When you purchase a piece of real estate, you always have to check whether there is a property lien in place. Too many people forget that this is an important part of what they should do. Sellers will usually say that there are no liens, but they may not even realize one is in place, or they may be flat out lying. You must, if you want to purchase a property, make checking for liens one of your top priorities. Once you buy a property, the lien becomes yours, which means that you will have to pay for it as well. While this in itself may not be a problem, the danger is that whoever the debt belongs to may force you to sell your property.
Liens are mainly a matter of public record. As a result, you should be able to find them quite easily. Let’s take a look at the three ways how to make sure a property is safe to buy.
1. The Internet
If you want to look into a property or piece of land, the internet should be the first place you turn to. There are various government websites where lien information is contained. You should have a website for a county assessor, clerk, or recorder, which should be your first port of call. You only need the address of the property, and the name of the owner.
2. Local Government Offices
Your county may not have gone fully online yet. In this case, you can go see the office of the assessor, clerk, or recorder in person. If you do this, then staff will be there to help you find what you are looking for. Additionally, they may advise you on important issues such as other pieces of information you could use to find more details about a property.
3. A Title Company
Last but not least, you could turn to title companies. They are there for those who either don’t know where to look, or who simply don’t have the time to do this research. Title companies verify who owns the land and go through all the different public records. Additionally, they will check whether there are any back taxes owed, or whether other liens are in place.
When you start to find information on a property or piece of land that you are interested in, make sure you have the right basic information. If, for instance, you make a spelling mistake in the name of the owner or the street address, you will be provided with the wrong details. If you find that a lien is indeed in place and you haven’t purchased it yet, then you must speak to an experienced lawyer or real estate professional about how to proceed.
By researching a potential real estate purchase, you essentially protect your money. You don’t want to have to pay debt that doesn’t belong to you, after all. Hence, make sure you do your research and protect yourself.