What is a deed?
A deed is the legal document that says: who owns the land and where it is and what its boundaries are. A deed may also include restrictions. For example, a deed might have a restriction saying the land can only be used as a park.
Where are Land Records Filed?
Records affecting the ownership and rights to land are filed with:
- The county Register of Deeds office or
- The county Clerk of Superior Court’s Office.
Land records include documents such as deeds, wills, mortgages, court orders, devorces, and liens. If you want to fully understand the legal status of a parcel of land, you need to search records in both offices.
I want to get a copy of the deed to my land. How can I do that?
Deeds are filed with the county Register of Deeds office. To look at a deed you can:
- Go to your Register of Deeds Office and look at the document there.
Find your Register of Deeds in:
- Your phone book under county government
- The NC Directory of State and County Officials:
- Online at the NC Association of Registers of Deeds website. Click on “Find Your Register of Deeds”.
- Look it up online.
Many counties have their real property (land) records online. Go to the county website. Land records may be listed under: public information, land records, Register of Deeds online, or some other name.
Is there a fee to get a copy of a deed?
There is usually a small fee to get a physical (hard) copy of a deed. There is usually not a fee to look at a deed online and print it out. If you need an official copy of a deed, you need to get it from the county office.
How do I find my deed once I get to the land records part of the county website?
- Search by the name of the seller of the land. The seller is called the “Grantor.”
- Search by the buyer of the land. The buyer is called the “Grantee.”
- Search by the deed book and page number. You have to already know this information to do this kind of search.
How can I find out who owns a piece of land?
Pieces of land are called “parcels”. You can find who owns a parcel of land by:
- Looking at the deed for the land online or at the Register of Deeds office. To do this, just follow the steps in the FAQ question above: “How do I find my deed once I get to the land records part of the county website?”
- One of the easiest ways to find out who owns a parcel of land is to use tax maps.
What is a tax map?
Tax maps are maps that a county uses to assess taxes. North Carolina counties keep up-to-date tax maps. The tax maps include: an inventory of land parcels, the tax value of each parcel of land, and who owns each parcel of land.
Where can I find tax maps?
You can always go to your county tax office and look at the tax maps. But one of the easiest ways to find out who owns a parcel of land is to look it up online.
How can I use an online tax map to find out who owns a piece of land?
- Go to your county’s website and search for tax maps or real property records.
Go to: http://www.ncgicc.com/GISinNCWhoWhatWhere.aspx. Click on “Access to Local Geospatial Data in NC”. Find your county on the list. Go to the website for your county.
- At most county websites you can search by the parcel location or street address.
- Once you find the parcel of land, select it. You should find information about that parcel, including who owns it.
Is there a fee for tax map information?
- Physical (hard) copies of tax maps: If you go to the tax office and get a physical copy of a tax map, you’ll probably have to pay a fee.
- Online tax maps: Many counties offer free access to tax maps online. Some may charge a small fee for access.