Who Lives Here? Reverse Address Lookup Search That Actually Works

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Background Checks | May 16, 2024

Man in yellow shirt in front left wondering who lives here while looking back towards a house and person with luggage behind.

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If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, “Who lives here?” you aren’t alone. Every year, thousands of people run inquiry searches on other people and their property. And it’s no wonder. Today’s world isn’t as small as it used to be. As a result, we need to be more cautious as complete strangers move around us, and there are also other times when we’ve lost touch with people from our past but want to reconnect.

What happens, though, when we don’t have all the information we need to do a complete search for a full range of data pages? How can you perform a lookup search that actually works?

Fortunately, that doesn’t need to be the end of the matter… and you don’t need to go as far as hiring a private detective (although you can if you need to). You can use reverse search tools to find out who lives here, and there are plenty that actually work like they claim. 

What Is a Reverse Address Search, and What Is the Best One That Actually Works?

Most commonly, when people need to know more about another person, they use the person’s name as a starting point for an online search. This is because they know who the person is, but they need further details. Think of phone books; you look up the person or business name to see their address and number. All of this information is a matter of public record.

Graphic showing the usual search results through a reverse address Lookup

However, there are instances when you may not know who the person is. You only know where they live. For example, perhaps someone recently moved into your neighborhood, or you are considering buying some property and want to check out the neighbors. You can find the knowledge you need through a process called reverse address search, so-called because you’re starting with the address and working backward. A free reverse address search is often an excellent way to find out who lives at a property, but the results may not be completely accurate.

Consider that there are 161.4 million addresses in the United States.1 That’s a lot to keep track of and a lot of data collection to update. Imagine the size of that phone book!

Your most reliable bet when searching for these types of records is to consult official county records. These are open to the public; it’s just a matter of accessing them. You can go to the county clerk’s office or access the county clerk’s website to conduct a quick search to find out who lives here, based on address. They will have all available public records for any property in the county. You don’t need a reason to request them; just asking is enough. Moreover, you can search any county in this manner, but although it works, it will take time.

It is also important to keep in mind that county records may be inaccurate if the owner uses the property for rentals, or the info could simply be outdated (not updated). So this method isn’t one hundred percent reliable, but it’s usually your best place to start. If you find the information is not correct, that’s when you can turn to an online service, either paid or free, to search for that information. Before paying, be sure to research their reviews, so you aren’t wasting your time with unreliable methods.

There are many popular paid sites for address searches. They charge a monthly membership fee, and you can get unlimited searches.2 Some websites with reverse search tools can often have deeper access to some public records, so they may end up being worthwhile. However, it is important to note that they do not guarantee they can find you the results you need. They don’t offer your money back, either, so proceed with caution.

Graphic on reasons why to Lookup info on somebody's life

In many cases, you can search public records and get exactly the info you need, but sometimes your search is a little more challenging than a free search can handle. In those cases, running a complete background check through a trusted provider can provide the reverse information you need. It’s one of the ways that actually work, as long as you choose a respected organization. And, if you need to find a collection of residential info worldwide (res content global), it can present plenty of challenges.

Do Search Results Include Only a Person’s Address?

You can find a surprising amount of information through a reverse address lookup. However, depending on which system you use for your search, you’re likely to learn more information than you actually require. Other than who lives here, you’ll often find information such as:2

  • Property information, such as layout and market value
  • Legal description of the property
  • Phone number
  • Age
  • Previous residences
  • Social media

There are different levels of searches as well. Some sites can also explain the process of acquiring an individual’s phone number without cost or by using a reverse email search. If you need to track down a person who has been calling or emailing you, this would be very helpful.

Some sites are also willing to pull criminal records, both state and federal. Essentially you can conduct your own background check on a person without their permission, as long as you won’t use the information in any professional way (like for a job, residency, or any other approval method). A full background check may cost extra, even if you are using a free site. Although, if you’re going to pay for a criminal background check, you may as well go to the top and let the FBI get it for you. They call it Identity History Summary, but it’s essentially a rap sheet. However, keep in mind that you need to submit fingerprints for this, so it’s not ideal for searches on strangers.

