How do you determine what is owed on a property?

  1. Pull a Preliminary title report to evaluate current mortgages and mortgage balances by calculating rate and term as well as age of the mortgage note.
  2. Note any recorded mortgage and lien releases.
  3. Search for any outstanding liens and judgments against the property.


Can you please explain what liens we would be responsible for? Can you tell me what liens are outstanding and the amounts of the liens we would be responsible for?

Thanks so much.

Kay M.


Hi Gerald,

Your inquiry was forwarded to me for response.  I have reviewed the report documents.  It appears that a Notice of Lis Pendens was recorded against the property in 2018.  A Notice of Lis Pendens means “Notice of Litigation Pending.”  Also, as you can see from the report, a Sheriff’s Deed has since been recorded.

Due to the complexity of these legal issues and the applicable statutes in which the property is located, we recommend that you consult with a real estate attorney to evaluate the current condition of the title, including verification that the litigation was resolved and that the notice was properly released.  Were all the liens resolved, including potential statutory liens which are not always recorded to make them public notice (homeowner’s association liens, for example) and the taxes?  Also, it can be important to evaluate the previous owner’s personal liens, if any, as sometimes after a foreclosure, items come up that should have been paid out of the proceeds via a minimum bid requirement but were not and end up clouding the title later.

While we compile information and documents for our clients, we do not provide legal advice nor do we issue title insurance policies or close transactions.  Our service is used by real estate investors, lenders, broker and law firms for research purposes.  While some seasoned investors calculate their own risk and close their own transactions, we never make such a recommendation to our clients.

We suggest seeking the advice of a real estate attorney because while normally we would recommend that you consult with a title company to purchase a title insurance policy, when there is litigation involved, it is generally safest to consult a real estate attorney.  Please let us know if you need a referral to a real estate attorney in your area.  Also let us know if you have additional questions or need more information.

Thank you,

Jeannie B.

Client Services

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