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.