United Tax Liens Blog

Tax Lien Investment Tools to Get You Started

Tax Lien Investment Tools to Get You Started

Though many small or rural countries do not have websites, counties make property information available online. This makes research much more manageable. It is possible to skim through physical records and find what you are looking for, but we find using county web tools much more straightforward.

Here are a few main points about county property records.

The county assessor's records contain information the assessor uses to find the value of every. This information can help investors determine the value of properties they are interested in buying.

Counties are not required to put the property record information online but make it available to the public. Over the past 10 – 15 years, counties have increasingly become more tech-savvy. Many counties have websites where they post the assessor information, and you can view the records online. If a county website is not available, the investor can go to the county building to view the records or call the county official in charge of property records for information.

Using county officials is an excellent tool for tax lien investors that often goes untapped. Make sure to use them when you have specific questions about their records or county information. The county office is our team's hotline support. When we have a question, we call the county official.

How Does Recording of Real Estate Records Work?

Just as in any transaction, keeping an official paper trail and record of any sale or change in ownership is an integral part of verifying a given property or purchase history. Recording – the act of putting a document into official county records – is a necessary process that provides a traceable chain of title to a property. More than 100 types of documents can be recorded, depending on the type of property and type of real estate transaction. The most common forms are mortgages, deeds, easements, foreclosures, estoppels, leases, licenses, and fees, among other documents.

The most important real estate documents list ownership, encumbrances, and lien priority. These are used to maintain proper real estate transactions.

Real Estate Recording Systems

In reality, recording systems vary by state and are established by individual state statutes. Not all states use a process of instrument recording to track title; some states use land registration systems instead. In any case, it is the local county's responsibility or state to make sure that these official documents are kept on file.

Recorded documents do not establish who owns a property–this is instead of a title that demonstrates the asset's legal owner. Instead, recorded documents are made public to resolve disputes between parties with competing claims to a property. For instance, if two different claimants have conflicting deeds to a property, the date of recording can be used to determine the ownership timeline. In most cases, these public records provide clarity, and typically the owner with the most recent deed would be considered the rightful owner. If there are any issues, it would be wise to seek legal counsel.

In the case of mortgage liens, courts use a recording date to determine the priority for which liens should receive payment first.

To understand which documents have been or must be recorded, check with your state and county recording division. Some states have also passed recording acts, which are statutes that establish how official records are kept.

Ultimately, recordings provide information for both government authorities and the buyers and sellers of real estate property.

What Is a Recording Fee?

The term recording fee refers to an expense charged by a government agency for registering or recording the purchase or sale of a piece of real estate. The transaction is recorded, so it becomes a matter of public record. Recording fees are generally charged by the county where the transaction occurs since it maintains records of all property purchases and sales. The amount of the recording fee varies from county to county.

Understanding Recording Fees

The purchase and sale of real estate come with closing costs. These are expenses that buyers or sellers pay to complete the transaction. In some cases, both parties may agree to split the costs. Closing costs include appraisal fees, loan origination fees, title searches and insurance, surveys, taxes, and recording fees.

Counties record mortgages and other liens against a home or other piece of property as well as its title. These government agencies generally charge a fee to do so. This is known as the recording fee. Counties charge a recording fee to make the information easily accessible to the general public by covering the costs of the clerk or recording agency's services that must maintain complete and accurate copies of official documents. These documents may be used for legal and transactional purposes, such as when title searches are conducted as part of a sale.

In many instances, the buyer pays the new mortgage and deed recording fees to be entered into a legal record. The amount depends on the type and complexity of the real estate transaction. The recording fee may cost $12 in one county, while another county charges buyers $15. Costs may also vary depending on the size of the document. For instance, a land record instrument may have a $60 fee for the first page, then $5 for every subsequent page. Another agency may charge $84 for the first page and then $1 for every other page after that. The fees may also change over time as the agency and county deem necessary.

Documents that generally incur recording fees include affidavits, leases, mortgages, corner certificates, uniform commercial code filings, changes of title, deeds, registration of trade names, boundary surveys, powers of attorney (POAs), bills of sale, and other contracts. Depending on the jurisdiction and guidelines, transactions such as bank mergers may need to be documented with recording fees.

County Record Tools

Parcel Search: This is the top tool used by investors. They contain all real estate records that investors use to evaluate potential investments.

Owner information: Legal owners on the deed.

Legal Description: Description the assessor uses to describe the parcel. Unless you are a real estate guru, the legal description is rather difficult to read.

Parcel number: Similar to a fingerprint for each property.

Site Address: Physical location of parcel. Once you have the physical address you can do much more research, drive by etc.

Tax Information: View past years assessed value.

Assessed Value: What the county says the property is worth. The assessed value and the market value may be different.

Improvement Info: Sq. ft. bedroom, bath, year built, lot size etc.

Tax records are also available to investors. Having access to that information can allow you to review all past tax owners, payments, assessed values, and amounts owed. Many counties provide an essential feature on their website is a map, which shows the actual property and its boundaries. This is included with the information returned from the parcel search in most cases, but the mapping software is sometimes a different feature.


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About The Author


United Tax Liens is a group of experienced, active investors providing everyday people with access to one of the best Real Estate Investment vehicles available today.

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