How to Find Out Who Owns a Specific House

Real estate ownership records are open to the public.

Real estate ownership records are open to the public.

You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to find out who owns a house. Each county has an office, usually called the register of deeds, which keeps public records for real estate ownership. You can always research property records in person, so the surefire way to get ownership information is to pop by the register of deeds. Some counties clip you for small research or copying fees, so bring along your wallet.

Drop by the register of deeds for the county where the house is located. Give the clerk the address of the house and ask her to look up the current deed for the property. Ask for the deed, not the taxpayer record, since some folks have their real estate taxes paid by someone else. Check the grantee on the deed to determine who owns the house.

Fill out a seach or copy request form if the clerk requires it. Ask her to make a copy of the deed if you would like one for your records.

Pay the clerk any county charges for looking up or copying the deed. Get a paid receipt from the clerk and be on your merry way.


  • Some counties offer online property record searches that can save you a personal trip to the office. Most counties won't search records for you over the phone. Some may do searches if they receive a written request by mail.

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About the Author

Maggie Lourdes is a full-time attorney in southeast Michigan. She teaches law at Cleary University in Ann Arbor and online for National University in San Diego. Her writing has been featured in "Realtor Magazine," the N.Y. State Bar's "Health Law Journal," "Oakland County Legal News," "Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Journal," "Eye Spy Magazine" and "Surplus Today" magazine.

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