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How to Access Public Property Records

Public records are collations of information that are collected and stored by various authorities, such as local, state, federal and government agencies. In theory, this information is available to the public, hence the title "public records." In reality, however, access to some records is not as simple as you would think.

Moreover, in some cases, accessing public records is not free. In some states, such as California for example, a Public Records Act ensures that no personal information can be obtained without the individual's consent. In the majority of cases, public property records are not among the records that are difficult to get hold of.

In fact, many states have set up online access to property assessment records, which can be accessed by searching for the address, property ID number or, in some cases, the owner's name.

Why Would I Need Public Property Records?

The public records pertaining to property offer a wealth of information about a house, including the sales history, current market value, size of the lot, details of the property, current owner information, current mortgage and county records.

Of course, this information may be invaluable if you are looking for a new home. However, it can come in handy for other purposes, too. For example, if you are undergoing a people search in order to locate a long lost relative or friend.

In each state, there is an office that deals with property assessments. The name of the office varies from place to place, so depending on the state you wish to search in, you may need the assessor, auditor, county clerk, treasurer, or real property taxation office.

Property assessment is used to assess the value of a property for tax purposes. Of course, the value of properties fluctuates due to changing market conditions and alterations to the house and surrounding land, so it is advisable to check the date of the last assessment.

How to Find Property Assessment Records

There are a number of ways to approach searching for public records. When looking for property records, the best place to start is the state's website, which may direct you to a search facility for property assessment records.

However, if this is unsuccessful, there are many online companies that provide a public records search. Some of the online companies specialize in specific types of records, and you might want to select a site that specializes in property records. But companies that offer additional services can also provide the information you're seeking, and also provide additional search categories.

You should be cautious when searching for companies that supply access to public records, because there are some dishonest companies that may attempt to offer you software that provides "unlimited access" to public records.

In reality, this typically proves to be nothing more than information readily available about how to obtain records that are already easily accessible.

When searching for public property records, you should use a reputable company or state run website, as this will ensure that you are getting honest, accurate and up-to-date information.

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