How do I check for liens?

Asked by Marc Perkel, 95020 Thu Feb 11, 2010

How do I check for liens on a property in San Jose California?

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Andrew 2009, Home Buyer, Fremont, CA
Fri May 29, 2015
You can also do the lien search for free at

All you need is the home address to start a search and download a free property report. If the lien is found (green indicator on the report), that means the home has lien on the title.

You can also find out mortgage record, tax status, ownership history, delinquent taxes even child support liens and foreclosure information by purchase a property report. It is around $30 if I remember correctly.
Web Reference:
8 votes
Winter Hunter, Home Buyer, Orange, CA
Fri May 29, 2015
The real estate information services website can help you to do your own lien search, title, tax, ownership, mortgage for a small fee, as low as $49.

Another website allow you to download a free basic property report to start your title and lien search.
Web Reference:
4 votes
Michael Faul…, Agent, San Jose, CA
Thu Feb 11, 2010
You can get the info from San Jose City Recorder office or order a title report from you escrow company.

2 votes
Eric Voorheis, , Santa Clara, CA
Fri Feb 12, 2010

While you are checking the title report for leans, I would also check to see how many people are on title since anyone on title will need to sign off on the transfer of property. If this is a townhome or condo you will want to check for overdue HOA dues. In a short sale many times the buyer will be asked to pay some if not all the overdue HOA fees.

Eric Voorheis
Century21 Alpha
DRE# 01820585
1 vote
John Juarez, Agent, Fremont, CA
Thu Feb 11, 2010

Are you buying this property? If so, a preliminary title report will be issued by the title company that is handling the transaction and you will receive a copy. The Prelim will show leins.

If you are asking for another reason, be guided by the first two responses from Thadeus and Mike.
1 vote
Thadeus Brew…, , Scottsdale, AZ
Thu Feb 11, 2010
Order a title report from you escrow company.
1 vote
Rebekah Owen,…, Agent, San Jose, CA
Tue Feb 16, 2010

What are you doing? If you are buying properties on the courthouse steps be very careful. It is easy to "miss" a lien and your "great deal" turns into a mess. I have friends in the business that get "caught" every once in a while.

I recommend purchasing title insurance. That way the title company reviews, clears and insured that there aren't any surprises.

You can go to the county recorder's site: and do your own search. Then go downtown and check the last few days before the sale.

Garbage liens get recorded every month or so - you can contact them for their scheduled lien dates.

Good Luck!

Rebekah Owen, MBA
Managing Broker
0 votes
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