How to Find Out if There Are Liens on a Property

How to Find Out if There Are Liens on a Property

When purchasing a property, it is vital to ensure that there are no liens attached to it. A lien is a legal claim by a creditor against a property as collateral for unpaid debts. If there are outstanding liens on a property, it can cause significant issues for the buyer, as they may become responsible for the debts associated with the property. To avoid potential problems, it is essential to conduct a lien search. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to find out if there are liens on a property.

1. Gather property information: Collect all necessary details about the property, including the address, legal description, and owner’s name.

2. Visit the county clerk’s office: Head to the county clerk’s office where the property is located. This office maintains public records, including information on liens.

3. Request a property record search: Ask the clerk to conduct a property record search to determine if any liens have been filed against the property.

4. Examine the records: Carefully review the property records provided by the clerk. Look for any outstanding liens, judgments, or encumbrances on the property.

5. Check online databases: Many counties provide online access to property records. Check if the county where the property is located offers such a service and conduct a search online.

6. Hire a title company: Engage the services of a reputable title company. They specialize in conducting thorough title searches and can provide a detailed report on any liens attached to the property.

7. Obtain a title insurance policy: When purchasing a property, consider obtaining a title insurance policy. This insurance protects the buyer from any undisclosed liens or encumbrances that may surface after the sale.

8. Consult with an attorney: If you are unsure about the lien search process or need assistance interpreting the results, consult with a real estate attorney. They can guide you through the process and ensure your interests are protected.


1. What types of liens can be placed on a property?
– Common types of liens include mortgages, tax liens, mechanic’s liens, and judgment liens.

2. Can liens be removed from a property?
– Yes, liens can be removed by paying off the debt or through a legal process such as a lien release or satisfaction.

3. Can liens affect the sale of a property?
– Yes, liens can prevent the sale of a property until the debt is paid off or resolved.

4. Are all liens recorded publically?
– Most liens are recorded and can be accessed through public records. However, some liens, such as medical liens, may not be recorded.

5. Can liens be negotiated or settled?
– In some cases, liens can be negotiated or settled for a lesser amount. It is best to consult with an attorney or the lienholder to explore such options.

6. Do liens expire?
– Most liens have a specific expiration date. However, it is crucial to check the laws in your jurisdiction, as they may vary.

7. Can liens be transferred to a new owner?
– Liens typically stay with the property, meaning they can transfer to a new owner upon purchase.

8. What happens if liens are discovered after purchasing a property?
– If liens are discovered after purchasing a property, it is advisable to consult with an attorney to determine the best course of action.