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Ultimate 2023 ACRIS Search Guide: how to utilize the tool

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This guide will teach you how to effectively utilize ACRIS NYC to search for real property records, deeds, and other essential documents. We aim to clarify what the Automated City Registeracris Information System is and how to utilize its main options to perform a successful search query.

Reminder about what ACRIS is?

In the United States, property sales and records are public information for every state and city, including New York City. Anyone can access accurate property records, including buyers, sellers, attorneys, and brokers, to gather information about a particular property. The City Register in New York City maintains and records all official real property documents.

You can find important documents related to property, such as deeds, mortgages, and mortgage satisfactions, as well as Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) financing statements and Notices of Federal Tax Liens (FTL). If you’re in New York City, you can access these records on the ACRIS website. ACRIS stands for the Automated City Register Information System.

You can easily search for property records of homes and access documents for all boroughs in New York City, except for Staten Island.

The ACRIS site allows you to find information from 1966 to present. With ACRIS, you can also find the Property Borough, Block, and Lot (BBL) or Address and create Cover Pages and Property Tax Forms to Record Documents.

In addition, you can calculate NYC Property Transfer Taxes for closings on the ACRIS database. It is important to remember that public documents for Staten Island are not recorded in the City Register’s Office but rather in the Richmond County Clerk’s Office. The option to select Staten Island is solely for internal use within the City Register’s office.

In this guide, you will learn how to search for property records on the ACRIS website using three popular search methods:

  1. party name,
  2. parcel number,
  3. or document type.

To begin your search, visit the Acris website and click the “Begin using ACRIS” link. This will direct you to the document search function. The Document Search feature lets you locate recorded and filed documents in the City Register.

Go to “Document Search Menu” by clicking the Search Property Records option on the ACRIS Main Options screen. Here, you can select the primary search criteria for property records.

You can search using criteria such as Party Name, Parcel Identifier, Document Type, Document ID, Transaction Number, Reel and Page, and ICC/Federal Lien File Number.

How Do You Use ACRIS NYC?

Looking up property records and searching for documents in the NYC ACRIS system is easy. The most common search method is by a party’s name, but you can also search using parcel identifiers or document types.

Conducting a Search by Party Name on ACRIS

Step 1: Enter the Party Name 

To begin a Party Name search on ACRIS, you must input the specific name you wish to search for. A Party Name refers to the name(s) of the individual(s) involved in the real estate transaction.PARCEL search on ACRIS It may also pertain to a business entity such as an LLC, corporation, or partnership.

There are various ways to list the Party Names on real estate documents, such as Grantor or Grantee, Mortgagor or Mortgagee, Lender or Borrower, Seller or Buyer. However, knowing that the Name Search feature will only show records for recorded or filed documents is essential.

Input the person’s name in the correct order in the Individual fields.

  • The correct order is Last name, First name, Middle Initial (MI), and Suffix (if applicable, such as Jr.).
  • Enter The business name in the designated field if the owner or party is a business.

A helpful tip for finding all the relevant documents is to try different combinations of names.

In the past, records had the last name first or the first name last, so it’s essential to experiment with both options. Try entering the last name in the first name field and vice versa to ensure you locate all associated documents.

If you do not enter the complete name, the search results will display matches for the part of the name you provide. For instance, if you only enter a partial name, the results will show all games containing that partial name.

If you search for records beginning with “Mo, J,” ACRIS will return all the relevant results. For example, the website includes names like “Morris, James” and “Mort, Jim.” To prevent an overwhelming estimated number of search results, it’s essential to narrow your search as much as possible.

Step 2: Select a Date Range

To refine your search, you can specify a date range and retrieve documents recorded or filed within that period. The system will use a default value if you do not provide a date range. EACRIS to search NYC Propertynter the dates in the format MM/DD/YYYY.

Step 3: Select Party Type

You can select a Party Type from the drop-down list to refine your search. The website sets the default value if you do not choose any option. You can select only one option from the list.

Step 4: Select Borough / County

To refine your search, you may select a borough or county. This will limit the results to include documents related to properties in the chosen borough or county. Note that you can only select one option from the provided list. If you make no selection, ACRIS applies the default value.

Step 5: Select Document Class

To narrow down your search, you have the option to choose a document class. This will ensure that ACRiS only displays documents under the selected category. To choose a valid type, refer to the drop-down list in the Document Class field.

ACRIS Search by Parcel Identifier

Step 1: Understand BBL

ACRIS uses the Borough, Block, and Lot (BBL) system to identify each real estate unit in New York City. It is a parcel number system used on different city documents that relate to the property. To conduct a BBL search, follow these steps.

Step 2: Select Borough / County / Block / Lot and Unit (Co-op only)

To conduct a thorough search, choose a borough/county.

This will prompt retrieval records for properties recorded or filed in the preferred borough/county. Note that you can only select one borough/county at a time. The Parcel Identifier Search will only provide results for recorded or filed documents.

The ACRIS website generates the search results by considering the combination of information provided.

  • If you don’t include a unit number when entering a BBL (block and lot number), the search will produce all records linked to that particular BBL.
  • When you input a BBL and a unit number, the search results will display all the relevant records for the borough, block, lot, and unit number. In case none of the search criteria match, the website will indicate that there are no results.
  • If you input a BBL with Lot #0000 and a unit number, the search will not display any results.
  • When searching for a BBL with Lot #0000, ACRIS includes all records for the block number entered in the search results if you do not enter a unit number.

Step 3: Select a Date Range

To refine your search, you can specify a date range to retrieve documents recorded or filed within that period. ACRIS selects the default value if you don’t select a date range. The date format must be MM/DD/YYYY.

Step 4: Select Document Class

You can select a specific document class. This will ensure the site only includes the results documents recorded or filed under that class. You can access a drop-down list in the Document Class field to help you choose a valid type.

ACRIS Search by Document Type

Step 1: Select a Document Type

Select a document type from the “Select Document Type” option to begin your ACRIS search by document type. This will help narrow the list of document types in the second drop-down menu and only show those relevant to the selected class.

Step 2: Select a Date Range

If you want to make your search more specific, choose a particular date range. This will help you to obtain documents that were either recorded or filed within the period provided. The system will automatically use the default date range if you don’t choose any. It is essential to enter the dates in the MM/DD/YYYY format.

Step 3: Select Borough / County

To refine your search, you may choose a borough or county. This will limit the results to include documents related to properties in the selected area. You can only choose one borough or county at a time.

Step 4: Search for Document Type

The website displays the search criteria in the top right-hand corner. The search results will appear in a table. If the list is too lengthy for one screen, the website only displays the first ten rows on the first page.

ACRIS NYC Conclusion

Knowing how to utilize ACRIS to search for NYC property records is extremely helpful. ACRIS NYC is an excellent resource that provides easy access to all the information you may need about a property’s history.

Although it may not be necessary for first-time homebuyers, NYC real estate investors and developers can benefit significantly from using ACRIS search to assist with their due diligence.

Written By: Georges Benoliel

Georges has been working in Wall Street for the last 16 years trading derivatives with hedge funds. He has been an active real estate investor for over a decade. Georges graduated from HEC Business School in Paris and holds a master in Finance from ESADE Barcelona.

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