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Address Search

Doing an address search may not seem all that complex. After all, if you’re interested in buying a home, you probably know the address. The problem is that addresses aren’t always consistent over time and, in some cases, the address of the home is sometimes formally different than it is based on the road signs and other normal ways of assessing the location of the home. Conducting a proper address search, particularly in certain areas, can be a bit of a chore. It’s necessary, however, to do it right before you put any money into a property.

You can do an address search by using any of the online mapping utilities. Most often, they’re quite accurate. There are cases, however, when the results may be a bit off. In some cases, the address search may return a name where the street is misspelled. This is particularly true in areas where the original street names may have been in a different language: Spanish in the southwest; French in Louisiana; and Native American languages throughout the nation. All of these languages are prone to having been misspelled by the people who originally named the streets in any given town, and this can be a problem.

If you run into these issues, you may want to have the county do the address search for you. They collect taxes on the property, so you can be sure that they have the correct, legal address for the home you’re looking into. This is necessary when you start moving money around regarding the transaction. If you’re going through a lender to complete the transaction, they’ll usually clarify any discrepancies in the address for you, though it’s best to make sure that the address search is done correctly from the start, without anything left to chance.

An address search will sometimes be particularly difficult in rural areas. In some cases, the addresses may be listed as postal routes—such as Route 1 Box XXX—instead of listed as numerical addresses along street names. In these cases, you may want to get a plat book to clarify any issues that may arise. These books are one step better than an address search; showing the names of the property owners along with a map that clearly defines the extent of the property in question. They’re a great way to protect your money and to save you time.

If you’re struggling with the address search yourself, you may want to engage a realtor or go to the county and use their services. There are plenty of cases where a large property may include several addresses or where the same address may have multiple entries in a county database due to data entry errors somewhere along the line. In these cases, it’s nice to have someone experienced handling the address search for you. The MLS system can also be very reliable in this regard, though even it sometimes conflicts with street signs and other common markers for addresses.

Find out more about House Title Search and read about How to Do a Property Title Search.

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