Florida is one of the most competitive real estate markets in the United States, which makes selling or buying a property challenging on many levels. A lien against a property can further complicate an already demanding process and directly impact the sale.
To ensure your real estate transaction goes smoothly, it’s essential to conduct a thorough property lien search before a home can be sold. This task requires in-depth knowledge of Florida real estate law and familiarity with resolving unexpected liens that might pop up when the title is researched.
What are Property Liens?
Essentially, a lien is a claim against a property that allows its holder to use it to satisfy an owed debt. Creditors usually attach these to properties used as collateral for loans and other lines of credit. To put one in place, a bank would petition your state or county records agency to allow them to do so to ensure they have a legal right to the property should you not pay your debt. If you abide by the terms of your home loan, then the lien holder would again petition your local government records agency to remove it so you would own your property free and clear.
How Property Liens Impact Real Estate Transactions
Before you begin the process of buying, selling, or even refinancing a Florida home, you need to be sure that the title is clear of liens. If the property still has one attached, the owed debt would have to be settled before its sale. This situation can cause a significant delay while the seller tries to resolve the lien and have it removed.
It is also possible that a lien has been placed on a home without the seller knowing about it. This could be due to their spouse taking out a second mortgage without their knowledge, or a lienholder failed to remove it after a debt was settled.
Conducting a Title Search to Reveal Property Liens
So, how does one find out if a lien is attached to a home they want to buy or sell? A title search is the best approach because it will scout all public records available about the property and determine who legally owns the property and its lien history.
You should also be on the lookout for any title defects that could impede the sale during this step.
At All Florida Title Company, our team will examine your property’s history thoroughly and let you know if we find any of the following:
- Bankruptcy filings
- Incorrect property descriptions
- Probate issues
- Public record errors
- Identity conflicts
- Improperly filed documentation
- Undisclosed heirs
- Past disputes regarding surveys and boundaries
Who Should Conduct a Florida Title Search?
There are no legal licensing requirements to conduct a title search in Florida. Technically, you could do it yourself, though this is ill-advised. There are several areas of information you need to be familiar with requesting. You won’t have access to certified databases filled with real property information and records, unlike a licensed title company.
Hiring a reputable title agent to handle this aspect of your real estate transaction will be one of the wisest decisions you make during the home-buying process. Not only do they have access to decades of property history data, but they are trained to recognize what constitutes a lien and/or title defect. Even better? If led by a real estate attorney, your title company can provide sound guidance on how these issues so that you can still complete your transaction.
Trust All Florida Title Company for Your Property Lien Search
At All Florida Title Company, we provide full-service titling support to streamline Florida real estate transactions. For over a decade, we have provided comprehensive title searches to ensure that properties are free and clear of liens and other defects and are sale-ready.
Before you commit your hard-earned money to a real estate purchase, reach out to our attorney-led team of title experts first. We provide superior service and support from the moment you call us until your closing is complete. Give us a call at 954-566-2200.