What are Arizona Property Records?
Arizona property records are public documents that provide information about a property's ownership history, appraisal values, and other related details. Potential buyers or sellers can use these records to understand a property's value before making a purchase or sale. They can also help identify boundary disputes, encumbrances on the title, liens, and other issues that may need to be addressed before transferring ownership. Property record documents typically feature information regarding zoning regulations, deed restrictions, building permits, and additional related information.
In Arizona, property records are typically maintained by the County Assessor's Office or the County Recorders in the jurisdiction where the property is situated. Arizona's Public Records Law ensures that all records stored by county governments are available to the public with few exceptions.
To obtain a copy of Arizona property records, individuals must complete a request form and present it to the County Assessor's Office with valid identification. The information this form provides will determine which documents can be accessed and what fees may apply. However, the various custodians in different judicial districts have additional requirements for searching and viewing records. Some counties may require an individual to visit the assessor's office in person, while others offer online access to property records.
Are Arizona Property Records Public?
Yes, Arizona Property Records are made public as per the Freedom of Information Act. The Act equips anyone with the right to request access to records about official government functions and citizenry. Property records fall in this category of permissible information that citizens can obtain and are, thus, made public.
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 Arizona Property Records?
Property records in Arizona contain details about the initial value, size, sales history, ownership, and current market price of a property. These records often include detailed descriptions of the land, including acreage and measurements, any improvements made on the land such as buildings and utilities, tax information, mortgage details, and liens. Additionally, they may contain images of the property and aerial photographs of the surrounding area. Summarily, the kind of information contained in an Arizona property record depends on the type of record in question. Property records, including deeds, mortgages, liens, surveys, and assignment agreements, are available to the public.
- Deeds are documents that transfer title from one party to another and typically list the seller, buyer, legal description of the property, and other details such as the type of deed used. Deeds also include any restrictions on the use or occupancy of the property, such as easements or covenants.
- Mortgages are documents that establish rights between a lender and borrower to secure money to purchase real estate. Typically, these documents outline how much money was borrowed, when payments are due, and what happens if payments are missed. Mortgages can be recorded as a public record and usually show the original mortgage, refinancings, and any subsequent loan assignments.
- Liens are documents that typically encumber a piece of property until a debt or obligation is satisfied. These records provide evidence of the amount owed, the names of both parties involved, and any deadlines for payment.
- Surveys outline the boundaries of a parcel of land and any improvements made to it, such as fences or buildings. A survey will also include existing easements and rights-of-way that may affect how a piece of property can be used.
- Assignment Agreements are documents that transfer interests in real estate from one party to another. These agreements are typically used when a lender assigns its right to collect payments on a loan to another entity. Assignment Agreements will list the original parties involved, along with the names of any subsequent assignees and sometimes even the amount of money being transferred as part of the assignment.
Where to Search Arizona Property Records?
Persons seeking Arizona property records can obtain them physically or virtually. Getting the documents physically involves visiting either the county recorder's office or the tax assessor's office (depending on the needed information) to request them.
To obtain Arizona property records virtually, inquirers may submit a request to the State of Arizona Department of Real Estate on the website. Otherwise, the requesting party may send a written request to the following address:
Arizona Department Of Real Estate
100 N 15th Ave #201
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Alternatively, requesters may query the county assessor in the county where the property is situated. For instance, to conduct a Maricopa county records search, inquirers may request the record from the Maricopa county assessor or conduct an Arizona property records search by name using the assessor's online database. Requests may also be made via mail to:
Maricopa County Assessor
301 W Jefferson Street
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Phone: (602) 506-3406
How to Do a Property Records Search in Arizona
To conduct a property record search in Arizona, inquirers must furnish information about the property to the record custodian. The information needed to facilitate record searches includes:
- The address (APN)
- Parcel Number
- Owner's name.
Acquiring all the mentioned details is optional since just the address might be sufficient in some counties.
This research is independent of whether the request to access the records was made physically or virtually. It is possible to make an online request, while the records can only be obtained physically.
How to Find the Owner of an Arizona Property Using Public Records
Getting information about a property owner is quite similar to doing a property record search in Arizona. The most reliable way to find the owner of an Arizona property is by using the Public Records of the tax assessor. This is because property owners are mandated to cover taxes on their properties.
Property Deeds are legal documents that contain details about the transfer of a property, which can also be utilized. The deeds are recorded in the county's land records where the transaction takes place and are of different types. The types of property deeds in Arizona include:
- General Warranty Deed: This is also referred to as a warranty deed and provides the grantee (new owner) full access to the property. The grantor (old owner) confirms the total transfer of ownership once this deed is signed and recorded in the county's land records.
When a general warranty deed is used during a property transfer, any future risk involved will be solely borne by the grantee, including those that arise from the activities of the grantor.
- Special Warranty Deed: This works the same way as the general warranty deed, except that the grantee is not responsible for any issues that might arise with the grantor. The grantor is to resolve any issue while the grantee owns the property.
- Quitclaim Deed: This type of property deed involves a high level of risk since the grantee accepts the property "as is" under the law of Arizona. The grantor provides zero assurance on the property title and cannot be sued or held responsible by the grantee, regardless of what happens after the transaction.
- Life Estate Deeds: This is a special type of deed used to transfer ownership of a property while the grantor is still alive. This deed allows the grantor to transfer the full ownership of the property to the grantee while he still uses it.
Thus, the grantor cannot sell, loan, or perform any form of transaction on the property without the grantee's consent.
- Beneficiary Deeds (Transfer-on-Death): This is a modern form of the life estate deed. It allows the grantee to only gain full control of the property after the grantor's death. The grantor also retains the right to revoke the transfer before his death.
What are Arizona Property Records Used For?
Property records are primarily to ensure every researcher and home seeker can obtain valuable information about lands and properties in Arizona. These records are used for numerous purposes, some of which include:
- Determining the market value of a property: The market value of a property can either appreciate (land) or depreciate over time. This value is strongly linked to the historical values of the property, which potential buyers need to weigh their investments and possible returns.
- To confirm ownership: It is common to find two or more people claiming to own the same land in many parts of the world. To verify the actual owner of the property and prevent future cases, records of ownership are kept by the State of Arizona.
- To find out the history of a property: Histories are buried in the foundation of many properties, especially land, and homes. Researchers look up the records of such properties to discover the history behind them.
Details such as the first owner, the initial value, the chain of ownership transfer, and so on are part of the histories that can be unraveled.
- To resolve disputes: During periods of disputes which may have arisen from fraudulent transactions and other similar events, property records could be checked to recognize the property's last owner legally. Hence, it is essential to be legally recognized as the owner of any property purchased in Arizona.
How to Find Arizona Property Tax Records
Arizona Property Tax Records can be obtained from the offices of the tax assessors and treasurers of each county under the state. Inquirers can also contact the Arizona Department of Revenue to obtain these records.
What to Do When You Can't Find Property Records in Arizona?
Inquirers can contact the county recorder's office or tax assessor's office, depending on the nature of the property records to be located. The non-existence of property records of a state might be due to some technical errors and geological restrictions.
This can also be caused by the nature in which the records have been available to the public. While some jurisdictions allow their property records to be accessed online, inquirers may need to visit the county recorder's offices in person to obtain their property records.