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Spotlight: Lien Search – How to Use a Title Search to Reveal Liens

By March 14, 2016No Comments

geo1If there is one thing that can impact a real estate closing, it’s the discovery of a lien. Often liens are revealed on closing when the real estate lawyer performs searches to certify clear title to the new buyer. Does the real estate lawyer request a lien search? Actually, the real estate lawyer will perform two searches:

  1. An execution search to see if there are any judgements against the party’s name
  2. A Parcel Register* to see if there are any liens registered on title

A Parcel Register* is an component of a property title search which reveals a host of information, including:

  1. Who legally owns the property
  2. A history of property transfers
  3. Registered mortgages
  4. Easements
  5. Liens and more…

Amongst other things, the Parcel Register* provides somewhat of a financial snapshot as it relates to the property. The Parcel Register* contains the most current information available which is why real estate lawyers rely upon it when certifying title.

In Ontario, Teranet is the exclusive provider of land registry data and so real estate lawyers use a software called Teraview to request searches like a Parcel Register* and eventually electronically transfer title once the deal closes.

Real estate lawyers are not the only real estate or legal professionals using Parcel Registers* in the course of their day-to-day activities. Mortgage brokers and real estate sales professionals have also begun to rely on the Parcel Register* as an integral part of the real estate closing process.

Most real estate professionals and mortgage brokers alike are paid on a real estate deal, when the deal closes. Commissions and fees are deducted from the proceeds of sale. When a lien comes up on closing an immense amount of time is wasted: the real estate sales professional, mortgage broker, lender and real estate lawyer are all vested in the deal and at risk of losing.

The sooner the Parcel Register* is requested, the better, because the earlier a lien is discovered in the process, the sooner it can be resolved. Your client may not even know that there is a lien – this is very common with tax liens. The presence of a lien doesn’t mean that the deal is over either. Though a closing date being missed because of one is inconvenient and in some cases expensive, a real estate sales professional can work with their client to resolve the issue before the 11th hour.

Also, a lien that consumes all of the property equity and can’t be resolved means there is no equity to pay you! Working on a deal and want to request a lien search? Access the GeoWarehouse Store to obtain a Parcel Register* today.



*An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.