A new way to access property records | CityGeo (2024)

When people search for a new home, the focus is often on the appeal of the kitchen, location of the property, and how much a favorite space will end up costing them.

Within Philadelphia, this adventure in house-hunting happens thousands of times a month. And, with it, the filing and recording of numerous documents in order to legally transfer real estate between owners.

Starting October 26, 2018, the data behind these transactions has been released publicly: The Department of Records (DOR) published data for all documents recorded for the last 18 years, including all real estate transfers in Philadelphia. This data shows the dates and location of property sales, deeds, mortgages, and sheriff deeds, and includes associated data, such as any realty transfer tax paid.

  • The Records Department released a dataset of Real Estate Transfers for the past 18 years, along with metadata.
  • A visualization of the data allows you to see how many transfers happen per month, by zip code, and more.
  • Please note that 918 transactions have been temporarily omitted while we address data integration issues with these records.

Releasing property records data

The US open data census lists deeds data as one of the higher value datasets for governments to release publicly. Transfers data is one factor considered by property assessors to help determine the value of specific properties. Residents, realtors, and developers can use it to understand where sales are happening the most in the city. And companies who offer up details on properties can now get a direct feed to the real estate transfers dataset.

In addition to deeds, this release provides access to other recorded documents related to properties, by each individual transaction, since December 6, 1999 to the present. For example, this can include documents related to the assignment or satisfaction of mortgages.

A group effort

Publishing real estate transfers involved a tremendous collaboration between four City departments and offices. Most notably:

  • DOR and the Office of Property Assessment (OPA) audited 18 years of data to bolster public access to accurate property data.
  • the Office of Innovation and Technology (OIT) CityGeo team worked with DOR to translate data from property documents into formats useable in our City apps and as open data. This involved geocoding over 600,000 addresses, and matching properties to their wards and zip codes. This ensures the data shows up properly in maps and makes it easier for the public to quickly see the number of records in particular areas of interest.

This release also helps City government enhance other services we provide the public – like Atlas and the Property app, the City’s online applications that show detailed property information.

Built by the CityGeo team, Atlas allows residents to get detailed information on any address in Philadelphia. Using Atlas, you can:

  • Get the history of permits, licenses, and inspections
  • Research real estate information like property values, zoning, and document archives
  • Get easy access to a variety of hard-to-find City resources
  • View recent activity around the address, such as crimes, 311 service requests, and more
  • Explore historical imagery and maps

Even with this release of the overall data, to view the actual image of a property’s deed (or other document showing realty ownership), residents will need to:

  • Visit the DOR Property Research Room (City Hall, Room 154) in person to search using a kiosk or have staff in the research room assist you.
  • Subscribe to Philadox, a searchable online database of documents filed with DOR. The documents are viewable as lists, tables and scanned images of the actual documents, dating back to 1974.
  • Subscribe to the Historical Land and Vital Records site to research deeds as far back as 1683 to 1974.

Related data and services

The City has previously released related land and real-estate datasets, including:

The City’s website also provides details on the transfer tax for the sale or transfer of real estate in Philadelphia, as well as outlines various programs to provide homeowners with tax relief.

Keep in touch!

Have your own experience of using open data? Contact oddt@phila.gov to share your story.

There’s lots of ways to get involved. For information about City datasets and others, go to OpenDataPhilly.org. Visit this resources page for video tutorials and links to tools to help analyze data. Follow @PHLInnovation on Twitter to get alerts on future data releases, and join us on the public open data google forum.

A new way to access property records | CityGeo (2024)


How do I see who owns property near me? ›

Property ownership information can be requested from the County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. For more information, please visit their website to Request a Real Estate Record.

Are property tax records public in NJ? ›

This information is pretty simple to find. That's because property tax information is public record in New Jersey.

Are deeds public record in New York? ›

Property records are public. People may use these records to get background information on purchases, mortgages, asset searches and other legal and financial transactions.

How do I find property records in Florida? ›

Most records are searchable and accessible through the internet from the Board of Trustees Land Document System (BTLDS). A mapping component of BTLDS also provides a graphical depiction of parcel locations. These documents are stored in a climate-controlled vault.

