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How Do I Search for a Lien on a Property in Florida?

May 20, 2023

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In many ways, completing the purchase of a real estate property is the result of a joint effort. Sellers and buyers need to be open to communication to resolve any issue after property titles and other documents have been provided. Likewise, real estate agents, escrow lawyers, and other specialists are also trusted to spot problems that could put a property's ownership into question later on.

A Man Looking At Financial LosesProperty liens are one of these problems, and they need to be resolved in advance for a sale to go through. A property lien can bring financial losses to new owners and lenders, making title searches a standard step to deal with this problem upfront.

Dealing With Property Liens

A lien basically signals that a creditor has made a legal claim on the property. It gives creditors/debtors access to the property until they're paid according to the conditions stipulated on a contract or a similar legal document.

After a lien is placed, the property title is rendered unclear, limiting the owner's use of the property while it acts as collateral to ensure that the debt is paid.

Under its definition of the term, Inman describes common instances of property liens. Some of these claims are placed by mortgage holders who can go as far as to demand that the property is sold to pay the money they're owed when the borrower fails to pay their monthly mortgage. Meanwhile, construction liens can be issued by contractors who are owed the costs of repairs and other home improvement projects.

In theory, property liens aren't hard to find. They're on public record so they can even be located online via a state agency system, or by contacting the county records office where the notice is filed. Federal tax liens pose a similar case where you can look into the records by entering the debtor's name and document number. With that said, instances of hidden claims are not exactly rare. Some liens can slip past a seller's notice while other sellers might intentionally try to conceal their existence from the buyer.

Finding a lien is only part of the process. You need professional assistance to do a thorough title search and deal with any arising issues quickly and effectively. After all, not all claims work under the same parameters, but most of them are bound to put some kind of limitation on your rights as an owner.

A Title Search Can Save You Many Headaches After Buying a New Property

Title searches not only address many factors at once, they can also paint a clear picture for buyers and realtors. Let's address the most pressing concerns that come to mind when conducting a title search.

In the case of unpaid mortgages, the debt effectively puts real estate transactions on hold so the relevant parties can only close the deal once the owed amount is paid. The assistance of a title company can do a lot to expedite the process, encouraging communications between buyers and sellers and keeping close track of the payments, and overseeing the process as the relevant documentation is updated to ensure that the closing is completed with a clear title.

Florida's Municipal Lien in a Real State TransactionThe services of a title and escrow company also come in handy to find municipal liens as many of them aren't recorded in the municipal records. Florida is only one of many states where municipal liens can drive a wedge in a real estate transaction. In short, the responsibility of making up for municipal code violations, unpaid bills, etc. can easily be passed to new owners if these issues aren't resolved before settlement.

Besides liens, other issues could lead to financial losses if left unaddressed. Title searches conducted by a professional can prevent an oversight in the midst of document verifications, property inspections, etc. The company can confirm the accuracy of the legal description and find any bylaws that could keep you from altering the property or using the space in a particular way (like renting a room or using the space in any way that could lead to financial profit).

The main goal of a title search is to verify that the sellers in a real estate transaction are the property's owners. This can help you take action if you find causes of concern. Maybe the property has changed hands too many times, or the title search reveals the name of relatives and heirs that could dispute ownership at some point.

Key Title & Escrow can help you through every step of the way, starting with a thorough title search and assessing all relevant documents in chronological order. From there, our staff can help you take the right measures to protect your investment, putting the best resources at your disposal. Key Title & Escrow gives you the option to issue a title insurance policy or to secure a warranty of title depending on what's revealed during the title search.

When it comes to buying a new property, you shouldn't leave anything to chance. The specialists at Key Title & Escrow will be happy to assist you if you want to have peace of mind before the closing date. We provide all the real estate services you need to complete leading up to a purchase, including the most thorough title searches in the South Florida area. Just call (305) 235-4571 or toll-free at (800) 547-0006 to start getting the best guidance to help you through the process. You can also fill out the contact form on this page if you have any specific questions about title searches and the risks you can avoid by doing due diligence. Do you want a smooth transaction after finding your dream home? Key Title & Escrow is here to help you!
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