Knowing how to find liens on a property is crucial. With NeighborWho, we can help you check for mortgages and HOA liens attached to a specific property. All you need is an address to start your next property lien search.
In short, a property lien means the homeowner has an outstanding debt on a house or another type of property. By placing a lien on the property, the creditor ensures the owner can't sell the property without satisfying the debt first. They can even force the sale of the property in some cases.
This is why it's important to check liens on a property—imagine putting an offer on a dream home only to find out you can’t possess the title until the seller clears their debt.
Voluntary liens are willingly entered by the property owner to secure a loan. A common example of a voluntary lien is a mortgage. Involuntary liens are placed on a property without the owner's consent by an external party. Common examples of involuntary liens include tax liens, judgment liens and mechanic's liens.
There are several types of liens. They all operate in more or less the same way; the difference is to whom the owner owes the money. Some property liens include:
A mortgage lien is a voluntary lien placed on a property by a lender as security for a mortgage loan. The lien gives the lender the right to foreclose on the property if the borrower fails to make mortgage payments. Mortgages are voluntary liens because the property owner willingly enters the lien agreement in order to provide the property as collateral for the debt.
A tax lien is an involuntary lien placed on a property by a government authority, such as the IRS or a local tax agency, for unpaid taxes. The lien gives the government the right to seize and sell the property to satisfy the tax debt.
A judgment lien is an involuntary lien placed on a property by a court as a result of a lawsuit. The lien gives the plaintiff the right to collect a judgment amount from the proceeds of the property sale.
A mechanic's lien is an involuntary lien placed on a property by a contractor or subcontractor who has not been paid for work done on the property. The lien gives the contractor the right to force the sale of the property to collect the unpaid debt.
A homeowners association (HOA) lien is an involuntary lien placed on a property by an HOA for unpaid fees or assessments. The lien gives the HOA the right to force the sale of the property to collect the unpaid debt.