How to Find Out Who Bought a House

A book system is sometimes used in smaller counties.

A book system is sometimes used in smaller counties.

Whether you've got a new neighbor or are just curious, you can find out who bought a home by finding its property records. When someone buys a home, a deed is filed in the property records to change legal ownership. The deed is a paper that shows the old owner, the new owner and other information about the home, including its location. Property records are open to the public, so you can check them to uncover the new owner's name on the deed.

Call the office that handles property taxes for the home. For example, if you know the home is in Johnson City, you'll need to call the city or county tax office for Johnson City. Ask the tax collector who the owner is. Write down the old owner's name if the tax collector doesn't have the new owner listed yet.

Go to the home's county government website if you only have the old owner's name from the tax office. Use the information in the departments section to figure out who has the land records for the home. Land records are usually handled by a county department, such as the clerk or recorder's office. But if you've got a place that isn't part of a county, such as Charlottesville in Virginia, that place might manage its own land records.

Call the county's real estate department if you're not sure where the land records are after checking the website. You'll need the home's address when you call. Ask the clerk where the land records for the home are filed.

Check the official website of the place with the land records. You might be able to use the land records online. Enter the old owner's name and look for recently filed deeds with his name on them. View the deeds to find the buyer of the home. The old owner will be shown as the "grantor" or first party in the top section of the deed. The new owner is the "grantee," the second party below.

Go to the place with the land records if you can't get information online. Bring the old owner's name with you. Ask the clerk how to check recent land records for deeds. Not all counties are created the same, so you'll need to follow the clerk's instructions for the land records system the county use. You might have to enter the old owner's name into a computer program to find the deed, or you may be stuck looking through deed books.


  • You can order a new owner search from the land records department if you don't want to do it yourself, but you'll have to pay a fee.

About the Author

Anna Assad began writing professionally in 1999 and has published several legal articles for various websites. She has an extensive real estate and criminal legal background. She also tutored in English for nearly eight years, attended Buffalo State College for paralegal studies and accounting, and minored in English literature, receiving a Bachelor of Arts.

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