What are Florida Property Records?
Florida property records are official, citizen-generated documents that provide information about lands and private or commercial properties. Residents create these documents and store them with their local administrators. These administrators, in turn, make Florida property records available to the public, per Florida's Sunshine Law.
Different people, such as property owners and buyers, require different types of Florida property records - including property deeds, index maps, property tax records, and mortgage records. These individuals use property records for different reasons, like establishing ownership and resolving boundary disputes.
Florida has 67 counties, and each county's clerk of courts stores property records and makes them available to the public. These counties also have property appraisers that make Florida property tax records available to interested parties. Anyone that wants to get Florida property tax records can submit a request to their county clerk or appraiser's office in person or on the internet.
Are Florida Property Records Public?
Each Florida county clerk stores and disseminates property records per the Sunshine Law. Therefore, Florida property records are available to interested members of the public that request them. Members of the public that wish to obtain Florida property records may do so by querying their county clerk.
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 Florida Property Records?
In Florida, each county clerk holds and disseminates different types of property records, including (but not limited to) the following:
- Mortgage Records
- Index maps
Florida mortgage records document the connection between a homeowner and the mortgage company that paid for their property. Interested persons can look through Florida mortgage records to find out how much a home costs and how much the homeowner obtained from the credit company. Florida mortgage records also contain information on the agreed interest rate, payment scheme, and any possible defaults on the borrower's part.
Florida index maps are legal drawings (made to scale) that describe a property in relation to others. Some examples of maps include plat maps, subdivision maps, right-of-way maps, and plan line maps.
Florida property deeds are legal documents that validate a transfer of property between its original owner and the new buyer. These documents indicate title or ownership and contain the property owner's name. County clerks in Florida typically hold various types of property deeds, including (but not limited to) the following:
Statutory Warranty Deeds
A statutory warranty deed, also called a general warranty deed, offers the broadest protection for property buyers, and it is common in residential real estate transactions. The document states that the seller has the full legal authority and capacity to transfer the title. More importantly, it states the seller can defend the real estate against any and all claims. It offers the broadest warranty of any of the deeds.
Grant deeds transfer title from seller to buyer. This document also confirms to the new owner that the seller has not sold the property to anyone else and has not left any outstanding legal encumbrances on it.
Limited Warranty Deeds
Limited warranty deeds, also known as special warranty deeds, provide assurance of a seller's authority to transfer title. More importantly, the document states that the seller has no outstanding liens during their ownership of the real estate. However, this deed does not offer protection from liens arising from the time before the seller owned the property title.
Quitclaim deeds are different from grant deeds or limited warranty deeds because they make no claims about outstanding liens or other legal encumbrances on the real estate. The deed only assures the buyer of the seller's right to exchange the property title for money.
Where to Search Florida Public Property Records
Florida's Sunshine Law gives residents and researchers permission to obtain property records from their administering agencies upon request. Residents of each county may visit their county clerk or appraiser's office to obtain property records.
For instance, Alachua County residents that wish to get copies of property deeds or mortgage records may submit requests to the Alachua County Clerk of Court's office. Alternatively, they may query the Alachua County Property Appraiser's office for property tax records.
How to Do a Florida Property Records Search
Florida's property records are available to interested members of the public according to the Sunshine law. Anyone looking to search for a Florida property record must know the property's location and, if possible, the owner's name. With the above information, interested Florida residents can visit their county clerk's office and submit a request to inspect and copy property records.
For instance, in Alachua County, interested individuals can find property records at the Alachua County Clerk of Court's office. Requesters may obtain certified copies of property records by submitting in-person or telephone requests. The Clerk's office is open to the public between 8:15 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Monday through Friday. Copies of property records cost $1 per page while certifying copies cost $2.
Alachua County Clerk of the Court
Attn: Official Records
201 East University Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32601
TelePhone: (352) 374-3625
Individuals that do not require certified copies of property records can use the Clerk's online records search page. Most of the clerks' records are available online, making it an excellent resource for anyone that needs free public property records Florida.
How to Find the Owner of a Florida Property Using Public Records
Prospective property buyers must carry out due diligence when considering purchasing a Florida property. They must learn all possible details about the property - including the owner's information. Florida's Sunshine Law allows the public to inspect property records and learn about owners.
For instance, Bay County residents can find out who owns a property by querying the Bay County Clerk of Courts and Comptroller's Office. Researchers should have one of the following details:
- Address (including township/borough/municipality)
- County Parcel Identification Number
Individuals that require certified copies of the records can call or send a written request to the Official Records Division of the Clerk's Office. Copies of property records cost $1 per page and certifications cost $2.
Bay County Clerk's Office
Attention Official Records
P.O. Box 2269
300 East 4th Street
Panama City, FL 32401
Individuals that require information only can use the Clerk's online record search page. The search page provides images of property records going back to 1987.
What are Property Records Used for in Florida?
Florida property records provide information about lands and private or commercial properties. Researchers request Florida property records for different reasons, including gathering pre-purchase information and to learn the property's historical value.
Potential homeowners perform due diligence when considering purchasing a home. Florida property records give homebuyers crucial details about properties, like building problems, legal challenges, or financial encumbrances. This information helps homebuyers make informed decisions. A seller typically sets a property's price based on the amount it has sold for historically. Anyone interested in buying a property can check its records to be sure that the current price is reasonable.
How to Find Florida Property Tax Records
Interested persons can get Florida property tax records by querying the county appraiser's office. Many offices provide an online property search page that the public can use to perform remote searches.
What to Do When You Can't Find Florida Property Records
Florida residents and the general public can get Florida property records by submitting a request to their county clerk of courts or county appraiser's office. These offices maintain different property records, including maps, mortgage records, and property deeds.
Sometimes, however, interested persons may not find the property records they require at the above-referenced offices. In such cases, researchers may consider using alternative public search resources, such as Florida.StateRecords.org.