Whether you are planning to sell your home or looking to purchase your first home, one thing to consider is if there are any liens on the property in question. As a home seller, you may be asking yourself – Is there a lien on my home and if so, what can I do about it?
Planning ahead during either the selling or buying process is essential to an enjoyable and successful experience. Liens can cause numerous issues including the possibility of holding up the sale or purchase of a home.
No worries, we are going to explore how to find out if you have a lien on your property before you list your home for sale and help you determine how you can work to get them resolved prior to closing on the sale. Buyers, this article is a great read for you as well. Researching a property prior to making an offer can really help ease any issues ahead of time.
How to Find Out if Your Massachusetts Home Has a Lien
To resolve any issues with possible liens, you must first find out if there are liens that attach to your real estate in question. The great news – liens are of public record. What this means for you – you can easily determine on your own if there are any liens attached to your property.
Here are Three Excellent Options to Find Out if Your House Has Any Liens
- A Local Title Company: Title companies can perform property searches. They do so by checking public records. Any lien that attaches to you or your home will be found during this search process. The title company will be able to provide you copies of said liens in many cases and provide a full title search report. The cost varies, but it is relatively inexpensive and can save you time as well as money in the end.
- County Clerk’s Office: Your local county clerk, recorder or assessor has access to the public records as well. One of these offices is typically where liens are filed. You can speak with a clerk and more often than not they will assist you and let you know if there are any liens attached to your property.
- Online Search: In some cases, you can find out information by doing a search online. You will need the property address and other helpful pieces of information include the county and state the property is located. Some counties will allow you to access their public records for a nominal fee and you can try searching on your own. If you are unsure or you are not finding anything, it is best to try either of the first two options.
If I Have a Lien, How Do I Obtain a Lien Release?
If you find out you have a lien or liens on your house you plan to sell, you will want to clear the lien as soon as possible. Although, if the lien release requires a lot of money to release, you may just have to wait and pay the lien at the closing table. If you are a buyer and you find a lien on a property you are interested in – you should consult your Realtor to see if the lien will be an issue. Remember, sellers are required to clear any and all liens so a buyer can obtain clear title to the property in question (unless purchase agreement is negotiated with other terms).
There are several ways to obtain a release of a lien on a home in Massachusetts. The release depends on the type of lien.
- Pay the Lien Off: The best way and the quickest way to obtain a release of a lien filed against your home is to pay the lien debt. You will need to contact the lienholder or the lienholder’s representative and obtain a payoff in writing. Ensure the payoff letter states upon payment, the lienholder will provide a full release of lien that is signed, notarized and notates any document numbers within the public records related to said lien. Always keep copies and when you receive the release of lien, be sure to file it with your county recorder’s office.
- Partial Release of Lien: In some cases, the lienholder may agree to release your property from the lien while holding you personally responsible for the lien. In these cases, you may have to pay a certain amount of the debt off and the lienholder will provide you a release of lien to file with your county recorder. But, it is important to remember, this does not release you from the debt, the lienholder is only agreeing to release their lien against your property, not you personally.
- Court Order: If you find a lien that you do not feel is legit, then you have the right to fight that lien. In most cases, you will have to obtain a court order to remove the lien and claim that it is not a valid lien. This may be in cases of fraud or other inappropriate means.
- Limitations on Time: There is such a thing as a statute of limitations on certain types of liens. In time, many liens expire and are no longer valid. A title company can help you determine if you are unsure.
- Negotiate the Lien: Don’t be afraid to ask a lienholder or creditor if they are willing to negotiate the debt. It is possible they will take less than you owe to release the lien.
In all cases, you want to ensure you will receive a release of the lien that can be filed with your local county recorder’s office.
I Have Liens, But I Need to Sell My Home Now
Sometimes liens happen and they happen to the best of us. Whether it is due to taxes or credit card debt, it is understandable if you need to sell your home now and for the best possible price. We purchase homes in Massachusetts in all sorts of conditions and situations. The best part – we pay cash and close quickly. We know how to deal with liens and a variety of issues, so feel free to reach out to us today and see how we can help you sell your Massachusetts home fast.