Making sound lending decisions is highly dependent on gathering accurate, thorough information on potential borrowers and properties. In mortgage lending, that includes determining whether there are tax liens and judgments against them. The following are important to be aware of as part of your due diligence checks.
Real property search is complex; but you knew thatThere is inherent complexity involved in knowing where to look, and what type of information to look for. For example, in different states, federal and state tax lien and judgment lien information can be kept at various locations, and different types of liens can also differ by location. In some states, federal tax liens and judgments are filed at the county level, while in others, they are filed at the county and state levels. State tax liens are still another consideration; in some states, these are kept in the same locations as federal tax liens, while in other cases, the locations vary. And judgment liens add another layer of complexity, with these kept at state, county, or town locations — or other offices altogether.
Accurate borrower data is criticalSourcing accurate information on tax liens and judgments is easier said than done. In the last several years, the three major credit bureaus have removed tax liens and judgments from their reports. Many borrowers have the same or similar names today, so it’s increasingly likely to misidentify individuals with liens against them.
Be thorough in searchThe IRS can file a lien against any name an individual has ever used. That’s why it’s important to search all possible name variations in order to be sure of any existing obligations on the part of a potential lender.
You want search reports designed to give you the information you need at first glance and provide clear detail on the offices and indexes searched. Optimally, this means a report that presents the search results in a one-page format and captures all the relevant information you need in a quick snapshot.
Want to learn more about real property services?
Wolters Kluwer Lien Solutions is a national lien services provider that has the tools with direct access to the information you need and is familiar with the ins and outs of the jurisdictions and different types of liens for residential and commercial properties.
We have plenty of educational content that can guide you on the path to better real property lien management:
Read our brochure "Real property search: We’ve got you covered" for more about how you can secure your assets.