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Texas Property Records

What are Texas Property Records?

Texas property records are documents generated when residents buy and sell real estate within the state. Generally, these documents include property deeds, tax records, mortgage reports, plats, and index maps. Following a real estate transaction, the persons involved typically proceed to file a copy of the records with designated record custodians in the county where the property is located.

Per the Texas Public Information Act, any member of the public may request to inspect and obtain copies of property records filed with a record custodian. These record custodians range from the county recorder to the tax assessor’s office, depending on the type of property record sought. It is possible to obtain free public Texas property records, but most record custodians charge nominal fees for copying and certifying property records. In any way, all requesters must provide the necessary details to facilitate a search through record archives.

Are Texas Property Records Public?

Yes. Texas government agencies maintain property records at the county level and provide access to interested public requesters according to the Texas Public Information Act. Unless sealed by a court order or statute, property records in Texas are in the public domain and available upon request. Interested persons must visit the local county recorder or tax assessor-collector’s office during business hours to request copies of property records. Alternatively, a requester can also access property records online by checking the designated record custodian’s office.

Property records are available for public viewing through government agencies or third-party aggregate websites. Accessing property records through third-party sites is typically straightforward, and the records are not geographically limited. However, because the sites are not government-affiliated and run independently, the information contained in the records may vary. Searching parties should include the following information to obtain complete property records:

  • The property’s exact location.
  • The property owner’s details.

What Information is Included in Texas Property Records?

Texas property records contain varying documents based on the type of property record. For one, property deeds contain information about property exchange transactions between a grantor and a grantee. Although there are different types of deeds, the basic information in the document remains the same. Persons who obtain property deeds can expect to see the names of the persons involved in the real estate transaction and the legal description of the property.

General Warranty Deeds

A Texas general warranty deed is a document that ensures the grantee of the grantor’s right to transfer title to the property. A grantee with a general warranty deed has the grantor’s legal promise to compensate them for any encumbrances or failure in the title back to the original title grant. These deeds are most commonly used to transfer private, residential property.

Special Warranty Deeds

Special warranty deeds are typically used to facilitate commercial property transactions. A special warranty deed promises the grantee that the grantor has the right to transfer title to the property. It also promises that there were no encumbrances while the current grantor held the title. However, it does not protect the grantee from any legal claims that may have occurred before the current grantor obtained the title.

Quitclaim Deeds

A quitclaim deed assures the grantee that the grantor has the legal power to transfer the title to a property. However, it does not assure the grantee that the property is free from any legal encumbrances. Quitclaim deeds are mostly used when selling foreclosed properties, and buyers must be aware that legal problems could arise in the future.

Texas mortgage records, on the other hand, contain all financial details relating to a mortgaged property. For example, such records detail the property’s selling price, the buyer’s contribution, and the mortgage lender’s sum. It also includes the interest rate on the borrowed amount and repayment details over a period.

Meanwhile, index maps contain properties’ mapping records, drawn to scale. These include survey maps, parcel maps, assessment maps, subdivision maps, and right-of-way maps. Index maps are important as they give accurate information about a property’s location, dimensions, and attachments.

Finally, a lien document shows that a creditor has an interest in a property due to debts owed by the property owner or grantor. If a property has any liens, the property owner must pay them off before selling the property. If the property owner sells the property, they must - by law - pay off the amount owed to the lienholder.

Where to Search Public Property Records in Texas

Texas property records are available at the tax assessor’s office or the county recorder’s office in the county where the property is located. Generally, property records are straightforward to obtain. Individuals who face difficulties obtaining property records from official record custodians may consider using third-party search services to obtain property records online.

How to Do a Texas Property Records Search

Texas residents can find Texas property records by querying their official county repositories. However, researchers must have the following information to perform a Texas property records search:

  • The property’s exact location and
  • The property owner’s details

Individuals searching for Texas property will typically find them in their county recorder’s office — sometimes, these documents are at the county clerk’s office. For instance, Montgomery County residents can obtain Montgomery County Texas property deeds from the County Clerk’s office. Interested persons can search for property records on the county clerk’s online services page. If the desired records exist, researchers can request copies by completing this request form and mailing it to the following address:

Montgomery County Clerk
P.O. Box 959
Conroe, TX 77305

Requesters must send all requests in a self-addressed, stamped envelope, along with payment for the service fees. Plain copies cost $1 per page, but interested persons may include $5 to have copies certified. Requesters must make payment via cheques, cashier’s cheque, or money orders payable to Montgomery County Clerk. The County Clerk’s office responds to requests in approximately three working days.

How to Find the Owner of a Texas Property Using Public Records

Interested persons can find the owner of a Texas property provided they have the property’s details, including its street address and the county where it is located.

With the above information, the researcher may first look through the property deeds. For instance, Montgomery County residents can find Montgomery County Texas property deeds at the County Clerk’s office. The county clerk provides an online services page that the public can search through to find property deeds.

Researchers that can not obtain the information they seek on the county clerk’s online page may look to their county tax assessor-collector’s office. For instance, the Montgomery County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office provides a searchable online database where the public can search for information on any property for which it collects taxes.

If the above options do not yield positive results, a person trying to find out who owns a Texas property can consider searching their county court records for property-related matters. If any existing court records mention the desired property, the same records will usually include the owner’s information.

What are Property Records Used for in Texas?

For one, Texas residents can use property records to authenticate proprietorship, as property deeds establish the true owner of a property. Having access to property deeds can be beneficial when multiple parties cannot agree about a particular property’s true owner.

Furthermore, interested persons can use Texas property records to determine a property’s market value. Property documents such as mortgage records provide historical data about a property’s sale price. Anyone looking to purchase or sell a property can use the prices in its mortgage records as a benchmark to establish its current market value.

Moreso, Texas residents can use property records to settle boundary-related conflicts. When multiple property owners share land, boundary conflicts are bound to ensue. Individuals that face such challenges can resolve them by requesting survey maps to confirm their respective property boundaries.

Finally, Texas residents can use Texas property records to gather information about a property before making a property commitment. Potential buyers can find lots of information about a property, including its present condition, changes previous owners made, unpaid liens, and unresolved encumbrances.

How to Find Texas Property Tax Records

In Texas, every county’s tax assessor-collector’s office collects a property tax from homeowners. Each property pays taxes that are commensurate with its market value.

Individuals interested in obtaining Texas property records may contact their county tax assessor-collector’s office. Many county tax assessor-collector’s offices also provide searchable online databases where the public can search for information on any property for which it collects taxes.

What to Do When You Can’t Find Texas Property Records

The default option for anyone searching for Texas property records is to query their county court, county recorder, or tax assessor-collector. In some cases, however, researchers may not be able to find particular property records with the aforementioned bodies.

In such circumstances, researchers may seek third-party alternatives. For instance, interested parties may procure a property lawyer’s services to find the required documents. They may also look to a third-party public records company to search for property records.