Property Transfer List
Assessor's offices keep an index by parcel number or address that shows if anyone bought or sold the property within the past two years.
This index - called a Property Transfer List or sometimes a Property History Index - lists the:
- names of the buyer and seller
- date of the sale
- amount paid for the property (which might be listed as a documentary transfer tax that can be used to compute the sales price)
- recorder's office document number for the deed that was recorded when the property was sold
The recorder's office document number for the property deed can be especially helpful when doing more detailed research on the history of a piece of property at a county recorders office.
California law requires that an assessor's property transfer list show ownership changes going back two years, but some assessor's office lists will go back more years.
Note: some assessor offices charge for access to the property transfer lists, which are updated periodically.