Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Researching Your Home

This morning I spent an hour with at the Richland County Register of Deeds (ROD) office learning about the resources they have for patrons researching the history of their homes.

RCPL will have a program on this topic on May 14th so I wanted some background about other resources in the county for patrons.

The ROD is located in the Richland County Courthouse at 1701 Main St. They are right behind the security gates. They have a large facility with lots of microfilm machines. Deeds, mortgages, releases, plats, tax liens, and UCC filings are recorded at this office. If a patron is interested in finding out when additions or improvements were made to the property then they should go to the Hampton Street permit offices.

The first step in locating a deed is to have the Deed Book and Page number. There is a computer at the ROD that can access that information or patrons can go to the online Property Value & Tax Assessment Inquiry at Copy down the tax number also. That can be used to locate a deed if there is a snafu.

If a property owner has opted out of the online inquiry then a visit to the ROD is necessary. They can opt out of the online search but they can't opt out from having their information publicly available at ROD.

The next step is to locate the deed with the deed number. If the Deed Book/Page number starts with a "R" then the deed is on the computer. If the number starts with a "D" then the deed is on microfilm. With the address I was using I could see the first deed on the computer but the farther back I went the more likely the deed would be on microfilm.

The ROD is a public records office so they take customer service very seriously. They are there to assist. I was very impressed with their public service attitude.

* Copies are fifty cents
* 11/11/1911 is a default date. It means they don't know when the property closed.
* ROD is currently digitizing deeds. They hope to have them available on their website by the end of the summer.
*RCPL Local History Room has tax records for Richland County. The tax records can tell when a house was built. There is cross referencing but if you have the tax number then it is one less hefty tome you have to lift.

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