If this is something that crosses your mind, then you’ll want to figure out the answer quickly. Sometimes liens can lurk beneath your radar and pop up at the worst times.
So, is there a lien on your house? Read more to learn how to find out by searching your property address and what to do if there is one.
What is a lien?
A lien is a legal notice attached to your property title because of an unpaid debt. It gives the delinquent party a legal claim to a portion of your property when sold.
However, typically when you have a lien on your property, you can’t sell or refinance until the lien is cleared.
There are a few different types of liens:
- Mechanical/contractor liens: Results when a homeowner hires contractors to perform home improvement projects but fails to pay them for their services and materials.
- Tax liens: This type of lien is filed due to unpaid taxes, including local property tax liens and those filed by the IRS for missed federal tax payments.
- Judgment liens: Results from court cases in which it was ruled that you owe money to the other party. They can include settlements related to child support, unpaid credit card debt, and medical bills.
It’s important to note that homeowners won’t always know if a lien is filed against their property.
For example, if you buy a newly built home, and the contractors or subcontractors were never paid for their work, they can file a lien without notifying you.
And like any transaction, mistakes can happen. A lien can be wrongly filed against your property or one that remains on record even though it’s been paid.
Fortunately, a county clerk can solve these mistakes in simple steps.
Property lien search by address
Finding out if there is a lien on your property is simple. Liens are a matter of public record.
Typically, you can search by address with the county recorder, clerk, or associate’s office online. However, this may vary by state, so check with your local county clerk.
You can also hire a title company to do the legwork for you. They will conduct thorough research of your property and determine if there are any hidden liens you don’t know about.
Don’t freak out if you come to find a lien on your home. If the lien has already been paid, you may need to contact the appropriate party with proof in the form of a lien release.
But if the lien hasn’t been paid, you’ll need to sort this out before your home sale goes through.
The good news is that finding out if there are liens on your property is simple. And if you find out early, you can take the steps needed so that it will not hinder selling your home.