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Title troubles: 3 FAQs for when there’s a lien on the title

There is a long list of things that can go wrong with the title when you’re looking to buy a new home. The good news is that there is an even longer list of solutions to clear up those issues. But figuring out where to begin in that process is a question with a lot of answers.

You went through all the right steps. You got title insurance and hired a title company to look into the title of your new home, now, just a few days before closing, there’s a lien on the title. That one detail can throw a pretty big wrench in your closing day plans.

Here are a few FAQs about what is going on when there’s a lien on the title

How does this happen?

There are a lot of ways that a property title can have a lien. Some of the most common include past Home Owner’s Association dues, a mechanic’s lien, past-due taxes or past-due child support payments. Sometimes this is an oversight by someone who was paid and simply didn’t finish the paperwork to clear the lien. Other times this is a debt that the previous owner still owes.

What can I do?

First, you’ll want to talk to a representative from the company that holds your title insurance policy. The company will then take action to remedy the situation. There are three common solutions to this situation:

  • File a release to remove a lien or judgment. If there was a spouse who had a lien or judgment due to a child support arrangement, or if there is a paid mortgage, this will release those from the title.
  • File a deed of reconveyance. A deed of reconveyance will record payment of a mortgage under a deed of trust.
  • File a quit claim deed. A quit claim deed will solve any issues that have come up with co-owners or spouses. It will also resolve issues with heirs.

Is this covered by my title insurance?

Title insurance does typically cover an undisclosed lien. This will typically just involve a process of getting the lien removed, which will, of course take time. While it is possible that this could slow down the closing process, it is likely that the issue will be able to be resolved.

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