How To Find Out What Liens Are On a Property
Property liens can be problematic for a wide variety of reasons. They tend to be discovered during the sales process and must be cleared before the sale will be allowed to proceed. Some jurisdictions will automatically notify property owners when a lien is filed, but this isn't always the case. If you think your property might have a lien on it, then here's how you can find out.
1. Check Your County Recorder or County Clerk's Records.
Many of these records are online so they can be instantly searched. You'll need to find the specific county website that applies to you. If you cannot locate the website, then you'll need to stop by the office in person and ask for the records that pertain to your property. Online options are usually free, but in-person options tend to have an associated fee.
2. Look At Your Parcel.
Whether you're looking at the paper file or an online listing, you'll need to go through the Parcel ID to look at the history of the property. There will likely be a heading called “Liens" to locate. It may be under the “Book” heading or could be listed under property taxes. Select the tabs or open the file up to see if there are any liens that are listed.
3. No Liens Listed Doesn't Mean They Don't Exist.
Liens can sometimes exist on a property even if they aren't in their proper place because of a misfiled document. Go through the entire “Book” section of the file and look for specific language about a lien that may be present to see what turns up. Look for anything that may be associated with a creditor, even if it doesn't actually include the term “Lien.”
4. Use A Search Service.
Many online real estate agencies today offer a free property report for prospective buyers to determine if there is a lien present. Just pull up the property in question and you'll get the information that you need. Knowing how to find out what liens are on a property will help to save you a headache later on during the sales or ownership process if one exists. Use these tips to avoid surprises and you'll be able to find and/or clear a lien effectively.
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