Image screenshot of FBI website on Identity History Summary Checks

(Image: FBI4)

To perform a completely no-cost criminal history search on a person, Google or court records would be your best option. You can search many public records for information regarding arrest warrants, bookings, and court appearances. Yet, these searches do take a lot of time, and online-only searches are not always accurate.

Why Would I Need To Lookup Info on Somebody’s Life?

There are many reasons that somebody would need to search for who lives here using a reverse lookup. A few include:

  • Looking to contact a long, lost friend – even the best of friends can lose track of each other. When many years have passed and you’re looking to reconnect, it can be hard to know where to start. It would be terrific to surprise your old friend with a greeting after all this time.
  • Need to know the history of a property you’re considering purchasing – sometimes a property seems too good to be true. Is it a money pit? Has it been adequately maintained? Perhaps you’re nervous about making such a significant investment. That’s understandable. A complete check on all the details may put your mind at ease.
  • Find out if your new neighbors are trustworthy – the people who live closest to you play a prominent role in your life, even if you rarely ever interact with them. The well-being of a neighborhood relies on every member being a reliable part of the community. So you need to know you can trust your neighbors.
  • To look into any person you need to be sure is safe – perhaps you have a bad feeling about that new person at work. It may be just a feeling, or it could be your intuition kicking in. Or you may even feel it’s a good idea to check up on a prospective employer, your child’s new coach, or anyone else.
  • An online seller – when you make a purchase online through a personal sale, you sometimes need to go pick it up in person. It’s always best to be sure you aren’t walking into a bad situation.

If you have children, you have an excellent reason to utilize a public search method on your neighbors. It’s crucial that you know if convicted sex offenders or other violent criminals live near your family. As a parent, your number one priority is to keep your family safe from whoever lives here. That’s why it’s never a bad idea to take a few minutes to learn some methods for finding out whether someone has a criminal history or search the history of anybody else who comes in contact with your children.

All the information is a matter of public record; it’s just not knowledge that most people can easily find. There are no laws against publishing information that’s considered public information.3

Doing research brings peace of mind. You can never be too safe, especially where your family is concerned. Once you know who lives here, you can feel confident that your home and family are out of harm’s way.

Using reverse lookup tools can be an excellent way to ensure your family’s safety, or find people you’ve lost touch with, but the methods that actually work require some research. You can do the tasks yourself, or you can use a reputable organization. By getting as much information as possible on who lives here, you’ll limit the chances of failing in your search.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Get My Information Removed From Search Sites?

In some cases, yes, you can. For example, some finder sites allow you to request that they remove your contact information. This would be similar to having an unlisted number back in the days of phone books. Unfortunately, though, many of these places don’t honor such requests. Instead, they happily publish any piece of public record, even if it’s incorrect or confidential data.

Can a Prospective Employer Use a Reverse Address Search in Place of a Background Check?

Because many of these websites are so comprehensive, yes, an employer could use one in place of a background check. However, they probably wouldn’t get quite the full range of information they generally would through an official background check. Therefore, they aren’t likely to.

How Can I Be Sure the Information I’ve Found Is Accurate?

If you aren’t sure if what you’ve turned up is correct, you may want to get a second opinion. That is, you may want to try another site and compare results.


1United States Postal Service. 2021. Size and Scope. 5 November 2021. Web. <https://facts.usps.com/size-and-scope/>

2Background Checks. 2021. Reverse Address Lookup. 5 November 2021. Web. <https://backgroundchecks.org/reverse-address-lookup>

3Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. 22 March 2017. FAQ: Online Data Brokers & People Search Site. 5 November 2021. Web. <https://privacyrights.org/resources/faq-online-data-brokers-people-search-sites>

4FBI. (n.d.). Identity History Summary Checks (Rap Sheets). Federal Bureau of Investigation. From <https://www.fbi.gov/how-we-can-help-you/more-fbi-services-and-information/identity-history-summary-checks>

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