What is the total dollar amount of the liens due? Are you aware of all the liens? You have options. As Diane suggested below...negotiate! Your agent can request the bank pay for the liens (and perhaps past due property taxes) in your offer, they may refuse. Worst case scenario, if the property is worth it, pay the liens off during escrow and consider it as part of the cost of the transaction. Each REO property will be different because every bank has its own proceedures. Having your agent navigate this will help protect you.
Marcie Sands, REALTOR
Simply The Best Real Estate Company, Inc.
It is escrow's job to make sure that all bills due prior to you owning the home are paid. While you are in escrow title research will see that lien and there could be others. They will be paid by the seller (bank) at the close of escrow which releases them from the property. They usually find past due property taxes too. Attorneys are not usually involved in California real estate transactions. Don't be afraid to jump in on an REO. Negotiate your best offer (with your agent) and then do all your own research. A good home inspection is a must for your protection. Good luck!
Diane Conaway, Broker Associate, RE/MAX United, (760) 749-2888
Accredited Buyers Representative