Property Records Online

Searching Properties

University of Florida Professor Cory Armstrong shares tips for searching property records online.

InSpectigate Property

Property searches can be for anything a person or organization owns. If someone pays taxes for something, it's considered property, and there is usually a public record of it. Whether you're looking up Bill Gates to see how big his house is, or investigating a college athlete to see if he or she is living in a house owned by a sports agency, the records are out there.

Land and housing searches provide some of the more readily available information online, so we'll look at those types of records to get used to mining the Internet for property information. When you get comfortable searching for basic records, it becomes easier to dig around online for hard-to-find gold or dirt.

Here are some tips to help you search the Internet for property records.

Search your own records first!

This helps you get familiar with the searching process, and you'll know if you're searching correctly because you probably have an idea of what you own, but maybe you'll get lucky and find out you own an extra house or two!

1.Visit the search engine of your choice and look for the county property appraiser website for the property you're searching.

You'll need to know the county of the property you're searching to help you find the county property appraiser's website. If you're not sure which county the property is in, visit our InSpectigate People page to get help finding the county, and then come back to this page and continue your search.

2. Locate the county property appraisers website search function and enter the owner's name or property address and begin you're search.

The search function should be somewhat easy to find on the appraisers website, and it will typically allow you to search by owner's name, property address or even more specifically the county plat book's docket number.

If you searched by property address:

This search should provide detailed information on the property including the owner, the dimensions of the property, what it is being used for, when it was purchased, what taxes have been payed on the property and who has payed them.

If you searched by property owner:

This search will provide a list of every property the person owns in the county. You might be surprised to find out just how much or how little people own. The search will show what they paid, who they paid it to and many other pieces of information.

Other Information:

If there is a home on the property, there will be details listed about the home e.g., square footage, pool, hot tub, patio, green house, 1-story or 2-story house, etc.

You can also see if the property or area has increased or decreased in value over the years, and with the detailed information on the property you might be able to guess why. A pool might increase the value of a home but increase the homeowners insurance as well.

3. Go to the clerk of the court website for the county the property is in and search the owners name.

Any information the court has on the property and owner should be listed on the website. Each time an adjustment is made to the property, improvement or otherwise, the owner must apply to the county for a permit, and the courts usually make those records available online.

4. Continue searching until you have the information you are looking for!

Research is typically an ongoing project that can last as long or end as quickly as you'd like it to, but the good stuff can be buried pretty deep, so keep digging and you might just find gold!

If you're having trouble with you're search, or if you know of a website or other tip to improve InSpectigate, e-mail it to me.