Title and Clear Lien Search: how do I go about doing my own title and clear lien search?

Asked by Nancy, vanberg Sun Apr 13, 2008

How do members of the community go about doing their own clear title and lien search?

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


stephaniet’s answer
stephaniet, Home Buyer, 19040
Thu Dec 19, 2013
I agree, it is very easy to miss a Judgment, Lien or even delinquent taxes on a property when you search on your own. It is a lot safer and easier to have a professional title search done. ProtitleUSA not only offers title searches which includes the Chain of Title,Judgments, Liens and Taxes on a property they also offer just a Judgment and Lien search. Their searches are very thorough and accurate. Visit their website for more details.
Web Reference:  http://protitleusa.com
0 votes
Nick 2008, Home Buyer, Los Angeles, CA
Fri Dec 12, 2014
As a small time RE investor, I have few DIY title searches at http://www.nextace.com recently. The website seems meeting my expectations. I only paid 49 bucks for a preliminary title report.
Web Reference:  http://www.nextace.com
11 votes
Mayailaa, Home Buyer, Fremont, CA
Thu Jun 11, 2015
The best answer is to hire an Attorney (in an Attorney State) or a title comapny (in a title state-most states are title states.)
But I wonder for what purpose you want the search? Title companies will ""Insure the title, in case they miss anything (not that terribly uncommon)

But yes the actual process is to go the City Clerks office and go into the vault and start researching. Each deed will reference other previous deeds and maps and liens, and you just follow the web of history until you get to the beginning. It is not for everyone. Best to do if you enjoy history, details and you are a patient person. It can be fun to learn the history of a property.

Reference Link: http://titlecompanies.net/
10 votes
Andrew OC, Home Buyer, 92704
Thu Nov 6, 2014
The real estate information services http://www.nextace.com can help you to do your own title, tax, ownership, mortgage and lien search in the same website.
Another website http://www.searchq.com let you to download a free basic property report to start your title and lien search.
Web Reference:  http://www.nextace.com
10 votes
There is no membership to buy. I only paid for what I need to download.
Flag Thu Jul 14, 2016
what a load of baloney. That free website is crap. It only gives you general stuff like "We found current ownership and ownership changes beginning in January 1901." That was the whole line for ownership. It's a scam to get you to buy the website membership.
Flag Tue May 17, 2016
Mark Lee, Home Buyer, San Jose, CA
Thu Oct 22, 2015
It's a lot easier to just use a title company, especially when it's a higher-end property that requires a major investment and you have money to spare.

If you want to find out yourself, you can get an online report within few minutes on website such as http://www.nextace.com or http://www.searchq.com where you can download a title report that has mortgage record, ownership history, delinquent taxes even liens and foreclosure information.

You can also contact your county assessor where they keep the property tax record. The assessor should also keeps the liens, mortgage and other information that linked to the home title.
Web Reference:  http://www.nextace.com
5 votes
J.D. "Dan" &…, Agent, Orange Park, FL
Sun Apr 13, 2008
In my opinion you should never attempt a title search on your own. There are too many little cracks things can hide in. I occasionally buy properties when I can get a GREAT deal and although I know how to do a preliminary title search using the clerk of courts records I still use an attorney that issues title insurance to do the real title search.

A case in point, I was interested in a property where everything looked good at the county level and I was ready to move forward however, my attorney uncovered a US Justice Department Lien on the property far great than the property was, or ever in my lifetime be worth. That was the best money I ever spent for a title search as it saved me from loosing over $300,000!

I know of buyers who have skipped that step and have paid dearly in the end.

JD “Dan” Weisenburger, GRI
Broker-Associate REALTOR®
Vanguard Realty, Inc. GMAC Real Estate
Web Reference:  http://www.neflahomes.com
5 votes
Andymark2010, Home Buyer, Brooklyn, NY
Tue Nov 10, 2015
Real estate information website http://www.searchq.com is the best source of liens and judgement search on any home in the US. You can also search and download a free property report from there.
Web Reference:  http://www.searchq.com
2 votes
Greentekfirst, Both Buyer And Seller, Dover, DE
Wed Jun 7, 2017
For some very helpful real estate information and links go to:
https://www.ustitlerecords.com/real-estate-questionsanswers/ for property related resources.
0 votes
Claraj3, Home Buyer, Pompano Beach, FL
Wed May 31, 2017
How can I do my own title search and liens for foreclosure property auction ?
Thank you
0 votes
Greentekfirst, Both Buyer And Seller, Dover, DE
Sun Feb 19, 2017
The best way to go about performing your own title search is to either visit your local County recorder's office or clerk. Begin your search by the owner's name, parcel number and/or street address as a cross reference to identify the chronological chain of title. This will allow you to pull all related records including lien, mortgage and conveyance information to find current title and encumbrance status on the subject property. You can also obtain Preliminary title reports online through a reputable online title search company and title plant. See: https://www.ustitlerecords.com for reference.
0 votes
US Title records
Flag Sun Feb 19, 2017
Greentekfirst, Both Buyer And Seller, Dover, DE
Sat Feb 4, 2017
You can get legitimate preliminary title information and deed images online only through several websites. US Title Records provides property records pulled at county level directly from the county recorder's office, for all counties.

