Address Lookup | Free Tools, Types, Uses, and Resources
An Address Lookup is the process of checking an address against an authoritative database to verify if the address is real and mailable. Performing an address lookup may also provide additional data points, like whether the address is residential or commercial, is vacant, or is incomplete.
While this definition is among the most common for address lookup, here are other things people are trying to find when they Google "Address Lookup":
- Reverse Address Lookup: An address lookup with the intent to find out who lives at a provided address.
- Parcel Data Lookup: Address lookup to find data about a property such as acreage, tax class, zoning, land value, census data, boundaries, data about the structure, etc.
- People Search: An address lookup that uses a person's name, city, and state in order to find matching addresses where the person may live, work, or receive mail.
Smarty specializes in address lookups to see if addresses are real. Both for addresses in the United States and worldwide. We offer several ways to access our address lookup data:
|US & International SINGLE Address Lookup Tool||US & International BULK Address Lookup Tool||United States Address Lookup API||International Address Lookup API|
In this article, we'll cover:
- Types of Common Address Lookup and Tools
- USPS Address Lookup
- Address Lookup APIs
Types of Common Address Lookup and Tools
You've heard the saying "Time is money." It's true. Everything you do requires an investment of one or the other —and sometimes both. So, to help you save time and money with your address lookups, we've compiled the following list of common address lookup options and the information they provide. We've even connected you to providers in the event you don't happen to need the types of lookup Smarty offers.
Verification Address Lookup
Verification address lookups allow you to quickly and easily determine if an address exists. The process also corrects misspellings, reformats the address to the standardized format of the local postal authority, and can append missing information such as the ZIP+4 Code. Addresses searched in this way are determined to be valid or invalid. A valid address is simply one that is real and mailable.
An invalid address could be one that is fake, incorrect, incomplete, or not registered to receive mail (e.g., because the address is too new).
Address verification is important for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest is to save businesses money. Businesses that mail ads, coupons, etc, to potential customers, want to ensure they are getting as much exposure as possible for their money. With Smarty's single address lookup and bulk address verification system, businesses can check the validity of their list to make sure they're not wasting money sending mail to invalid or vacant addresses.
Speaking of saving money, validating addresses and presorting your mail is one of the requirements for getting bulk shipping discounts. Similarly, companies that send installers or technicians to homes benefit from validating the destination address to prevent technicians from getting lost or losing time searching for the right address. That helps them save money in terms of persons-hours as well as helping to prevent frustrated customers.
Another way businesses save money through address verification is by cleaning and standardizing their address databases. This eliminates duplicate customer records to provide for a more accurate meta-analysis. More accurate data helps ensure marketing budgets are more efficient, ad spending is more accurate, expansion is more targeted, and much more.
Cleaning and standardizing database information helps businesses and other entities merge their datasets. For example, whenever someone purchases a home or other property, registers a company, participates in the census, is arrested, or even receives a traffic ticket, they need to provide an address. The problem is that the address fields for these various databases are not consistent, which makes comparing or matching them nearly impossible. But, by validating and standardizing the addresses in these databases, each person is identified with a unique value. Once each person has a unique value, the options for using the corrected information are endless.
Smarty helps these major data aggregators to validate billions of addresses. See how we can help you validate and standardize your data.
Reverse Address Lookup
A reverse address lookup allows you to locate information about the current resident, previous resident, current property owner, and other data using nothing but a structure's address. This makes it fast and easy to connect an address to a name for real estate, advertising, employee relocation efforts, arranging reunions, verifying online dating profiles, and much more.
Whitepages.com is one of the most popular reverse address lookup platforms and uses address data from Smarty in their results. Beyond address data, Whitepages offers a lot of additional information in their results. A premium subscription unlocks everything from phone numbers (land and cell) to other properties owned, public criminal records, licenses, permits, and a host of further details.
People Search Address Lookup
But what if you have a name only and no address? No worries. A people search address lookup allows you to get the address you need, plus information on relatives, age, property details, and more.
