Property ownership is a public record. Anyone can view property ownership information. The Recorder’s office does not make condominium declarations, plats, and real estate transfers available online, but they can be purchased at the downtown office, 118 North Clark Street (the County half of Chicago’s City Hall).
Be aware that both of the following sites can be slow to load, especially during busy times of day or if you are using a public computer.
It’s a three-step process:
- Get an accurate address for the property. This is sometimes difficult, because in West Ridge many commercial buildings lack visible addresses and board-ups tend not to have addresses at all, but it can be done using phone directories, online business Web sites, and a very useful tool on the Assessor’s Web site: use of an address range. If you can’t find an address in, say, the 1600 block, you can request a search in the range of 1600 to 1700. This is especially useful with abandoned or boarded-up properties.
- Go to the Cook County Assessor’s Web site: Click on “Property Address Search.” Type in the property address (or range), and city. Click “Search by Address.” You will receive the property’s Property Identification Number (PIN). This site will also provide pictures of the property in question and information about the lot size, structure(s), age, property classification, tax code, assessed value, and other details.
- Go the Web site for the Recorder of Deeds: Type in the PIN. A list of all documents in relation to that property will appear. You won’t get much detail online, but you can learn who owns the property, what institution holds the mortgage, and other useful information. You can download or buy copies of documents as well. Pricing information is available on the site.