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How to check for liens on a property

A California homeowner who thinks they may have a lien on their property will want to check for one prior to selling. In many cases, a homeowner won't necessarily know if there is a lien without doing a formal search. For instance, those who were involved in new home construction may file a lien without telling the homeowner about it.

It's also possible that a lien was improperly filed on a property or remains after a debt was paid. A lien search is generally free, and it can be conducted by doing a search through a county clerk or recorder. If there are liens on the home, a buyer may want to reconsider making an offer on it. However, it is possible that a seller will have the money available to cover the liens and sell the home with a clear title.

There are many different types of liens that can be placed on a home. Tax liens are levied when a homeowner fails to pay local taxes or has unpaid federal taxes. A mechanic's lien is put on a home when a homeowner fails to pay a contractor for services rendered. A judgment lien may be placed on a home if a person owes another party for unpaid child support or credit card debt.

A lack of disclosure during a real estate transaction may cause issues for a buyer. If there is a lien on a property, the buyer may not be the true owner after closing on a transaction. At a minimum, the buyer may need to pay debts incurred by the seller to obtain a clear title. An attorney could help a buyer resolve issues related to a title prior to buying a property.

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L. Scott Karlin

L. Scott Karlin

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David E. Karlin

David E. Karlin

David E. Karlin is a California attorney with a primary focus on business and real estate, including law and legal issues...

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Michael J. Karlin

Michael J. Karlin

Michael J. Karlin is a Southern California based attorney whose practice primarily focuses on Entertainment Law. Michael began...

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