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Property Lien Search

A property lien search should be one of the first things you do if you’re buying property on your own. If you’re working through a real estate agent, you’ll want to make sure that they take this crucial step before anything else regarding the deal takes place. You’ll be looking for any debts that were secured with the property when conducting the property lien search. This can make it a bit complex, as there may be both private and public agencies involved that could have placed a lien on the property at some point.

If you’re working with a realtor but want to do this yourself, ask them which agency you’ll have to visit to get the property lien search taken care of. Most often, this will involve a trip to the county offices. You may also be able to conduct the property lien search online. This can save quite a bit of time, though it may still be necessary to pay for hard copies of any information you find. Not all county databases serve up a complete record and, though you may be able to get the broadest information, specifics may involve paying a fee.

The property lien search will reveal whether there are any tax debts owed on the property. The county will most certainly have this information. You should be able to find out the exact amount of the lien from the county. The key to doing all of this is having accurate information to begin with. There are several ways you can do a property lien search and, depending upon the location of the property and the history of the town, it may involve a bit of work.

You’ll need the exact location of the property to conduct the lien search. This may seem obvious—most people show up with the address—but the address isn’t always enough to get an accurate record. Street names change over time and, in some cases, the property may actually take up a few different addresses. You should be able to use the county’s GIS system to get the most accurate information about the property. The county staff can usually help you, as well, but the more information you go in with the better they’ll be able to help with your property lien search. This information is particularly important with some types of sales.

Always conduct a property lien search if you’re dealing with a very motivated seller. In some cases, they may not be straight with you about why they’re so motivated and large debts may well be a part of it. If someone else has a legitimate claim to a percentage of the property’s value, then you may have a problem on your hands when you try to buy. The property lien search ensures that you have all the information you need when you come to the table, whether it was shared with you willingly or whether you had to go find it yourself.

Find out more about Property Tax Assessor and read about Property Title Insurance.

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