About The Lens’ property sales search tool

Why is The Lens publishing property transactions?

We created this tool as part of our ongoing effort to make public records more accessible and to aid reporting and public discussion about land use in New Orleans.

Property transfers are public records and are readily available for review in the Land Records Division of Orleans Parish Civil District Court. However, some people do not have the time or means to go to the office during business hours. Online access requires a paid account — a barrier to access.

Where does this information come from?

Every day, we get the latest property sales recorded in the Land Records Division of Orleans Parish Civil District Court. Sales are added the day after they are posted to the office’s website.

How do you know the information is accurate?

Everything in this tool is taken directly from the Land Records Division’s computer system. Those employees may make mistakes when entering sales. Due to the volume of records, we cannot double-check everything against court documents.

However, we do look for obvious errors, such as a sale date in the future, and will withhold publication of those sales until we can verify the information. If you see an error, please email Tom Thoren.

What data do you track?

Date: The date the property was sold. This is not necessarily the same day that the sale was recorded and made available on the Land Records Division’s website. It often takes days or weeks for a sale to be recorded in court.

Amount: The amount the property was sold for. This does not necessarily correspond to the amount of any mortgage, which is recorded separately and is not part of The Lens’ search.

Location: In most cases, the street address. Some parcels don’t have a street address. But every parcel in Orleans Parish is identified by the Assessor’s Office by a system of districts, squares and lots. People may also sell a single unit in a building, or a time-share. All this may be included in the location.

Buyers and sellers: Every name listed as a party to the sale. Court staff often enter several permutations of people’s names, including maiden names and those from prior marriages. Each one shows up separately. We list all of them to aid searching, and because the metadata doesn’t say which name is current at the time of the sale.

Instrument number: The Land Records Division’s unique code used to identify property sales. Use this number to get the original documents in court.

Do you track all types of property transfers?

No; we only track transfers that involve money. That means you can use this search to find a sale that that took place through the execution of an estate, but not the transfer of a property to an heir.

Why can’t I find a sale on the map? It appears in the list.

Our geocoding system relies on addresses. Property transactions for lots without addresses are not mapped.

Why do you only track sales in Orleans Parish?

We would like to publish property sales for the greater New Orleans area, but for now we are restricting this to the city in order to ensure a high-quality service.

Why does this only show sales since Feb. 18, 2014?

The Land Records Division website offers complete data only for sales since then.

Why do I have to take a marketing survey before I use the tool?

The Lens is a nonprofit newsroom, but we still have to pay our employees. We are using Google Consumer Surveys on some portions of our site to defray some of the cost of gathering and publishing this information.

How can I support efforts like this?

The Lens, New Orleans’ only nonprofit newsroom, is supported by people like you. Donate and become a member today.