You’ve put in an offer on a property and completed the customary title search, which discovers any recorded liens or title issues with the property. If the title search is clear, you’re good to go, right?
Wrong. In Florida, a business or government agency can hold a lien against your property without ever actually recording it on the official title. If the property is sold to a different owner, the new owner inherits all those unrecorded liens or other title issues, without even knowing it! We know that sounds crazy, but it’s the truth, and these types of issues can leave a buyer exposed to thousands of dollars in potential repairs and remediations.
A Municipal Lien Search Can Mitigate This Exposure
So how does a buyer lessen the risk of purchasing a property with tons of hidden title issues? A municipal lien search is the answer. In a municipal lien search, a title company digs in deep to find out about any potential unrecorded liens or other title issues that may not come up in a conventional title search. This involves contacting various local agencies, including the tax office, utilities, code enforcement, construction agencies, and any other business that may have a lien, permit, easement, or anything else connected to the property.
Municipal Lien Searches are Voluntary
Municipal lien searches are not required by the state of Florida (although some individual counties have their own requirements). However, just because a municipal lien search is not required to purchase real estate in Florida doesn’t mean one shouldn’t be done on every single transaction. Municipal lien searches reveal issues that must be corrected more often than you would think, so they should truly be required before any real estate transaction.
Municipal Lien Searches Take Time
Since municipal lien searches involve discovering information that isn’t on public records, they can take a considerable amount of time to complete. This can become a problem in the fast-paced world of real estate deals, where deadlines are absolutely crucial. Some locations (such as Sarasota and Manatee counties) may require up to 15+ business days to complete a municipal lien search. Therefore a municipal lien search should be one of the absolute first things a buyer requests after the seller accepts their offer.
Municipal Lien Searches in Tampa Bay
For municipal lien searches in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee counties, look no further than the real estate professionals at Benefit Title Services. Along with traditional title searches, we also offer the most comprehensive municipal lien searches in Tampa Bay. Contact us at (800) 237-9190 or online to request a municipal lien search on a property you are interested in today!