Many individuals wonder if they can conduct their own asset search on another party. The answer is yes, and it’s entirely possible to perform a do-it-yourself (DIY) asset search. When private investigators carry out an asset search, there’s nothing inherently secretive about the process that a private civilian couldn’t undertake themselves. It primarily requires investing time and effort. In this blog post, we will explore the DIY approach to conducting an asset search, including the locations to search and the associated costs.

Conducting a DIY Asset Search

A typical asset search, whether conducted by a private investigator or a private civilian, can be a time-consuming endeavor, involving approximately 12 to 14 man-hours of labor. The key to a successful asset search is searching across various asset classes, and for those interested in the DIY approach, more information can be found on our website, Here’s how you can go about it:

  1. Real Estate Records: To search for real estate records, you would need to explore the county recorder’s office for deeds, liens, mortgages, and related recordings.
  2. Vehicle Records: For vehicle-related records, such as car titles, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) holds the information you need.
  3. Bank Account Records: Investigate Electronic Network Transfer (ENT) records for open-source data on banking deposits, wire transfers, money transfers, and other relevant banking records.
  4. Corporate Assets: To search for corporate assets, you would typically explore records held by the Secretary of State or similar authorities.

Customize Your Search

The beauty of a DIY asset search is that you have the flexibility to focus on specific asset classes. If, for example, you only wish to search for real estate records and are not concerned with the other asset classes, you can perform a real estate-only asset search, saving time and money in the process.

Associated Costs of a DIY Asset Search

While conducting your own asset search does not typically entail a direct fee, some record sources may charge you for access to their documents. For instance:

  • County Recorder’s Office: Fees may be incurred when obtaining real estate records, such as deeds.
  • DMV: To access vehicle-related documents like car titles, there may be a charge per copy.
  • ENT Records: Banking records from open-source systems may have associated fees, often varying based on the complexity and extent of your search.

In essence, the cost of a DIY asset search may include nominal charges for accessing these documents, adding up to a few hundred dollars.

Time and Labor Investment

Conducting a DIY asset search will also require a significant investment of time. The process involves researching and analyzing the documents you obtain, which can be labor-intensive. On average, you may spend 10 to 14 hours performing research and document analysis.

Consider a Consultation with a Licensed Investigator

If you feel overwhelmed or unsure about conducting your own asset search, consider consulting a licensed investigator. This can be a valuable option to ensure that the process is carried out correctly and thoroughly.


A do-it-yourself asset search is entirely feasible and can be customized to suit your specific needs and preferences. While there may be minimal costs associated with accessing certain documents, it’s primarily a matter of investing time and effort. Keep in mind that a typical DIY asset search involves hard costs of a few hundred dollars and substantial time commitment, but it offers the potential for cost savings compared to hiring a private investigator. For more information on how to conduct a DIY asset search, please visit our website,, and explore your options further.