A Quick Guide to Finding Out if a Property has Liens on It

May 26, 2022

Lauren Wells



Do you want to make sure that the property you are either considering purchasing or acquiring the underlying mortgage note has no liens or senior mortgage? You may be able to find out by simply checking with the county recorder. However, not all records are online and in some instances the search queries can be challenging (we had a title company miss a lien because they did not capitalize the first letter of the borrower’s name). If you want our advice, there are other methods to learn whether the property has any liens. Here’s how:

Order a title report from a company specializing in providing title reports.

Many companies specialize in checking titles. Title reports are documents that provide information about a property’s legal history. They contain the mortgagee, mortgagor, interest rate, date of the mortgage and lien holders with dates of mortgage or judgment. Title reports also include encumbrances such as easements, restrictions covenants/deeds, pending suits and other matters affecting title to real estate properties in question.

How long does it take to get a title report?

The title search process is generally completed within five to seven business days of receiving the order. If the search includes checking on delinquent taxes, additional time may need to be added on top of that time frame.

What is the cost for a title report?

Several different factors can greatly affect the cost of a title report. For example, if you need to do an expedited search or get instant results, this will typically be more expensive. The type of report will also depend on the cost. For an explanation of the different types of title reports and which type to order check out our post here.

The other factor affecting price is the state, as different states also charge different amounts for their reports. On average though, the price will range between $100-$350 with most costing between $100-$200.

Other things to consider

We also recommend you consult with the local tax office to confirm if there are any outstanding and delinquent taxes. This is important as some jurisdictions may show the taxes as being paid, but they were paid by a 3rd party and may have a tax lien on the property which has yet to be recorded at the county office. This can have a huge impact on the purchase price of the note so all tax records must be in order!

You should also contact the code enforcement office for confirmation there are no outstanding violations on the property. These could include fines for grass cutting or blight.

In certain states, public utilities such as water and sewer are enforced against the property (Indiana comes to mind). In these jurisdictions, you will want to contact the utility companies to obtain information on any outstanding charges.


When it comes to buying a mortgage note, you want to be sure that the process is as smooth and seamless as possible. This means doing your due diligence on the note and the property you are considering so that there are no surprises down the line when you get closer to closing. We know how important this step can be for note buyers who have been burned before in past transactions and have lost considerable money. At 7E Investments, we can assist in performing your due diligence and protecting your interests by providing you information on where to obtain the proper information and connecting you with attorneys to review your collateral so nothing slips through the cracks ─ so you can rest easy that you are paying the right price for your mortgage note!

“Lien” on us to learn more by listening to our podcast.

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