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  • Christina Barrett

Should I Get a Municipality Lien Search?

To continue with our educational series on the various searches and items ordered by your title company when working to clear the title to your prospective home, today I want to chat about Municipality Lien Searches. What is a lien search? Isn't that a standard search? Why is it necessary? What is found on a lien search that isn't disclosed on a title search?

Well, a municipality lien search is a search of the public records at the county level, and will return results on the property in question regarding any unrecorded liens, special assessments, open or expired permits, and code enforcement violations. A municipality lien search is recommended as the items that come back on this search are typically tied to the property and not the owner; if the items are disclosed prior to closing, the seller will be responsible for clearing, closing, or paying those items. If a lien search is waived, and the items not disclosed prior to closing, the responsibility of addressing them falls to the new owner. Some examples of items that might be addressed prior to or collected at closing if the search is performed are:

  • Unpaid utilities

  • Open permits

  • Lien for county services mowing the yard due to a code enforcement violation

While a municipality lien search is considered a standard search by title companies, it is very similar to a survey in the sense that it is not always required.

If you are working with a lender, a lien search will likely be required as one of the closing conditions from the lender. If you are paying cash for your next home, it is considered an optional search, and you may waive it. However, as mentioned above, any items that are not found will remain tied to the property, and will become the responsibility of the new homeowner to address.

Skyway Title Services would always recommend a lien search be performed when you are purchasing a home; in our opinion, it is only fair for the seller to pay, close out, or address any issues that arose while they owned the property. To learn more about a municipality lien search, please feel free to email us at or give us a call at 941-822-8739! We hope to be Your Bridge to Homeownership!

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