General Question

AshlynM's avatar

Why are house deeds automatically made public?

Asked by AshlynM (10592points) July 1st, 2011

What if I don’t want it to be public? I don’t want someone searching me to find out I have property. Why are some things made searchable on the internet such as birth, death and marriage records?

Nowadays, an advanced hacker and thief would only need one piece of you to make your life miserable.

I’m not sure what a thief can do with a recorded deed, but I’d rather it not be public information.

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11 Answers

roundsquare's avatar

Probably a historical hold over. One use, though, is that if someone is suing you and they’ll need to take your property if they win, this helps them put a freeze on your assets so that you can’t sell the property before the lawsuit is over. That’s just what comes to my mind…

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I would guess the logic behind that is to let the public know that the land is in play in case there is some dispute about it. Maybe someone else feel they have claim to it by inheritance or by lien, and if it were not posted publically they might never find out, or find out before a real mess ensued.

Bellatrix's avatar

It’s all about databases and information technology. Organisations and government bodies want to be able to share information and that can make information that was previously difficult to access, very easy to access.

I was searching my family tree and created an on-line version but realised anyone who had an interest in identity theft would have a whole lot of information about me and others on that tree. There are also people out there (officially and unofficially) who make it their business to find out a lot of stuff about us that is probably to our minds not their business.

JLeslie's avatar

You can own it under a different name if you are concerned so it is not as easily connected to you. A corporation name for instance.

@Bellatrix Even before personal computers and the internet property ownership and tax paid on it was public record.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

If you’re in business or making a major investment, like buying a house, the information in public records needs to be easily accessible. How would you like to drop a few thousand dollars on a deposit and then find out the seller didn’t own the property?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Copied from a local Town:


Documents are recorded in the county’s official records to publicly declare their existence and enactment. Anyone can research these records to identify property ownership and liens placed against property.


The following list indicates the types of documents that are recorded in the official Register of Deeds

Deeds of Trust
Mortgages (including Assignments, Modifications, and Satisfactions of Mortgages)
Uniform Commercial Codes (UCCs)
Military Discharge Documents
Marriage Licenses
Assumed Names (Companies and Corporations)

Bellatrix's avatar

Yes JL, but they weren’t so easily accessed, searched and analysed.

JLeslie's avatar

@Bellatrix The internet does make it easier to access the info. I know when I was first married, so 18 years ago, we could go down to whichever government building it was that I went to to apply for homestead exemption in my county, and there were computers right there that you could look everything up, basically before the internet was used by the general public. So even back then it was not very difficult. But, I do understand why it bothers you. A friend of mine bought his investment property in a different name, either it was a corporation or something else can’t remember. I would have to go back to his file and look it up (I was the realtor on the deal). Also, it is done by county typically, so if you own properties in several counties, people may not very easily find all the property you own.

Bellatrix's avatar

I really don’t care about it personally. I am just aware that out there are files on each and every one of us. Every time we do anything, someone is collecting and collating that information. If you worried about it, you wouldn’t do anything. Public records are just the tip of the iceberg.

throssog's avatar

To serve as a record, a public record, of all transferable interests and their status, i.e., mineral , water, timber, air, etc. rights. Encumbrances and grants of use and/or easement. Originally for the protection of the property owner , lenders and the general public.

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