Lien Check 101: How to See if There is a Lien on Your Client’s Property

A lien check is a crucial tool for anyone working with real estate.

If there is a lien on your client’s property, it could mean delays and less profit — in which case you would want to be aware of this before trying to buy or sell a home.

And if the lien is too big, or the client has too little home equity to cover it, it could put the whole sale in jeopardy.

Knowledge is key when it comes to liens – the more you know and the sooner you know it, the more options you have available for you and your client.

If you are selling the home, you might be able to negotiate with the party who issued the lien. Some collectors will remove liens if you agree to pay a portion of the amount owed or set up a payment plan to pay it off gradually. You might also have a debt consultant partner who could help your client.

If your client is buying, they need to know what they are getting into if there is a lien on the property.

The first step is being aware. GeoWarehouse has two tools that make it easy to make a lien check quickly.

Step 1: Get a Parcel Register* to check for liens.

A Parcel Register* is a record containing a property description and list of instruments registered against the property within the Land Registration System of Ontario as of the date of the property search.

This report allows you to identify registered encumbrances and acquire an instrument number.

Example: https://www2.geowarehouse.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/ParcelRegister-SAMPLE.pdf

Step 2: Acquire an Instrument Image* to learn more about the lien.

If a lien is found in the Parcel Register*, you’re given an instrument number, which you can use to look up the Instrument Image*.

This is an image of a registered document within the Land Registration System of Ontario. Instruments may include liens, mortgages, transfers, and condominium declarations, among others.

You can use this report to find out more details about the lien registrant, including the lawyer who registered the lien. This can give you the knowledge necessary to start negotiating with the lien registrant.

Example: https://www2.geowarehouse.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/InstrumentImage-SAMPLE.pdf

A lien check is good due diligence. And, thanks to tools like GeoWarehouse, it’s easy and fast to acquire.

GeoWarehouse subscribers can access Parcel Registers* and Instrument Images* through the GeoWarehouse e-Store.

Not a subscriber? Become one today. Call 1-866-237-5937 or visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

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