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Chris Swynford described various liens not commonly known:
Voluntary Liens Most people are aware of voluntary liens placed on their property. These include mortgages or deeds of trust executed by owner/borrower.
Involuntary Liens As term suggests, involuntary liens are placed on property by other than legal owner of property. Common involuntary liens are placed on property to cover real estate taxes; judgments; homeowner’s association/condominium liens for unpaid dues/assessments; and mechanics liens for labor and materials provided to build/improve property.
Municipal Liens As term implies, local municipality may place a lien on property. Perhaps owner did not pay trash removal or grass cutting fees. Or, municipality had to remove inoperable motor vehicles from property, or remove a structure endangering public health; or, for community improvement, e. g. to pay for a park adjacent to a property, new sidewalks, gutters, alleys, water and sewer lines.
Lis Pendens This provides notice that a suit against title is pending. A Lis Pendens may indicate a breach of contract, or an heir who claims ownership of property; or, a person who claims ownership of property through adverse possession. It has to be cleared for property sale or purchase to proceed
Estate Tax Liens Some states may have an estate tax, though many do not. Estate taxes liens do not have to be recorded in order to be valid. If estate of a deceased individual is subject to federal or state estate taxes, proceeds of sale are held for one year from date of property owner’s death. If proceeds are not held for one year, a bond may be posted to cover any tax due.
It is always advisable to seek legal advice in closing a real estate transaction, often involving legal and significant economic considerations.
Elaine VonCannon is a REALTOR with RE/Max Capital in Williamsburg, Virginia, and she manages investment property. Elaine is also an Accredited Buyer's Representative as well as a Senior Real Estate Specialist. She has helped numerous clients invest in and make money on property in Southeastern Virginia.