What are Michigan Property Records?
Michigan property records provide information about real estate ownership, mortgages, and other financial arrangements related to land and real property within state limits. In Michigan, these records are maintained by the County Clerk or Register of Deeds Office in the county where the property is situated. Local assessors also manage selected Michigan property information and, at the state level, the Michigan State Department of Treasury. Michigan property records contain information such as the legal description of the property, mailing address and parcel number, owner name, assessment value, taxes due, and liens (if applicable).
According to the provisions of the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, property records may be accessed by interested and eligible members of the public from their respective custodians. These records' custodians are typically the county clerks or registers of deeds for each county in Michigan. These custodians must maintain all documents submitted for filing, recordation, or registration according to law.
Property records are especially significant because they can provide a wealth of information about a property's ownership and financial standing. Ultimately, they can help owners, lenders, government agencies, and other interested parties gain insight into the legal status of a property.
Are Michigan Property Records Public?
Yes. The Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) grants citizens access to public government records under state law. As such, all Michigan property records are open for public inspection unless specifically exempt from disclosure under the FOIA law. This includes both real estate and personal property records.
Along with official government resources, Michigan 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 details to obtain complete property records:
- The property's exact location.
- The property owner's details.
What Information is Included in Michigan Property Records?
The information included in Michigan property records can vary based on the type of record being accessed. Generally, most records include legal descriptions, ownership histories, current owners' names, and addresses, taxes owed, deeds of trust, mortgages, liens, zoning restrictions, and other related documents. The following typical Michigan property records and the information that they contain:
- Deeds: A deed is a written document that conveys legal title or an interest in land from one party to another. It includes the grantor (person giving the property) and the grantee (person receiving the property). The deed should also have a detailed description of the property being transferred.
- Mortgages: This document serves as evidence that a borrower has agreed to borrow money from a lender and gives the lender certain rights over the property if repayment terms are not met.
- Foreclosure Notices: This document is recorded when a mortgage lender has the right to foreclose on a property. It serves as public notice that a foreclosure action has been started and provides details about the dispute between the lender and the homeowner.
- Liens: A lien is a legal against property for failure to pay debts or obligations the owner owes. The lienholder may be able to collect money from the sale of the property to satisfy outstanding liabilities.
- Tax Records: Tax records provide information about taxes due, payments made, and delinquent taxes. They also include assessments of real estate value for tax purposes, changes in ownership, transfer rates, and other related matters.
Where to Search Michigan Public Property Records?
Michigan state residents may search public property record information through government-run repositories or by querying property record custodians. At the county level, inquirers may search these records through the County Clerk, Local Treasurer or County Register of Deeds office. For instance, interested persons may search Wayne county property records through the Wayne County Register of Deeds office. Alternatively, searches can be conducted through the Wayne County Treasurers' Office.
How to Do a Property Records Search in Michigan?
The first step to performing a property record search in Michigan is to locate the county or township where the property is located. Once this has been determined, contact the local clerk's office to inquire about public access to records. Some counties may provide online access to their records, while others may require that requests for information be made in person or by mail. In either case, the inquirer will be required to provide the necessary information to facilitate the record search, including the property address, municipality ID, and parcel ID (if applicable).
Like most counties in Michigan, Oakland county operates a Property Records Search portal maintained by the Oakland County Register of Deeds. Queries regarding Oakland county property records may be made via mail to the office, or inquirers may conduct their property record searches using the portal. Email queries may be addressed to:
1200 N Telegraph Rd
Pontiac, MI 48341
How to Find the Owner of a Michigan Property Using Public Records?
Using Michigan public records, it is possible to find the current legal owner of a Michigan property. Inquirers may begin by querying the office of the Register of Deeds in the county where the property is located for information pertaining to the property. Some counties may provide an owner-lookup tool on their website, which can be used to find the owner's name and address quickly. However, requesters may be required to provide the following information to facilitate the property record search:
- The property address
- Document number / Instrument Number / Book # and Page #
- Assessor Parcel Number (if applicable)
What are Michigan Property Records Used For?
Michigan property records are largely used by individuals and businesses for various purposes. These include:
- Background checks
- Title searches
- Research on past ownership
- Determining current taxes owed on a property
- Certifying ownership information for legal documents such as deeds or mortgages
- Researching zoning restrictions
- Locating unclaimed properties.
How to Find Michigan Property Tax Records?
Property tax records in Michigan are typically maintained at the county level by the Tax Assessors Office in the judicial district. The simplest way to access these records is by visiting the office or searching their official website for any public-facing databases. Some counties also provide an online tax lookup tool which can be used to search for any taxes owed on a particular property quickly.
Where to Find Michigan Unclaimed Property Records
The state's Department of Treasury maintains unclaimed property records in Michigan. Interested parties can search for unclaimed real estate and personal property using their website's search engine. However, some ownership information may not be available depending on the type of record being accessed. In such cases, contact the county clerk's office where the property is located for further assistance.
The Michigan Department of Treasury also provides additional resources and guidance in searching for unclaimed properties within the state. They can assist with determining the most current owner of the property or provide additional information regarding any restrictions on transferring ownership.
What to Do When You Cannot Find Property Records in Michigan?
In cases when a Michigan property record cannot be found in the public records, it is essential to contact the local county clerk's office to inquire about any restrictions or special requirements that may limit access to certain documents. If all else fails, inquirers may consider hiring a private investigator specializing in researching public records and tracing ownership history.