How Do I Find Liens Against Real Property?
When looking to purchase a house, it is crucial for a buyer to do their due diligence in finding any lien on a potential home. If the property does have a lien, the home may be difficult and more expensive to buy and/or sell the property in the future.
What is a Lien?
It is important to understand the types of liens, who can record a lien on real property, and how liens may affect a real property owner. Generally, liens on real property are legal notices of financial claims from a third-party company or individual. This means that the property may not be sold or refinanced until these payments are made in full and cleared.
Liens usually fall into one of two categories: voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary liens include the contractually agreed upon financial claims, like a mortgage. These liens generally do not affect the property or property owner negatively. Conversely, involuntary liens are financial claims placed on the property as a consequence of unpaid debts, like a tax or home improvement bill, often referred to as mechanic’s liens. These liens will negatively affect the property and are more difficult to have cleared.
How Do I Find Out If I Have a Lien Against Me?
Fortunately, liens are public records, so learning whether or not a property has a lien is a simple process. By visiting the county recorder, assessor’s office, or clerk’s website, a simple search of the property address will reveal any existing liens.
If there is an involuntary lien on the property, it is crucial to ensure that this lien will be cleared by the time of sale. This can be accomplished by the buyer and seller working together to either prove that the debt has been paid off with a lien release form, ensure the seller has enough to pay off the remaining balance, and/or split the cost of the lien. If this is not achieved, the buyer may need to back out of the sale.
At The Saade Law Firm, P.A., our team of experienced attorneys thoroughly understand how liens are created and the various means of clearing them. By assessing unique individual situations we will provide legal advice backed by research and ethics to guide buyers and/or sellers through their options to make the right decision and ensure that anyone who is owed money is rightfully compensated and that the lien is released. To learn more about how the attorneys at The Saade Law Firm, P.A. can assist with mechanics, tax, or judgment liens please call our office at (786) 633-1114.