This site also provides very helpful real estate information and related links. See: https://www.ustitlerecords.com and go to "resources" tab.
0 votes
Greentekfirst, Both Buyer And Seller, Dover, DE
Sat Jan 28, 2017
We found an online property records search service that allows access to all county recorder databases to do your own title and lien search. You can perform preliminary title searches and obtain chain of title reports for any county throughout the United States.

Website resource: https://www.ustitlerecords.com

U.S. Title Records
0 votes
Bettyjean.ca…, Home Buyer, North Augusta, SC
Tue Jan 10, 2017
How to Clear House Title in Bucks PA.
When (7 years ago (2009),
the spouse has Desert/Abandonment of the Property.,
and is NO-where to be found, As if he disappeared in to thin air.
their are no record of numbers,(SS#, Driver's Lic's, credit card, Life Ins Policy,..ect),
that trace back to the missing spouse...
It's been an endless 7 years on dead ends,
of trying to locate someone whom does NOT wish to be found.
May "I" just FILE motion with the Courts, Claim The Spouse as Deceased..
I looking to clear this Title of the house and move on with my Life..
any and/or all suggestion would be appreciated.

0 votes
Greentekfirst, Both Buyer And Seller, Dover, DE
Thu Dec 22, 2016
You can obtain Preliminary title reports and Full chain of title searches online for some of the more urban counties throughout the United States with the Assessor office and the recorder's offices. The best way to perform these title and lien searches are to request a title policy and or commitment through your local title company if purchasing real estate. If you want to perform a property title search on your own, you can use an online title search company to get critical lien and title information. You can also obtain document images (Copy of Deed) through these sources. I.E. US Title Records reference: https://www.ustitlerecords.com

HOW to do your own LIEN and TITLE RECORDS search. Also see how to get a copy of your property Deed.
0 votes
Greentekfirst, Both Buyer And Seller, Dover, DE
Fri Dec 9, 2016
For online title searches, you need to find an online title search website company. There are only a few websites that provide online access to real estate records and actually provide lien, deed and mortgage information.

For example check: US Title Records
0 votes
Greentekfirst, Both Buyer And Seller, Dover, DE
Tue Nov 8, 2016
The question posed was how to do your own title and lien search. The first step would be to either visit your local County recorder's office or find a company that has access to online title plant information. Some counties offer access to their online digitized data base for a monthly fee or a pay per pull scenario. There are larger companies that offer full access to All County property records throughout the United States such as US TITLE RECORDS for clients who want access to online public, title and lien search records services.

0 votes
V.j.baro, Home Buyer, Reading, PA
Sat Oct 24, 2015
Tile searches vary from at the state level (where the law changes) and county level (where the recording systems vary). If you're feeling adventurous, and want to complete your own title search, your best is to visit your local courthouse and enlist the help of the staff and title searchers in the county offices. Title searches can be tedious work, and may take anywhere from 1 hour to an entire day.

Generally speaking, in Pennsylvania there are three offices to search: 1)The Recorder of Deeds (where deeds and mortgages are found) 2) Office of the Prothonotary (where judgments and municipal claims are found) and 3) Tax Claim Bureau (to check for delinquent taxes).

If you are interested in further information or have questions regarding title law, I would be happy to help. Feel free to email me at v.j.baro@gmail.com or by visiting our companies website at wcbtitle.com


Vincent Baro
0 votes
Tanyatyt, Home Buyer, Oxon Hill, MD
Mon Sep 7, 2015
How to clear apt lien off your record
0 votes
Tanyatyt, Home Buyer, Oxon Hill, MD
Mon Sep 7, 2015
To clear apt lien off your record
0 votes
L. McKenzie, Other Pro, Dunnellon, FL
Mon Nov 17, 2014
I have 25 years experience, own my own research company and have my E&O insurance. I have access to Titlepoint which is a widely known and used search engine across the U.S. and I can do any kind of searches from O&E to Patent and residential to Commercial. If I can be of use please contact me my prices are very reasonable but vary depending on type of search and county info available.

