. The county property assessor can tell you how much is owed in taxes and who is paying the taxes. The county property assessor does not hold deeds as the county recorder does.
Real estate documents like deeds can be very long, and boring to read documents. However, it’s important to perform document forensics and carefully read through the document to make sure no important information is left out. Deeds can give you a lot of very valuable information that could easily be missed by carelessly skimming the document.
HUD-1 Settlement Statement
The HUD-1 settlement statement may not be available through the county, but there are many ways you can obtain a HUD-1 settlement statement. There are many people involved who will have a copy including the buyer, the seller, the title company, the escrow company, the seller’s real estate agent, the buyer’s real estate agent, the insurance company, the utility company, and any other parties involved.
A HUD-1 settlement statement is a form that is used for all real estate transactions. The HUD-1 settlement statement allows everyone involved in a transaction to see how much money changes hands between buyers and sellers during each real estate transaction.
The HUD-1 settlement statement shows what happens during each transaction and allows people who were not present at closing to see exactly how much money was exchanged between buyers and sellers during a real estate transaction.
Permit records are available at the county zoning office. Pulling the permits that were issued can be helpful to get an idea of the layout of the home, names of contractors or companies hired as well as any additions or work that has been done. This information can help you determine how much money was spent improving or remodeling the home and give you an idea of the subject’s overall wealth status.
When it comes to public record information, real estate is one area where individuals are often willing to disclose a great deal of personal information. Finding someone’s real estate records is not difficult, but digging through the documents and evaluating the data they contain can be time-consuming. How much information you might find in real estate records would depend on how much the individual or company has purchased over a given period of time. If you want to learn more about a business or individual’s financial position, don’t overlook real estate, including the real property itself, land leases, and related mortgages.
Active Intel Investigations can help you analyze real estate documents. Get started with an Asset Search today!