You can find out if judicial liens have been filed against you or your property by checking public records. Although it's unusual to have no knowledge of a lien that has been filed against you, it can happen. This typically occurs if you are sued and don't answer or show up in court – A judge can issue a judicial lien in your absence. You will have to do some research to confirm the existence of liens and the amount needed to settle them.
Start With a Credit Report
Judgments are public records, and the credit reporting agencies routinely pick up public records to include on people’s credit reports. If any judgments have been granted against you, you can find them on your credit report.
You can pull your free annual credit report. A person can pull at least one credit report from all three credit reporting companies each year. If you have not pulled your free credit report yet, you should do so at this time. Go to annualcreditreport.com. The site will prompt you to enter some personal information. Once you have passed this step, you can pull up your credit report from Equifax, Experian and Transunion. Look at the section labeled “Judgments.” If this section is empty, you have nothing to worry about. If, however, the section is not empty, you need to do some more digging.
Visit your county record, county clerk or county assessor’s office. Ask for information on how to search your property records. You can search for your property using your name or by the type of record you are searching for, such as lien records. Depending on where you live, you may be able to search for property records online.
If you have property in other counties, you should check the land records in those counties, as well.
If you have a lien against your property, you cannot sell that property until you pay off the lien.
- property image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com