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Lien records are created, stored, and maintained by the courts or a creditor who holds the lien. The challenge is that unless you specifically know what entity holds a lien, they can be quite difficult to find. You could waste hours trying to find out if a piece of property or asset has a lien on it. Using InfoTracer’s powerful search engine, you can find millions of lien records when available within minutes using just the person’s name and state or case number. With our lien reports, you can find the following information when available:
A lien is a legal claim over an asset held as collateral. For example, whenever a lender provides funding for the borrower to buy a car, house, or other significant assets, they place a lien on the property so that if the property owner defaults on the loan and doesn’t pay the creditor back, the financier can sell the property and collect their funds. Liens come from creditors and court judgments. Liens stay in place until the entire debt is paid off.
A lien provides the creditor with legal rights to seize the property should the debtor default on their loan. The owner of the personal property cannot sell the asset without consent from the lien holder. For example, if someone has a mortgage on a piece of property, they cannot sell it without the lien holder being paid off in the process.
Most liens are consensual liens where the creditor offers the debtor money to purchase an asset. The asset is used as collateral for the loan, and then the buyer agrees to pay back the loan over time, and the lien will be removed.
Some liens, however, are not voluntary liens. When a debtor fails to pay back a loan, the creditor may take them to court, and the judge can place a lien on the debtor’s property, bank accounts, or even paychecks.
Liens are public records, and anyone can search for a lien on a piece of property or through the owner.
Liens may be initiated by the government, courts, financial organizations, and even small businesses. There are many different types of liens. Some include:
Bank liens are when a bank or other financial institution provides money for someone to buy real property like a car or house. If the buyer continues to pay the bank each month, the bank will remove the lien when the loan is paid off. If, however, the owner does not reimburse the bank, the bank can seize the property and sell it to get their money back.
A judgment lien is placed on an asset or piece of property by the courts after legal action. Typically, these are designed to force repayment of a loan. An example might be an auto loan. This type is an involuntary lien.
A mechanic’s lien is placed on a piece of property by a contractor if the owner fails to pay them for work completed. Usually, a contractor will take the owner to court, and if the judge finds in favor of the plaintiff/contractor, a mechanic’s lien (also called a construction lien) may result. In some cases, the property may be auctioned off to pay the contractor.
A tax lien may be placed on property and assets by a government tax authority when someone doesn’t pay their taxes. Liens for unpaid taxes may also be called statutory liens. The IRS and municipalities often use tax liens to collect back taxes. There are federal tax liens, as well as state income tax liens.
An example of a real estate lien is a mortgage lien. The lien is an agreement that the buyer will pay the mortgage on time and in full. If the homeowner fails to pay after a specific amount of time, the mortgage holder may seize the property and sell it to get their money back.
A first-lien refers to real estate. For example, if a homeowner has a mortgage and then applies for a home equity or refinancing loan if anything goes wrong and the homeowner cannot pay, the house will be sold, and the first lien will be paid off first. The original mortgage will be paid from the sale of the home and then any subsequent loans.
Depending on the chapter they file, the courts may allow creditors to place liens on specific assets and property to motivate the individual to pay back their debts when someone files for bankruptcy. Items of value are used as collateral in a bankruptcy filing and may be subject to liens or sale to liquidate cash.
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You can find liens through the county recorder’s office, court clerk, assessor’s website, a title company, or using an InfoTracer search online.
A lien search uncovers information about someone’s liens, assets, taxes, bankruptcies, creditors, and more.
Liens are public records. Therefore, you can contact your county clerk’s office to inquire about a piece of property and any liens. You could also check with the state’s department of revenue or other online websites and resources.
A municipal lien search will show unrecorded property issues not found using a conventional title search. It includes code violations, unpaid utility bills, property taxes, special assessments, and open or expired permits associated with any commercial or residential real estate. One may be used to verify a release of lien before the sale of a piece of property. A property must have a clear title before it can be purchased or sold.
A lien on a car is a legal claim by the auto loan company where if the car owner defaults on the loan, they can take possession of the vehicle and sell it to get their money back. You can check with your local department of motor vehicles (DMV) office to see if a car has a lien on it. Or you can try an InfoTracer search and enter the vehicle identification number (VIN) or plate number.
If you owe money to a creditor, they can appeal to the courts to put a lien on your house until you pay the debt. Your house could be used as collateral to secure the debt until it is fully paid off, or they have the right to sell your home and take the cash if you do not pay your loan.
It means you owe some creditor a sum of money, and they have used your house as collateral. You cannot sell the house without their consent and paying them off first. They have the right to seize the property and sell it for cash if you do not pay what you owe them.
A lien release is a public records document that verifies the lien on your property was released, usually, after you pay off the debt or mortgage.
A lien waiver is a legal document where one party gives up the right to put a lien on the other party’s property regardless of some future event.
Homes that have tax liens on them and have been seized are often an excellent purchase for homebuyers looking for a deal. To find tax lien properties, you can contact your county tax collector for a list of properties with tax liens on them up for sale. You may also consult real estate listings and search for properties being sold by the government or creditors. Your real estate agent might know of some as well.