Most people are not familiar with liens, hence they never check if there is a lien on a property they want to purchase. A lien is a claim against a property. There are several situations that may lead to the imposition of liens. For instance, a municipal corporation can file a lien against an owner for their portion of a public improvement that particularly benefits the owner. It is important when you are interested in a property to find out if there is a lien on it.
Hire a Title Agent or Real Estate Attorney
In most instances, a homeowner’s title insurance policy will make sure that all known liens against a property are addressed. However, there are some instances where there will be unrecorded debt and property issues. In such cases, a municipal lien search can come in handy.
The best route to take when you want accurate lien verifications would be to hire a title agent. You can also work with a real estate attorney. These professionals can research the municipal database on your behalf and ensure that you get accurate lien verifications and property that is free from defects. If you decide to go at it on your own, there is a risk that you might miss something. If this happens, you will risk losing your house or your down payment.
Check County Records
Most liens are a matter of public record. This means that sometimes all you need to do is contact the county recorder, assessor, or clerk’s office in the area where the property you are checking is. This process varies according to the county. However, in most areas, all you need to do is search for property records on the assessor’s website. For this, you will need the address of the property. If you are checking a property that is in a rural setup, you might have to physically visit or call the office. Another effective way would also be to visit the county courthouse for records.
Check for Liens Linked to the Current Owner
In some instances, if there are any liens filed against the current owner, they might affect all the properties owned by that person. In some areas, if an individual has a lien for code violations or unpaid taxes, they might be applied to all the properties held by the violator.
It is important to check for liens before you purchase a property so you can avoid losing your money. Accurate lien verification might seem like an unnecessary step but it will save you a lot of trouble. Be sure to contact an agent right away.