How to Search a Lien? Hint: 2 Methods
Searching for liens on a property should be part of any real estate investor’s due diligence. There are two main ways to do a property lien search:
- Search yourself
- Ask a company to perform a lien search
Option 1: Search Yourself
If you choose to look for liens yourself, you would need to search the County Recorder and the County Clerk and Treasurer office. It is worth looking at the Illinois State Tax Lien search.
The County Recorder, is your first stop. Some Recorder websites are better than others in terms of searching ability. You will need to search back to the last Warranty Deed with Title Insurance stamps and comb forward. Open mortgages are typical, other documents on the record must be viewed with caution. A title professional or attorney will have the experience to understand the risks and obligations posed.
After looking at the County Recorder, a tax search must be completed at the County Clerk or Treasurer office. A proper tax lien search can be done in person at the Cook County Clerk office in downtown Chicago. While at the Clerk, you would look up the PIN numbers to find any open item bills and estimates of redemption, and other items of note.. Look at the Cook County Tax Portal to verify your findings.
Illinois State Tax Lien search should be done on the current owners of the property. The search can be done for free and will indicate State and Federal Tax Liens. While tax liens are attached to people as individuals, they pose a risk to the land. Typically, if there are tax liens, backtaxes or sold taxes are to be expected.
Option 2: Ask a company to perform a lien search.
It helps to go through a company for three reasons: time, money, accuracy.
The standard title company does not enjoy, encourage or make high margins on Lien/Ownership Searches. Most of their earnings come from title closings. This is where we are different. Illinois Abstract Service enjoys Lien/Ownership Searches! Our Ownership/Lien searches will use ALTA search practices at competitive market price with an option to purchase the cited documents. The structure of your report will be as follows:
- Client file and order information
- Effective date
- Legal description
- Current owner vesting
- Tax search
- Open liens, mortgages, adverse matters
- Name search