Before you buy a house, it’s a good idea to ask about liens against the property. Real estate liens are a common way for creditors to eventually collect what is owing to them. If a property still has liens against it when you take over ownership, that debt can be transferred to you. Not only that, but a home with liens against it can be near-impossible to sell in the future.
There are two types of liens that can be placed on properties: Voluntary liens and involuntary liens.
Voluntary liens are what the homeowner knowingly agrees to, such as the mortgage. In these cases, there is usually a contract involved, and there is no ill-will against the property.
With involuntary property liens, a homeowner owes money that remains unpaid. This could be anything from a home improvement bill to taxes. These liens are all placed on public record, and they can affect a homeowner’s ability to sell their property in the future.
In most cases, home buyers will not agree to purchase a home until the liens have been paid and lifted from the home.
Find Out About Liens
If you want to know if there are liens against your property, there are few things you can do to find out if any exist. The following are some of your options:
● Check for Records Online
There are a few different things you can research online, including the county recorder, assessor, or clerk’s office. Once on the correct webpage, you can enter the address of the property in question or the name of the property owner.
If there is no information on these websites, you’ll have to move on to some other options.
● Visiting the Offices in Person
Not all of the information online is up-to-date, and some information has yet to be uploaded to county websites. In these cases, it’s helpful to actually visit the offices in person to speak to a representative.
Visit your local county recorder, assessor, or clerk’s office, and speak to someone directly about what you’re looking for. In some instances, they will have the information you need in the form of a hard copy. If not, they should be able to advise you or point you in the right direction.
● Working with a Title Company
If you want to be sure that there are no liens against your house, working with a trusted title search company can be very helpful. Aside from doing title searches, companies like EasyTitleSearch can also assist you with liens searches for the property you’re interested in.
Working with a title rep is a very good idea. They can ensure that the property you want to purchase has been properly passed down and that it will now legitimately belong to you.
Better Safe Than Sorry
While most homeowners will expose any liens on the property before selling, there are some who will conveniently forget to indulge these details. Even if you trust a home seller, it’s important to perform a lien’s check regardless.
This is the only way to be sure that you’re not signing up for anything you’re not actually aware of. Because there are a handful of ways to search for potential liens, there is no reason to skip this step. In the end, the extra work will be worth it, in case liens do exist.