Comments for Can I Find Out If a Lien Is Attached To A House I Am Considering Buying?

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Yes, You Can Discover Undisclosed Liens Before Contracting To Buy Real Estate
by: Lanard

Hi Walter - you asked, and I paraphrase:

Is it possible there are other debts on your friends property, such as liens? Yes, it's very possible and not all that unlikely and is a consideration for any real estate that you wish to buy.

How do I discover whether a lien is attached, and is it possible to find out the details of it? The answers here are yes and yes and you can either use a Title Insurance Company, or a Real Estate Attorney. Below are a couple of ways to go about it.

1. Go to either the Title Insurance Company, or the Real Estate Attorney, and tell them that you'd like for them to do a Title Insurance Search on a home that you're interested in buying.

If you're not ready to buy the property yet tell them that you don't want Title Insurance issued at the time of your request, but that you do want to know the specific liens and encumbrances on it.

They'll probably charge a fee for doing it, but it should be a discounted fee that is substantially less than what a Title Insurance Policy fee would be.

2. If you're ready to jump on the property, subject to it having a clear title (meaning that all liens and encumbrances are taken care of at closing) then write a contract subject to that condition.

This is standard language for many real estate contracts and I can't imaging it being a lot different in Maryland.

Still, it's wise to have a licensed real estate agent, or attorney prepare the contract to make sure it requires the seller to deliver a free and clear title to the property; or else all bets are off without prejudice to you (meaning that if you put a deposit down on the property it'll be returned to you.)

You didn't ask, but I'll tell you anyway...never give a seller deposit money. Instead, place it in escrow with either said licensed real estate agent, attorney, or Title Insurance Company. It'll be easier to get your money back if the owner can't give you a clear title.

This isn't legal advise..just useful information. If you want legal advise please consult an attorney to make sure your interests are protected before signing a contract of any kind.

Thanks for the question. Please write back and update us (are you going to buy the property, did you buy the property, did you use a title company, did they give you a good price on the Title Search, etc.).

Lanard

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