When you’re entering the world of real estate, it’s essential to understand the nuts and bolts of property transactions. Among the fundamental concepts is the difference between a property address and a parcel number. But, do you buy a property address or a parcel number in real estate? We’re going to delve into this question and help you grasp these integral aspects of the property acquisition process.

Property Address Vs. Parcel Number

The property address and parcel number both serve as unique identifiers of a piece of property. However, they have different purposes and implications in real estate transactions. The property address, commonly referred to as the street address, is a human-readable identifier, typically used for wayfinding or postal services. If you want to check the Maricopa County Assessor’s site for parcel numbers, click on the link.

On the other hand, the parcel number, also known as the lot number or the property identification number (PIN), is a numerical or alphanumeric code assigned by the local tax authorities. This unique code helps track land ownership, property boundaries, and tax assessments.

What Are You Buying: Property Address or Parcel Number?

Technically, when you buy real estate, you’re not purchasing a property address or a parcel number. Instead, you are buying a legal interest in a defined piece of real estate, identified by both the parcel number and the property address. These two identifiers are attached to the property and transfer along with it during a sale.

In essence, the parcel number and the property address are like the DNA of a property. They’re used to distinguish it from millions of other properties and provide vital information that helps inform your purchase decision.

Importance of Parcel Number in Real Estate Transactions

While property addresses are essential for practical purposes, parcel numbers are arguably more critical during real estate transactions. This is because a parcel number offers more specific details about the property.

A parcel number can reveal the property’s history, including prior owners, property taxes, any liens on the property, and zoning details. These facts are instrumental in assessing the value of the property and any potential legal implications.

So, while you may initially search for properties using a property address, the parcel number becomes pivotal during the due diligence phase. You could think of the parcel number as the key to a property’s ‘hidden’ history.

The Role of Property Address

Although the parcel number holds significant weight in real estate transactions, the property address plays its own crucial role. For example, the location—represented by the address—can significantly impact the property’s value. Properties in sought-after neighborhoods or with easy access to amenities often command higher prices.

Additionally, the property address is used for everyday navigation, mail delivery, and emergency services. It’s the most common way people identify and locate properties.


In real estate, you’re neither buying a property address nor a parcel number. You’re purchasing a legal interest in a piece of land identified by these two crucial elements. Both play integral roles in the transaction process, with the parcel number providing detailed property history and the address signifying its location.

When contemplating a real estate purchase, ensure you understand the value of both these identifiers. They are your keys to making an informed decision in the vibrant and complex world of real estate.

Keywords: Real Estate, Property Address, Parcel Number, Real Estate Transactions, Property Identification Number, Property History, Property Value, Legal Interest, Due Diligence, Property Acquisition Process.

About the Author
Bryan Watkins is a Principal and co-owner of LRA Real Estate Group LLC, located in Mesa AZ. He is a ‘hunter-gatherer’ of wise advice, smart advisors and savvy clients. Search available LRA commercial listings today. You can reach Bryan at:  bryan@LRAphx.com or 480.734.7878.
Bryan Watkins, LRA Real Estate Principal