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How to find out who owns a property in NJ? 5 methods that work.

Richard Latimer

March 23, 2021
How To Find Out Who Owns A Property In Nj , Sky View

In the information age, we are used to any answer being just one click away. No matter what the issue, we can simply pull out our phones and Google the information.

It used to be the case that interested parties would have to track down books or documents to find out anything of importance. 

Most people have become unaccustomed to this type of legwork when the answer is not immediately Google-able. 

One of these rare situations involves how to find out who owns a property in NJ. Research is often required.

How to find out who owns a property in NJ? Why bother?

Being interested in the ownership of a random property may seem odd at first. However, many situations require you to have (or gain) this knowledge. So, why bother?

  • People may be interested in a seemingly vacant property. This vacancy must be confirmed, as properties can often be neglected and only give the impression of being abandoned. 
  • You are a squatter and want to know more about the property that you are occupying. (more on squatter’s rights here)
  • Some houses are simply not on the market. Either they are for sale “by owner” ( see our article here), or the owner isn’t considering selling his/her property. Regardless of the situation, you need to do some digging. 
  • You are a service provider that wants to convince the owner to hire you. These services can include housework, maintenance, roofing, painting, etc. 

Struggling how to find out who owns a NJ property may require a reevaluation of your methods and your general approach.

Many professionals have given up on attempts to blanket-cover an area with pamphlets or advertisements, focusing on more precise targeting of their desired customer base.

Also, it is not advisable to use a garden-variety tracking site found as a result of a Google search. Many of these pages can infect you with malware, turning the tracker into the person being tracked.

Now that we’ve established the main reasons for wanting to learn how to find out who owns a property in NJ, let’s take a look at the primary source of information:

Public records

As a general rule, professionals avoid seedy sources, especially online tracking websites. You stand to lose personal information and a lot of money trying to undo the damage caused by malware.

However, using the internet should never be ruled out as a powerful tool. There is information that is a matter of public record. Public record searches are safe and reliable. 

County recorders are tasked with providing this essential service. Information is registered and safeguarded, making sure that anyone has access to it. 

Public record data can include info on property purchases, marriages, deaths, divorces, or births. Most major life events are counted and registered. 

As a business owner, this river of information offers untold opportunities if you know how to use it. 

While most research methods employ public record information, some are more straightforward than others.  Government sources can be a little abstract and byzantine. 

1. Tax information 

If you want to know how to find out who owns a property in NJ, it is best to consult the County Tax Assessor Office. 

It is illegal to own property and not pay taxes (with a few exceptions).

There is most likely a paper trail of taxes paid by the owner of the property that has piqued your interest. 

Thankfully, the County Tax Assessor Office can be found via the internet. Simply type your county name into the search engine bar, followed by the term “ county assessor.”

Sometimes, you may even be lucky enough to include “homeowner” in the search and find the exact link. If not, you will have to navigate the website until you find the dedicated property owners section. Either way, the source is highly reliable. 

There may be situations where you may also want to locate a specific address. For that, you will need some sort of ID number.

This can get confusing, as the United States of America has over 3100 countries. Many counties choose a different name for this ID number, such as an Accessor’s Identification Number, or a “Section, Township, Range, Area, and Parcel number.”

There isn’t a legal requirement for the standardization of systems, websites, or services. While some counties have up-to-date websites that are SEO friendly and mobile-ready, other have pages that have not received updates in years.

If you want to learn how to find out who owns a property in NJ despite these hurdles, access the Public Records Online Directory website. There, you can find the property ID or accessor number and search for the owner based on that number. 

2. Consult the County Clerk 

How to find out who owns a property in NJ? The NETROnline website can prove to be very useful once again. It can connect you to other relevant websites based on your county and state. If you are interested in the owner’s contact information alone, the property ID number will suffice. 

However, other information may be just as important. The county Recorder or Clerk’s office keeps track of any documents tied to a specific property or its owners. 

It may not seem relevant at first glance, but info regarding divorce, marriage, death, birth, and even birthdays can be used to hone a more respectful and mindful pitch. 

You can also find property-specific information such as mortgages, notices of sale, bills of sale, trust deeds, mechanics liens, tax liens, easements, etc.  Like personal information, these data pieces will help you construct a customized offer for the owner.

It should be noted that this process is not entirely free of charge. Looking up a property owner doesn’t cost a penny, but some other documents will not come for free. 

The cost is not standardized, and it will fluctuate depending on the county in question. 

Another downside may not apply, especially to you, given that we are discussing how to find out who owns a property in NJ. Some people run nation-wide operations across multiple states and various counties. 

Paying for valuable documents in multiple counties may eat away at your budget. 

While detailed research may be off the table, a simple property owner search will suffice in most cases. 

