Title Search vs. Lien Search 1

Title Search vs. Lien Search

Sep 17 2015

When the time comes to clear a title to transfer a property, there are two types of searches that are done: lien searches and title searches. Many people may opt to forego a full title search and just focus on a lien search, particularly if they are looking to save money or do not understand the full extent of the difference between these two types of searches. Performing just a lien search can be a big mistake.

The Basics

A lien search can occur for a few different reasons. You may only be searching against a person rather than a property, trying to see any liens held against that person on all of their properties or responsibilities. You may be just looking for liens on a property without accounting for other factors, like judgements.
In addition, a lien search can discover other properties, but not all the liens on a single property, since they are on a person. For example, if there have been two owners on a property and both have liens against them, it can be easy to miss liens against the secondary owner.
A title search, on the other hand, looks at a specific property, and includes a lien search is the last step. You will need to run the full title search to get all of the additional information to get to the liens on a specific property.

Name vs. Property

One of the biggest differences between a title and a lien search is that with a lien search it can be difficult to nail down your search to a specific property. Both searches are indexed, archived and recorded by the name of the person, but title searches focus on a specific property. This means that a lien search could turn up liens against other properties that you do not need to know.
A title search, on the other hand, includes a lien search and identifies owners and property history, looking for liens against those people and against the property whose title you are transferring. Thus, a lien search against a given property would need to start with a title search to find out the names of the liens.

Completeness of Information

Title insurance and a transfer of title often require more information than just liens. For example, a title search will show issues like judgements or easements against the property and tax delinquencies that may not yet constitute full liens.
These things, however, may still stand against lingering responsibilities of the property owner and could count as encumbrances which might interfere with the transfer of title.

Seeing the Big Picture

A title search makes it easier to see everything that goes against a name, rather than spending time, effort and money going through each individual record related to the person and property. It will reveal everything — including liens — which will be looked at when the time comes to transfer a title.
Some people think lien searches save money, but this is not always the case. A title search is much more thorough and gives you all the information you need when purchasing title insurance. For more information about title insurance, drop us an email at info@marinatitle.com or call (305) 901-5628.

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