How to Find Lien on Property

How to Find a Lien on Property

A lien on a property can pose significant problems for homeowners. It is a legal claim against a property that provides security for the payment of a debt or obligation. If you are planning to buy a property or want to ensure the property you own is free from any liens, it is essential to know how to find a lien on property. Here are some steps to guide you through the process:

1. Start with the County Recorder’s Office: Begin your search at the county recorder’s office where the property is located. They maintain public records, including property deeds, mortgages, and liens. You can visit the office in person or search their online database.

2. Use Online Services: Many websites offer paid services to search for property liens nationwide. These services often provide comprehensive reports that include all recorded liens, judgments, and other encumbrances against the property.

3. Hire a Title Company: Title companies specialize in conducting property searches and can provide a detailed report on any liens or encumbrances on a property. They charge a fee for their services but can save you time and effort.

4. Hire a Real Estate Attorney: If you are unsure about conducting the search yourself, hiring a real estate attorney is another option. They have the knowledge and expertise to perform a thorough search and advise you on any potential issues.

5. Check with the IRS: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) files federal tax liens against properties for unpaid taxes. You can search the IRS database online or contact them directly to inquire about any outstanding tax liens.

6. Check with the Local Court: If a creditor has filed a lawsuit against a property owner, a lien may be placed on the property. Searching local court records can provide information on any pending or past lawsuits that may affect the property.

7. Consult a Title Insurance Company: Title insurance companies have access to extensive databases and can conduct a comprehensive search to identify any liens on a property. They also offer title insurance policies to protect against undiscovered liens.

8. Obtain a Property Lien Search Service: Some companies specialize in conducting property lien searches. They research public records, tax records, and other relevant sources to provide a detailed lien search report.


1. How much does it cost to find a lien on a property?
The cost can vary depending on the method you choose. Online services typically charge a fee per search or offer subscription plans. Hiring a title company or attorney can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the complexity of the search.

2. Are all liens recorded in county records?
Yes, liens are typically recorded in county records to provide public notice and protect the rights of creditors.

3. Can liens be removed?
Yes, liens can be removed by satisfying the debt or through legal action. Once a lien is paid off, a lien release or satisfaction should be recorded to clear the property’s title.

4. Do liens expire?
Liens can have expiration dates, but they can also be renewed or extended by the creditor. It is important to verify the status of any liens and their expiration dates.

5. Can liens be negotiated or settled?
In some cases, creditors may be willing to negotiate or settle a lien. It is recommended to consult with an attorney or a debt settlement professional to explore options.

6. Can liens affect property sale or refinancing?
Yes, liens can complicate property sales or refinancing. It is crucial to resolve any outstanding liens before proceeding with such transactions.

7. Can liens be inherited?
In certain circumstances, liens can be inherited if they are attached to the property. It is advisable to consult with an attorney to understand the implications.

8. Can I sell a property with a lien?
It is possible to sell a property with a lien, but the lien must be paid off or resolved during the sales process. The proceeds from the sale are typically used to satisfy the lien.