According to a recent survey, 70% of Americans wouldn’t be able to pay their bills if they missed even one paycheck. If a major expense comes along — perhaps an unexpected medical bill or tax bill — it can spell financial disaster.

If a person or business accumulates debts, legal organizations can pursue filing a lien on a property. Once this property lien is in place, it’s nearly impossible to sell the property until the debts are repaid.

Whether you’re in debt yourself or you’re thinking of buying a property, you need to do your due diligence. Here’s what you need to know about tax lien properties.

What Is a Lien on a Property?

Many types of debts can result in a property lien. For example, the courts can order a property lien for:

  • Unpaid taxes
  • Unpaid child support
  • Unpaid credit cards
  • Unpaid home maintenance bills
  • Unpaid damages after a lawsuit

These are known as “involuntary” liens due to unpaid financial obligations. Since the creditor can seize the property if the debts remain unpaid, it’s very difficult to sell a property with a lien.

A mortgage is technically a type of lien as well, although this a “voluntary” lien that doesn’t harm the owner’s credit. All involuntary liens are a detriment to the owner’s credit until the debts and lien are resolved.

How to Do a Property Lien Search

Have you fallen on hard times? Are you worried about a potential property lien due to your debts? Or are you thinking about a property but you’re not sure if it has a clear title?

Whatever the case, it’s fairly straightforward to find the answers. Property liens are public records, so they’re not too difficult to unearth. Here are three paths you could take to conduct a property lien search.

1. Search the County Clerk or Assessor’s Website

If you have the necessary details, it’s easy enough to search for a property lien online. Simply go to the website for the relevant county clerk, recorder, or assessor. Type in the name of the owner and the address and you should be able to access the property’s records.

2. Visit the County Clerk or Assessor’s Office

If you prefer to conduct your search in person, pay a visit to the county clerk, recorder, or assessor. Not only will you get the details you need, but they’ll be able to offer additional information or answer other relevant questions.

3. Contact a Title Company

If you don’t want to do the legwork yourself, you could always hire someone to do it for you. Hire a title company and they’ll gladly do the research to uncover any property liens you need to know about.

Need More Help With Tax Lien Properties?

Whether there’s a property lien on your own home or one you’re thinking about buying a property, you need to know the facts.

The good news is that it’s relatively simple to find a tax lien properties list in your area. Use the suggestions listed above to help you in your search.

What if you discover a lien against your property? How can you ensure it gets resolved? Click here to learn more about our professional tax lien release and removal services.