What you are looking for is called a "Farm list" and it will show all of the hotels/motels in a certain county and the owners name and mailing address, assessed value of the land and improvements, etc. Up until 6 months ago, you could go to most any title company and request this information and they would provide it free, hoping that when you decide to buy a property you will use their escrow/title services. Unfortunately, there have been major changes to the laws in California regarding what a title company can give out to a client, so it is nearly impossible to get a farm list now. As was previously mentioned, if you have a specific property in mind, you can go to the county recorder and view the recorded documents on a property. For example, I recently heard of a hotel in my County (Contra Costa) that was in default. I can no longer get useful information from my title company so I went to the recorders office and they have 20+ computers available and you type in the address, etc and you can view the docs right there for free. You could also do this on the web by accessing the website of the county recorder, but you can't view the docs until you purchase them, so it's hard to figure out which ones to request until you see them. You don't want to order some of these docs over their website, as a deed of trust can sometimes be upwards of 30 pages!! If you do go in person, you can view for free or pay about $1 per page to get copies printed, at least in Contra Costa County.
If you have any questions or need any help with it, feel free to send me a note
Jul 1, 2009