What are South Carolina Property Records?
South Carolina property records provide information about real estate within state limits. These documents are generated by citizens and maintained by local administrators. Pursuant to South Carolina's public records law, these records are made available to interested members of the public on request.
South Carolina property records encompass many documents and information, including maps, deeds, tax records, mortgage records, and liens. These documents and information are crucial for establishing property ownership and resolving boundary disputes.
In each of South Carolina's counties, the County Register of Deeds is responsible for maintaining and disseminating property records. These records are also available through the County Assessor's office as well as the Land Division of the South Carolina Department of Revenue.
Are South Carolina Property Records Public?
Yes, each judicial district's County Register of Deeds maintains and disseminates South Carolina property records per the public records law. Hence, interested members of the public may access and/or make copies of these records, provided they are not subject to non-disclosure or exemption.
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 details to obtain complete property records:
- The property's exact location.
- The property owner's details.
What Information is Included in South Carolina Property Records?
South Carolina property records typically include various information about a property, such as its current owner(s), legal description, size, zoning classification, assessments and taxes due, deed restrictions, liens or encumbrances against the property, previous owners, and transactions involving the property.
- The legal description of a property generally includes its street address and lot number in addition to other information that is used for land surveying. This description helps to identify the exact boundaries of the land. Size is usually expressed either in acres or square footage.
- Zoning classification refers to whether a particular use or development is permitted on that land based on local laws and regulations. Assessments and taxes due are amounts determined by tax authorities annually based on the property's value.
- Deed restrictions refer to certain limitations on how a property can be used or developed, such as limits on the height and size of structures or buildings that can be erected on it. Liens or encumbrances are claims made against a property by creditors who have loaned money to the owner. Previous owners and transactions involving the property are also noted in the records. This includes details about any sales, transfers, mortgages, leases, or changes to the title that have occurred over time.
Where to Search South Carolina Public Property Records
To search South Carolina public property records, county residents may query the Office of the County Register of Deeds in person, via mail, or online.
For instance, Greenville county residents seeking to obtain property deeds or mortgage records may submit requests to the Greenville County Register of Deeds Office. Alternatively, they may query the Greenville County Property Assessors office if the record of interest is a property tax record. In-person and mail-in requests may be addressed to the following:
Greenville County Register of Deeds
301 University Ridge
Greenville County Square
Greenville, SC 29601
Phone: (864) 467-7240
Fax: (864) 467-7107
How to Do a South Carolina Property Records Search
To conduct a South Carolina property records search, the inquirer must know the property's location and, if possible, the owner's name. With the information required to facilitate a record search, the inquirer may visit their local Register of Deeds office and request to obtain property records.
For instance, interested individuals can find property records at the Richland Register of Deeds Office in Richland county. Requesters may obtain copies of property records by submitting in-person or telephone requests. Otherwise, they may search using the County's Online Data Service System. In-person and mail-in requests may be made to:
Richland County Judicial Center
1701 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Richland County Register of Deeds
Post Office Box 192
Columbia, SC 29202
How to Find the Owner of a South Carolina Property Using Public Records
Interested members of the public may find the owner of a South Carolina property by using public records available on searchable databases that record custodians maintain. However, to proceed with this search, the inquirer must know and provide the full address of the property in question. Subsequently, they may proceed to query the county's office of the Register of Deeds.
What are South Carolina Property Records Used For?
Prospective buyers commonly use South Carolina property records, sellers, lawyers, real estate agents, and title companies for the following functions:
- Tax Assessment: Property records are used to value property for tax assessment purposes. This helps local governments and school districts determine the amount of taxes owed by homeowners and businesses located in their jurisdictions.
- Title Searches: Property records are also used when conducting title searches, which investigate the ownership history of a certain piece of land or real estate. A title search may be performed for various reasons, such as establishing ownership before purchasing or selling a property and settling boundary disputes between neighbors.
- Mortgages & Loans: When applying for mortgages or loans, lenders may require that applicants provide copies of their current property records as part of their application process to verify the applicant's ownership of the property. This can also help lenders determine the amount of loan that an applicant can reasonably afford.
- Foreclosure Proceedings: Property records are used in foreclosure proceedings, where a lender takes possession of a borrower's property due to defaulted payments or other violations of the terms of their mortgage agreement. The lender will use the information in the records to learn more about the property and assess its value before it is sold at public auction.
- Business Transactions: Property records may be consulted when carrying out any business transaction involving real estate, such as forming leases or partnerships with other parties. These documents provide detailed information regarding ownership rights and liabilities associated with a particular piece of land or property, which can be crucial for business owners.
- Land Use Issues: Property records can also be used to investigate land use issues, such as zoning regulations and environmental concerns. By researching these documents, individuals and organizations can ensure their proposed plans are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
- Genealogical Research: Property records can be consulted by those doing genealogical research or family history investigations to learn more about the people who lived on a certain piece of land in the past. This can provide insight into an individual's family background and connections they may have had in earlier times.
- Estate Planning: Property records are essential when planning one's estate; they allow individuals to identify and document all the property they own to ensure that it is distributed according to their wishes upon their death. This can help protect a person's investments and provide for their family after passing.
How to Find South Carolina Property Tax Records
To find out how much taxes a certain property is liable for in South Carolina, it's best to visit the county assessor's office. They will be able to provide the property tax rate and applicable exemptions. Additionally, inquirers can contact the county treasurer's office for information on payment history or delinquent taxes.
What to Do When You Can't Find Property Records in South Carolina
If an inquirer finds traditional methods of researching property records to be lacking, it is essential that they:
- Consider the local government's policies and procedures related to accessing public records. Every town or city has rules; hence, it is vital to research the prerequisite for accessing the records of interest.
- Search online for any available documents regarding the property in question. People often post information about a property online that is not found through more traditional methods. Sometimes, third-party websites offer access to public records for free or for a fee. This could provide helpful information about the ownership and deed history of the property.
- Speak to neighbors or local officials familiar with the area to see if they can offer any information to facilitate the search. They may be able to provide details that can't be found through public records.