How to Find Out Who Owned the Land Before You

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    • 1). Visit your local newspaper's web site and enter the address you are inquiring about into the search field. A list of real estate transactions may come up if the sale took place in the past several months. If not, contact the paper and inquire if it regularly reports real estate transactions. Find out if the paper offers archive service, either through its web site or by an in-house library staff.

    • 2). Visit the local county clerk's office. Provide them with information about your property, including street address, which town or city it is located in, when you purchased it and who sold it to you. They will give you a parcel ID number that can be used to research the title history. There may be public computer terminals in the office that can provide real estate transaction records going back a few years.

    • 3). Research the title history using the abstract books in the clerk's office. Each listing should indicate when the property was purchased and in turn provide information to continue your search further back to other previous owners. According to TitleSearch.com, an online abstract company, there could be dozens of documents on an individual property that has changed hands several times, and those documents are probably stored in different books based on the day, month and year that the ownership transfers happened.

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