When a creditor is owed money and you are behind on the payments, they will attempt a number of different things to get back the money they are owed. They will generally start by calling you to try and arrange some kind of re-payment schedule, but if that fails, they will usually out a debt collector on the case. If that doesn't yield the positive results they are looking for, the next step may be to place a lien against you. This is usually done by placing the lien against any property that you own, which essentially limits what you can do with the property until you have paid off the debt. In extreme circumstances, the lien can end with the creditor foreclosing on your home so that they may recoup all monies owed.
Liens are often put in place when taxes have not been paid, with the type of lien being placed usually indicative of what might happen to the property. A general lien is the one that is most commonly issued by the IRS when they are looking to collect in back taxes. What that means is that they can essentially take all of your assets until they get back the money that they are owed. The other option is called a particular or specific lien, which is usually placed, as the name suggests, against a specific property.
Liens are actually a very common part of home ownership, and if you dig deep into the wording of your mortgage agreement, you will find a section devoted to the possibility of liens. This is definitely something worth educating yourself about, as it can come as a surprise to many homeowners when they receive a registered letter from a creditor saying that they plan to foreclose on the home in 30 days if the amount owed is not paid back in that time. That is usually enough for most people to get motivated in setting up a re-payment plan, but there are others who will walk away and leave the property to the creditor.
When buying a property, it's important to know whether or not a lien still exists on the property. With so many foreclosures now available for sale, homes are being snapped up at very affordable prices. The joy of getting a great price is often quickly washed away when a notice comes in saying that there is still a lien on the property, which can limit what the new owner can do with it. The good news is that finding out about existing liens is not difficult to do.
Searching for Liens
Since liens are considered documents of public record, you may not even have to leave the house to find out of there is still a lien on a property that you are interested in. The county clerk, recorder or, assessor's office has all the information you need, all of which can be searched online. A visit to city hall can also help you find what you need, and this is something that is definitely recommended before buying a home, particularly one that was previously foreclosed.
Search Background Checks by State
Liens and Tax Liens are usually included in background check reports.