We do quite a few title searches every day in our office. In its most basic form, a title search on real estate means that we search all applicable public records to determine what has been publically filed regarding a piece of real estate. Quite often there is some type of lien against the property that comes up. Usually, this lien is simply the seller's mortgage, however, that is not always the case. It is never fun to make a surprise a seller with news that there is a lien filed against him, which will need to be released prior to closing on the sale.
So what do you do if you get one of these calls? First of all, don't panic. It's quite possible that the lien is not yours if you were not aware of it. For example, a court judgment could be issued against someone with a name similar to yours. These judgments are then recorded and will show up on our title search. For example, if there has been a judgment for $5,000.00 declared against a woman named "Stacy S. Smith" in your county and your name is "Stacy M. Smith," this will probably show up on our title search because it is possible that this is the same person. We will simply compare your social security number to that of the true defendant to clear you of that lien. Thankfully, this is often the end of that unexpected lien for a seller.
If the lien does belong to you, there are several routes. First of all, there is a small possibility that the lien has expired. Depending on the type of lien, it must be renewed or re-recorded every so often. If it is not re-recorded in a timely manner, the lien does not apply to your real estate. If it has not expired, you will probably have two options: 1) pay the lien (we can obtain the payoff for you from the creditor) or 2) hire us to negotiate the lien on your behalf. Negotiating a lien, especially an old lien, can sometimes decrease the amount you would have to pay for the creditor to release the lien. If the lien is valid and yours, it will need to be released by the creditor before we can close.
No matter what pops up on your title search, we are here to help guide you and make your closing as smooth as possible.
If have a question or concern please contact us about any communication you have received asking for payment. Or any other legal matter feel free to email us or call.
CONTACT AN ATTORNEY or CALL US: 615.444.2345