Granted, you may need to sift through a few results to find the one you're looking for, but it's much faster and more accurate than just putting a person's name in a search engine and hoping to find them. Knowing the person's city and state can find relevant results in Whitepages even faster.
Parcel Data Address Lookup
This type of address lookup provides metadata about the address in question. For example, you can find out what county the address is in, what school district it belongs to, if it is in foreclosure, what its property lines look like, the property tax imposed on it, sales tax from its last sale, and hundreds of other data points. The applicable use cases are limitless.
To perform an address search like this, simply enter "parcel boundary lookup," "school district lookup," "foreclosure lookup," or a similar term that reflects the actual data point you need in your preferred search engine.
USPS Address Lookup
Many people are familiar with and use the address lookup tool the USPS offers. The tool is a good option as it is easy to use, free, and doesn't require any setup.
The tool also returns addresses in standard USPS format, which helps ensure mail pieces are processed smoothly. Finally, you can integrate USPS Web Tools® into a website for free —if you have the know-how.
But as great as the USPS address lookup tool is, it's not without limitations. Here are a few things to be aware of if you're going to use it:
- Address entry is laborious —You must enter your address in multiple fields and click various buttons before you get the info you're searching. In contrast, with Smarty, you can enter the address in one field and click one button. Done.
- USPS doesn't offer an address autocomplete —This just means your entries are begging for more typos, time, and frustration.
- The USPS Database is missing millions of addresses —There are over 15 million valid, non-postal addresses in the United States. That's a big crowd you could be missing out on.
- The Postal Service offers no international address data —The name says it all: United States Postal Service. If you need international information and validation, you'll have to look elsewhere. Hint: give Smarty a try.
- USPS address lookups lack useful metadata —Smarty offers 14 more metadata fields than the USPS tool, such as County FIPS Code, EWS match, Congressional district, time zones, and more.
- Address validation by the USPS has strict terms of service —The legal stuff no one looks at? Turns out it's important. Check out this article about USPS Address Verification for more information on their terms of service.
Address Lookup APIs
An address lookup API is an Application Programmatic Interface (API) that processes addresses. The address API verifies, standardizes, and normalizes address information. This allows for more accurate address information, which means more precise delivery and more money for your business. It's a win for everyone.
There are a lot of address APIs that can be quite useful to you. They include:
- Address Correction APIs—This takes improperly formatted addresses, or those with typos, and matches them with a validated address.
- USPS Address Validation API—The official database for the United States, the USPS API makes its information available to the public. However, their system leaves much to be desired, which is where Smarty really shines.
- Google Address Validation API—One of the most used address validation tools on the internet, even though it doesn't actually validate addresses. It approximates the location of an address and does that very well, but it doesn't let you know if the address is real.
- Address Standardization APIs—These APIs take an address and make it standardized to USPS requirements for US addresses, or standardize it to the local postal authority for the country of the address location. Google and many other address services don't do that. Smarty does.
- ZIP Code APIs—Contrary to common belief, ZIP Codes and postal codes are not the same thing. ZIP Codes is the name for the postal code system created by the USPS for the United States. The term "postal codes" is the blanket term used for codes that postal systems across the world use that aid in sorting mail. ZIP Code APIs return relevant USPS ZIP Codes for an entered city and state or matching city and state combinations with the entry of a ZIP Code. Other data such as ZIP Code type, county FIPS Code, county name, and lat long coordinates can also be provided. Geocoding APIs—These tools provide the latitude and longitude coordinates of an address so you can locate it precisely on a map or on GPS.
To dive deeper into the importance of these address APIs and what they provide, see this Address APIs article. Or, if you want to enjoy the benefits of all of them, simply perform an address lookup with Smarty. It really is that easy.
As you can see, there are many ways to look up an address. There are many benefits to doing so. And there are many free services you can use. So regardless of what your specific needs are, performing address lookups can be useful. With Smarty, you get ludicrous speed, easy-to-understand documentation, high accuracy, 100% uptime, and simple implementation.
Plus, you can talk to an address expert when you have questions. From now on, all your address lookups can be better than good. They can be amazing! Take our address lookup tools for a spin. Then sign up for a free trial.