A lien can be placed upon real estate for any number of reasons. The most common type of real estate lien is one put in place to secure payment on a home mortgage loan. Another type of lien is one placed on real estate when there are past-due taxes. A lien is attached to real estate when work is performed on that property and the bill for services or materials is unpaid. Understanding the general nature of real estate liens, you may be wondering how to tell if there is a lien against your own home.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Register of deeds information request form
- Copy of lien
Go to the register of deeds (also known as recorder of deeds) in the county in which your home is located. Typically the office of the register of deeds is located in the county courthouse or the county administrative building.
Obtain the form necessary to request information about the status of the title to your home and a copy of any lien placed against your house. The register of deed's staff can search for your title using your name or the common (street) address of your property. It is not necessary for you to have the legal description. Even if your home is located in a rural area, the recorder of deeds' staff will find the title via your name.
Pay any fee required to obtain a copy of the lien. The register of deeds normally charges a fee for duplication based on how many pages the requested document comprises. Provided you do not request a complex search (and determining if there is a lien on your house is not complex) there is no fee for minimal research by the staff.
Access the register of deeds' office via its Internet website as an alternative to going to the office. Many, but not yet all, register of deeds' offices maintain a website through which you can obtain basic information, including information about liens placed on real estate.
Tips and warnings
- If you think a lien has been improperly placed on the title to your home, take immediate action to challenge the placement of the encumbrance on your property. Seriously consider retaining an attorney to assist you in removing the lien. You can obtain the names of attorneys that specialise in real estate issues from both the state and local bar associations.
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