Penny Leite - Owner
Elizabeth A. Williams Inc.
1157 W Hampshire Blvd.
Citrus Springs, Fl 34434
email: gatorleite@yahoo.com
0 votes
Are you still performing this service? If so, what is the fee for performing a title lien search in Homosassa, FL?
Flag Tue Feb 23, 2016
How much would it cost to do a title lien search on a property in Homosassa, FL?
Flag Tue Feb 23, 2016
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Fri Nov 8, 2013
If you are just looking "to know" you can search teh registry of deeds or county courthouse that records deeds. if it is for a sle or any type of legal purpose, hire a professional, a search could be as little as $100 and best money spent.
0 votes
Denise Stewa…, Agent, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Fri Nov 8, 2013
This is really something you should consult an attorney. Title issues are very complicated, and can be made a lot easier if an attorney is involved. Most will not charge you a consultation fee. If you do not know a Florida attorney, you can go here: http://floridalawhelp.org/
0 votes
dougp, Home Buyer, Pompano Beach, FL
Mon Mar 25, 2013
Hi, Is tefer me there a company that i you can ro that does judgement and federal tax lien services in palm beach county florida?
0 votes
Other, Agent, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Sat Jan 12, 2013
-Hi Nancy, please contact DHT title and Steve will answer your question on Monday...They are very helpful (954) 351-2242
0 votes
LSP, , South Miami, FL
Mon Jan 7, 2013
Unless you are a title insurance expert you should rely on one to perform an Ownership and Encumberance search for you, O & E search, to reveal recorded matters affecting the property,, you don't need a full blown title search. A lien search is also recommended and similarly should be left in the hands of a capable and competent firm that specializes in this. Permit Searches Plus is a great lien search firm with extensive all around title knowledge and they also conduct Bankruptcy research which is another search for consideration to ensure nothing attached to current owner will transfer to property they own. It is up to any interested purchaser to conduct very thorough due diligence. You can try to make any real estate contract subject to a clear lien search and clear title but in today's market that is a hard sell. Many people fall who don't do thier homework pay dearly. There is really no short cut but buying real estate is a the biggest purchase you can make so you don't want to cut corners.
0 votes
Jm, , Florida
Tue Mar 10, 2009
In the current environment with so many foreclosure and REO homes, be especially careful if you are in a lien superior state - because so many previous home owners went into default, and left with known violations and/ or unpaid bills. These are liens that sometimes don't show up on the regular title search. However, you do not have to be a victim, or worry about these potential unrecorded liens, such as code, utilities, waste, and municipal liens -if you work with a professional lien search company. Most reputable title companies and attorneys also use one, so check to be sure. You should be using one in conjunction with the title search if you are in a lien superior state, especially if you are attempting to close a property outside your area. A good company currently performing this service is Property Debt Research in Florida.
0 votes
Alex Goldovs…, , Philadelphia, PA
Sat Jan 10, 2009
Dear Nancy,

If you have never done a title search before, its very easy to overlook an important document, I would certainly recommend asking Title Search Company to perform a title search.

Clean Title really means that there are no liens against the owner or the property. You need to have a systematic approach to title search in the county office searching documents by Current Owner's Name, Legal Description, Parcel or Folio Number and Address. Remember, the recorded documents may have recording errors, pay attention to legal description and parcel numbers throughout all documents and make sure they match.

I would also recommend performing a Bankruptcy Search against current owner. You can read about Bankruptcy relevance in the Web Reference Below.
Web Reference:  http://www.protitleusa.com
0 votes
Rainboltrandy has hit the nail on the head. Thank you to the two people who actually answered the question. For all others, it's ok to say that you don't know. Better yet, just keep your $0.02 to yourselves.
Flag Fri Sep 9, 2016
A lot of these replies were to ignore the question and seek legal help. The reason I googled this hoping for advice is because as a new but active investor, I may have a list of 10 or so properties I may be interested in but do not want to pay a title search on ALL potential listings if I can just do it myself. I know how to use the appraisers, Clerk, and tax sites it was hoping to find the secret site to tie it all together. These professionals must have other means of determining the chain of title and liens associated with a property. THAT is what the question is. If I were interested in only a single property, then by all means use a company that issues title insurance, but that is not the answer I seek. It can't be rocket science...
Flag Sat Jul 25, 2015
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