Whether you're looking to buy a piece of land or choosing a condo in central Asia, there are certain things you need to be aware of. Liens are one of those things. Liens can severely delay or even prevent the sale of a property, so make sure you know what they are and how to uncover them before you start searching the market. This article will give you an overview of liens.
When borrowers take out a loan that requires collateral or security, what most often happens is that they will use their home. If that loan has not been replayed, the lender can impose a lien on the property which prevents the homeowner from selling the home and collecting the profits from the sale until the loan is paid off. Liens can be imposed by anyone you owe money to. They can also be imposed on anything with worth, not just houses. You can find them on cars, boats, even farm equipment.
What this means for you as a home buyer is that if the house you choose has a lien against it, the deed for the home cannot be transferred into your name until the debt has been paid off. If you are not aware of the lien, you might hand over the agreed upon price to the seller only to find when you go to register the deed that you do not really own the house because the seller has not used the money to pay off his or her creditors.
In order to impose a lien, the creditor must go to the government and pay a fee to have the lien imposed, which means the lien becomes public record. You can find out if the real estate you want to buy has a lien recorded against it by going online or going into the records department and doing a title search, which usually only costs a few dollars. If there is a lien against the property, it will turn up in the search along with the details of the debt that is owed. Never go ahead with a sale without doing a title search.
If there is a lien on the house you want to buy, this doesn't mean you cannot buy them. It just means that in order to make sure you get clear title on the property, you have to pay some or all of the price of the home to the lender. This should be a three way discussion between you, the seller, and the lender (or your lawyers).