What are Missouri Property Records?
According to Missouri statutes, property records are official documents that contain information about real property, such as land, buildings, and related structures situated within state limits. They are essential for facilitating the transfer of property ownership, verifying ownership and title, and conducting property assessments for taxation purposes. These records typically feature:
- The legal description of the property;
- Dimensions and directions of all property boundaries;
- Designation of adjacent properties, roads, and lanes;
- Right-of-way or encumbrances as noted on the property title at the time of the survey;
- Location and dimension of any visible encroachments onto or off of the property; and
- A certificate and opinion by an Missouri land surveyor
Missouri property records are primarily maintained by the Accesssor and/or the Recorder of Deeds in the county where the property is located. At the state level they are assembled by the State Department of Revenue.
Are Missouri Property Records Public?
Yes. According to the Revised Statutes of Missouri, RSMo Section 109.180, documents generated or recorded by state/local government offices are open for public inspection unless otherwise specified by law or judicial order. According to related statutes, county recorders are required to maintain instruments pertaining to property within the state and provide a system for the indexing these records. Property records that are typically deemed public include deeds, mortgages, liens, and other legal documents that pertain to real property ownership, encumbrances, and transactions.
However, there are several caveats to the dissemination of property records because of the personal identifying information typically featured in them. This information is usually restricted in order to protect the privacy of individuals and avoid identity theft.
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 Missouri Property Records
The information featured in Missouri property records are categorized into:
- Ownership details
- Legal descriptions of the property
- Information about any mortgages or liens on the property.
Ownership Details Of a Property
This includes the personal information of the present owner(s) of the property, as well as any previous owners.
Legal Descriptions Of the Property
This refers to the description of the property. It is usually accompanied by a survey sketch to provide a visual representation of the property boundaries including details of:
- Where the property's boundary lines are positioned
- Any distinguishing characteristics of the land
- The total acreage of the property
- Details about the county, town, or subdivision
Information About Any Mortgages or Liens on the Property
Property records also includes details of any active mortgage or lien on the referenced property. A mortgage lien is a monetary claim on a property that acts as collateral or real security for a mortgage. The record features the full name of the lender, the amount of the mortgage or lien, and any payments that have been made.
Where to Search Missouri Public Property Records
The ideal option for searching Missouri property records vary with the type of record being sought. At the state level, the office of the Missouri Secretary of State operates a Records Management arm that facilitates the disbursement of property records, However, the easiest way to obtain Missouri public property records is through the office of the County Recorder of Deeds in the judicial district where the property is located.
Property records are also maintained in County Auditor's Offices and made searchable via online databases as well as third-party aggregate sites which make the records available to interested inquirers for a fee.
How to Do a Property Records Search in Missouri
Residents in Missouri have a statutory right to request and obtain property records under the Missouri Public Records Act. To conduct a property records search, inquirers may visit the Recorder of Deeds in the County where the property was located or use the custodians online resources if available. A typically property search website allows users can look up property information by address, owner name, or parcel number. However, not all property records may be available online, and certain limitations may apply to the information that can be accessed.
For instance, to obtain property records from St. Charles county, Missouri, interested persons may contact the copy center of the County Recorder of Deeds Office, via phone or mail at:
St Charles County Recorder of Deeds
201 N. Second St.
St. Charles, MO 63301
Phone: (636) 949-7509
Fax: (636) 949-7512
How to Find the Owner of a Missouri Property Using Public Records
Inquirers can find the owner of a Missouri property using public records through the Auditors office in the county where the property is situated. Most county auditors have online resources for accessing property record information, and inquirers can visit the database, and search for the property by address or parcel number. A typical search will provide information regarding the property's current owner, as well as the square footage and assessed value.
An alternative method for finding the owner of a Missouri property using public records is by visiting the County Recorder of Deeds Office. These offices typically have records of all property transactions, including the names of the buyers and sellers.
What are Missouri Property Records Used For?
Missouri property records are useful for the following functions:
- Property transactions: Property records are used to verify ownership and transfer of ownership when a property is sold or refinanced.
- Legal proceedings: They can be used as evidence in legal proceedings such as boundary disputes, eminent domain cases, and mortgage foreclosure proceedings.
- Lending and borrowing: Missouri property records can be used by financial institutions in the states, lenders, and investors to determine the value of a property and the creditworthiness of a borrower.
- Insurance: Missouri property records can also be used by insurance companies to assess the risk of a property and determine the cost of insurance.
How to Find Missouri Property Tax Records
The Missouri State Tax Commission maintains detailed statistics on property values and tax rates at the county, city, and district levels. At county level, these records are maintained by the office of the County Assessor.
To find Missouri property tax records, inquirers may obtain the contact information of the County Assessor in the relevant jurisdiction from the State Tax Commission Directory, and proceed to query the office in person or via mail. Requestors will typically be required to provide information to facilitate the search and pay a nominal fee to cover the cost of research and reproduction of the documents.
What to Do When You Can’t Find Property Records in Missouri
Inquirers who have trouble finding property records in Missouri may be facing this difficulty because of an error in the document or the information being used for facilitating the record search. Where this is the case, the requestor may visit the local assessor's office or the office of the recorder of deeds to get the required assistance. Inquirers may also review the parameters being used to search to ensure that they are furnishing the custodian with accurate details.