Public Records Online
The following is a list of web sites that provide public records, either for free or for a small fee. Remember for many of the local government agencies, there will be a similar agency in other cities or states where you can do further research.
There are numerous online telephone directories you can use to search for current information on individuals. Try the local telephone company's search, Dex Knows Local Search, or try the library's subscription database, Reference USA, which requires a city resident library card when used outside the library.
- Reference USA's Business Search provides business contact information, personnel, and sometimes company profiles and public filings for larger businesses. You must have a valid city resident library card when using this outside the library
- The Better Business Bureau has reliability reports on companies in the U.S. and Canada
- Washington State Corporation Records searches incorporated businesses, including those that are no longer active. Advanced search allows for name or business category search. See this LLRX article for links to other states' corporation records searches
- Department of Revenue's Business Records Database will search for all businesses that have paid taxes in Washington State going back at least 20 years
- Labor & Industries' Contractor's Database allows searches for contractors, electricians, or plumbers who have been licensed in Washington, including their insurance status and if they have complaints against them
- The Department of Licensing Business and Professional License Search shows the licensing status of such professions as engineers, real estate agents, and cosmetologists
- For health professions, see the Department of Health Credential Search, and for insurance agencies and agents, see the state Insurance Commissioner
- Donating to a charity? Check out the Better Business Bureau's Charity index and the Secretary of State's Charities and Commercial Fundraisers database
Real Estate Records
- The Spokane County Assessor's Office Parcel Search allows searches by address for property tax and valuation information
- Zillow.com is a commercial service that let's you compare prices for homes in a neighborhood, including homes recently sold and currently for sale