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What is the best way to search for additional liens on a property?

Here in S. Florida, the current Foreclosure capital of the country.... I have noticed a number of condo foreclosures, where the condo association is foreclosing on the property. Many times, through doing hours of research in a bunch of different locations i find that the property has additional liens on the property (i.e. mortgage, equity line of credit, ...) is there a consolidated place to search for liens on a property. I have tried my local property appraisers website and it is useless, as is the clerk of courts website... Any suggestions are appreciated.
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May 13 2012 - Fort Lauderdale
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Answers (16)

Your best approach is to pay a title company to perform a lien search. You will obtain your answers to your questions.

Susan Penn, PA, SFR, CDPE  EWM Realtors®| A HomeServices of America Company | An Affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway

2000 Main Street, Suite 103| Weston, FL 33326

T: 954.306.7337| C: 954.557.5993 |F: 954.515.0200 |penn.s@ewm.com | www.ewm.com

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March 10 2013
I would start by consulting with a real estate attorney and title company.
They can do searches not easily accessed by the Public. This step would be after you have identified a property you are interested in and did basic searches on your own. They may/may not charge a fee if they know you will give them title business. 
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March 09 2013
There is a number of companies providing foreclosure purchase assistance and some of them have pretty good search engines put together, where you as a client can have access to most vital information including liens. The problem is that they are still a third company and don't guarantee the accuracy.
As it was previously said  - title companies are the most reliable source but the volume of inquiries will make it pretty much impossible for you to get info from TC.  
  The bottom line is that the rist is still there and many people do make big mistakes every day by purchasing "junior lien" positions from auction and then realize that they have to deal with first priority debt now.
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March 06 2013
A trusted Title Co. is always the best way to go.  If you don't have one, contact a real estate agent who can refer one to you. It's also public record, so you can go on the County Website and search there as well, but a Title Co. will give you the most thorough search.
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February 28 2013
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There is no consolidated place to search. You should hire a Title Company that uses a Municipal Lien Search Company like Clear Choice Tax & Lien Service which only does Lien searches. There are many types of liens that need to be searched for and depending on the city that varies where to find them, in some cities they may handle the property liens while they don't handle the utilities like water etc;? In other words liens and unrecorded liens are not easy to find. Use a professional.
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February 28 2013
It sounds like you are looking to buy; you should offer a Title Co. your business, once you find the property you want to buy and, meanwhile, ask them to assist you with your records research...
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September 12 2012
The best way of covering all the bases is by using an abstractor do the title search. This will usually uncover any problems on record. Unless you have sufficient experience doing searches, you will find that there are liens that can easily be missed on your own.

Even using an abstractor there is a chance that liens could be outstanding that they were not able to uncover (because they're not recorded in the obvious places) which is why we always get Title Insurance at closing.
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August 21 2012
Yes.. there is online.  Fort Lauderdale (Broward County) have the records online.  You can get all records including civil records and traffic records even for a person.   You would have to look it up by the persons name that owns the condo.  If you go to bcpa.net first and get the persons name then you can search the clerk of court records at:
http://www.clerk-17th-flcourts.org/Clerkwebsite/BCCOC2/PASystemTransfer/CourtTypeSelection.aspx?Destination=CaseSearch.aspx  .   I hope the link works.  If not then just go to www.Browardclerk.org  and click on "Public Search" on the left hand side.  All public records will be there.
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August 18 2012
In our area, we order a preliminary title report. They are usually free.
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May 17 2012
Can you get a title report?
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May 16 2012
You can go the local courthouse and search the records yourself. They are public records and you have the right to view them. Go to the register of deeds (ROD) office and ask them about the procedures. They will provide you with some basic guidance but probably won't help you much beyond that. (Do not go to the Clerk of Court office, they administer court cases and do not record deeds or liens.)

There will almost always be several title company people in the records room doing searches. Try to befriend one of them and being very respectful of their time ask for a little assistance. Most will be happy to show you the basics and answer specific questions.

That's how I learned to do title searches.

Most of the records recorded in the past 10-15 years are on computer databases which makes searching easier. Older records will be on microfilm.

Be aware that liens and judgments can be recorded any time between when you do your search and closing. I've had liens recorded the day of closing bringing everything to a screeching halt.

The advantage of using a title company is that you can get title insurance to protect you and they are much more efficient than you will be initially.  Spending several hours at the courthouse may not be cost effective depending on the value of your time.

One way to save money is to find an abstractor willing to freelance on the side. Most of the title searchers (abstractors) are paid a flat fee and work as independent contractors. The title company or attorney usually charges you double or triple that fee or more.  This works fine if you just need the information for decision making  purposes.
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May 16 2012
You can go the local courthouse and search the records yourself. They are public records and you have the right to view them. Go to the register of deeds (ROD) office and ask them about the procedures. They will provide you with some basic guidance but probably won't help you much beyond that.

There will almost always be several title company people there doing searches. Try to befriend one of them and being very respectful of their time ask for a little assistance. Most will be happy to show you the basics and answer specific questions.

That's how I learned to do title searches.

Most of the records recorded in the past 10-15 years are on computer databases which makes searching easier. Older records will be on microfilm. In my county you can do a basic title search through the county's website portal. Check with your county, you may be able to do basic searches online from home.

Be aware that liens and judgments can be recorded any time between when you do your search and closing. I've had liens recorded the day of closing bringing everything to a screeching halt.

The advantage of using a title company is that you can get title insurance to protect you and they are much more efficient than you will be initially.  If you do it yourself you're on your own and spending several hours at the courthouse may not be cost effective depending on the value of your time.

One way to save money is to find an abstractor willing to freelance on the side. Most of the title searchers (abstractors) are paid a flat fee and work as independent contractors. The title company or attorney usually charges you double or triple that fee or more.  This works fine if you don't want title insurance and just need the information for decision making  purposes prior to making an offer.

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May 16 2012
Usually, title companies conduct all lien searches...
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May 14 2012
This type of search is performed by title company and/or real estate attorney. This search is usually performed once the contract is executed and the parties prepare for closing.
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May 14 2012

In AZ, the best way is to contact title company.

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May 14 2012
Typically the best place to search for liens is at the Clerk's Office in the lcoality of which the property is located.  You can contact a local attorney or title company and see how much they charge to perform a title search for the property which will show liens such as a mortgage or equity line.
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May 14 2012
 
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