Cost or no, the process will most likely be incredibly time-consuming. The websites are outdated, and the layout is very counter-intuitive. The database itself is very acurate and extensive, yet the method of navigation is not. 

As a final note, take into consideration that some sources will let you purchase single documents, while others only sell in bundles or sets.

3. Contact a Local Title Company

Information is the currency of the 21st century. Those who learn to wield and obtain it will see their business prosper. 

If you want to learn how to find out who owns a property in NJ, be sure to contact your local title rep.

This representative can provide you with a focused real estate marketing list. The basic search field criteria list includes transaction histories, address, neighbor listings, property features, characteristics, and information on nearby schools. 

Depending on the local community in question, the lists can include info on demographics as well. 

You need to know that a list pulled from public domain records will not trigger any penalization under the RESPA code. However, these generalized lists can be limited in their usefulness. 

Even if they contain most of the relevant information, the data is disorganized and unfiltered.

Custom lists are considerably more helpful, but they are potentially more expensive. It is hard to quantify the considerable value that a specialized marketing list can bring. The information included can be more sorted and more extensive than what can be found in standard County Recorder lists.

From the title company’s perspective, it can be tedious to be asked for marketing lists regularly. This is especially true if the resulting search effort does not turn into a lucrative title business opportunity.

Technology promises to alter the landscape. Mobile and desktop applications contracted by title companies will let clients do their own research. 

A vast database can be navigated by specifying search criteria such as order documents, home characteristics, tax info, and transaction history.

You will most likely need to be a client to gain access to this feature, making the platform ideal for professionals in the real estate field or investors looking for opportunities.

Certain situations are extremely time-sensitive and require constant updates, such as ongoing foreclosures.  Foreclosure investors will undoubtedly appreciate these applications. 

(for more information on NJ foreclosure laws, click here)

4. Mailing list service providers

Mailing lists can be constructed, offering you a chance to contact property owners. If you want to learn how to find out who owns a property in NJ or simply want to conduct an extensive marketing campaign, list brokers can be of service. 

Their methods have become more accurate and effective. A list broker will attempt to understand what you are looking for and construct a personalized mailing list.

Yet, a question needs to be asked: Why should you bother to pay for the services of a mailing list company when public registry information is already available for free?

The main difference is presented by the mailing list broker’s ability to obtain and include email addresses and even phone numbers. Be it a one-shot effort or a sustained marketing campaign; these lists will prove to be very valuable. 

How to find out who owns a property in NJ? Simply pay for a specialized and customized listing that includes the address, along with the owner’s number and email contact details. 

These are the benefits of working with mailing list service providers, but what are the drawbacks?

  • First, we have an inconsistent data stream. The information is gathered from multiple sources, so it can be challenging to maintain a constant accuracy and quality standard. As long as the data is obtained legally, these service providers will use it to compile their lists. 
  • There is the risk of wasting your money. Such valuable information is not cheap. Many real estate professionals dislike the idea of paying top dollar for a list that is months or even years out of date. Also, some companies may offer the lists for a limited amount of time. They can ask you to pay a renewal fee once a year has passed.

In essence, out of all the options mentioned above, working with mailing list service providers involves the most risk. Impressions vary wildly, and you can hear about staggering success or horror stories caused by lists that haven’t been updated since 2018.

Contacting a list broker and paying for a customized listing is a gamble. The odds are not bad, but you should be aware of the risk involved.

5. Specialized information software

This final option is for people who are not shy of investing money to generate immediate and accurate results. Large companies or agencies usually select advanced property data and owner info software. Every bit of relevant information is gathered and organized in a vast, impressive database. 

The pros love this software, as most users are real estate investors, Realtors, mortgage investors, etc. The database updates instantly, removing the risk of paying for outdated info. 

The search capabilities are expansive, and you can select even the most minute details to filter your search results. Other advantages include email lists that update themselves, GPS-information with pings and notes, and an overall automated and quality experience. 

Still, there are drawbacks to this high-tech solution. As with any advanced technology, you need to be somewhat tech-savvy to use it. In addition, these innovations are not cheap. A base fee is involved, with extra charges for extra features.

Conclusion

For those who wish to learn how to find who owns a property in NJ, there is one conclusion to be drawn:

People who wish to cut costs can easily use information that is available in the public registry. It is useful, if not detailed, but you will have to do a lot of digital legwork. 

Government systems, servers, and websites are notoriously fickle and outdated. Still, for many people, the trouble of gathering this information is justified because the info itself is free of charge.

We have services such as mailing list brokers, mailing list companies, and specialized information software for those who wish to pay for convenience. 

Auto-updates represent the most worthwhile premium feature by far. It is disastrous to make decisions based on information that is not longer true or relevant. 

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