How do I find the owner of a specific property? ›

8 Ways to Find Out Who Owns a Property
  1. First, find the address. ...
  2. Check the local tax assessor's office. ...
  3. Contact the county clerk. ...
  4. Use a local title company. ...
  5. Pay for an online service. ...
  6. Reach out to a real estate agent or real estate investor. ...
  7. Talk to a real estate attorney. ...
  8. Walk by and leave a note.
Aug 9, 2022

Who owns the land around me? ›

Check With The County Clerk

The county clerk's office has public records of property, deeds, land records and other useful information when searching for the property owner. Not only will this tell you the owner of a house, but your county recorder may give you insight into the history of the property.

How do I find out if someone owns a property in NJ? ›

Online Query. These searches display in map format, information about individual property parcels in New Jersey. YourMoney.NJ.Gov data includes location and owner information, block and lot information, the annual assessed value of the land and building, the prior year's taxes, and the property classification.

Do you own the property if you pay someone's property taxes in New Jersey? ›

No, you do not become the owner of real property by paying someone else's taxes. What you can do is purchase a "tax sale certificate" from the municipality - in which you pay the taxes and are guaranteed a high interest rate return on your payment if the homeowner becomes current by paying the amount owed.

What is public record in NJ? ›

The Open Public Records Act (OPRA) is a New Jersey law that governs public access to government records maintained by public agencies in New Jersey.

How to look up who owns a property in NY? ›

You can search for property records and property ownership information online, in person, or over the phone with a 311 representative. Property owners of all boroughs except Staten Island can visit ACRIS. To search documents for Staten Island property, visit the Richmond County Clerk's website.

What is a title searcher? ›

Title searchers help ensure no legal problems complicate the sale of a piece of land, a home, or a building. They may also perform basic administrative tasks to help finalize the transaction. Positions are commonly available at real estate agencies, law firms, and insurance companies.

Is divorce public record in NY? ›

Copies of documents, other than the Judgment of Divorce itself, can only be obtained by one of the parties involved or by an attorney who is representing one of the parties. Divorce records are not open to public inspection. You can get more information from the County Clerk's Office.

At what age do you stop paying property taxes in FL? ›

Senior Citizen Exemption – Property tax benefits are available to persons 65 or older in Florida. Seniors may qualify for an extra exemption for an additional $50,000 of home value.

Are marriage records public in Florida? ›

Anyone can obtain marriage records in Florida. Unlike some states, Florida has no restrictions on who may obtain certified copies of a marriage record. You also aren't required to provide a valid government-issued ID.

Does Florida have free public records? ›

Anyone can access public records in Florida. According to Chapter 119 of Florida Statutes, state, county, and municipal records can be inspected by "any person." State laws also describe access as a "mandated duty." To obtain a record, you must contact whoever's been appointed or elected to maintain the records.

How to find out who owns a property in Sacramento County? ›

To obtain secured ownership information contact us by email at assessor@saccounty.gov​, or call (916) 875-0700. ​Phone hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. We will look up the ownership for up to 2 secured parcels per day. You will need to provide the property address or parcel number.

Is USRealtyRecords.com legit? ›

BBB files indicate that this business has a pattern of complaints concerning Billing or Collection, Service, Refund/Exchange, and Customer Service Issues. Specifically, consumers allege being unknowingly signed up for a membership when placing an order and receiving recurring monthly charges.

Does ownerly cost money? ›

Is there a cost to use Ownerly? To access Ownerly, membership begins at $29.99 per month, and introductory offers are available to help you get started. Typically, subscriptions continue until canceled.

How do I find out who owns a property in Orange County, CA? ›

Orange County Public Records
  1. Orange Treasurer / Tax Collector. (714) 834-3411. Go to Data Online. Fix.
  2. Orange Recorder. (714) 834-2500. Go to Data Online. Fix.
  3. Orange Assessor. (714) 834-2727. Website Only. Fix.
  4. Orange Mapping / GIS. (714) 667-8800. Go to Data Online. Fix.
  5. Fix.
  6. Orange NETR Mapping and GIS.


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