The worst form of lien that is rare, but you still may find, is an IRS lien. IRS liens don’t go away; they attach themselves like glue to the property of the delinquent taxpayer. It does not show up very often, but it does happen. The property owner, the seller, did not pay their income taxes and the IRS slapped a lien on their property and recorded it in that county. Now anything that person owns in that county has that lien attached to it, and the lien follows the property wherever it goes, meaning even if you don’t see this lien, the lien still comes with it. So if you buy a $10,000 property with a $50,000 lien, guess what? The Lien came with the property and now whenever you want to sell that property any sales proceeds would go to the IRS to help settle that debt, and you would get NOTHING!!! So that’s something you want to look out for!
For a complete list of things to lookout for when doing a title search go to
If you do find an IRS lien, see if it still makes sense to proceed, it might. Let’s turn this around: if you find a property worth $50,000 that you only pay $10,000 for with a $5,000 IRS lien against it, that’s probably worth buying whether you pay $15,000 outright or you get the seller to accept $5000 in light of the lien and you pay $10,000 total. So play it case by case. What I want to say mainly is that these do not happen very often but when they are present, they can be disastrous, so do look out for them.
Let me clarify something:
I think HIGHLY of the need for a very detailed title search. I would NEVER purchase a property without having done a detailed title search and being comfortable that I have uncovered and am aware of any and all skeletons in the closet of that particular property.
However I do NOT think very highly of title insurance.
What is the difference?
Title Insurance is issued by a Title company AFTER they have run their title search and have satisfactorily identified and removed any clouds on title that they found. Until this point, I am all for it and I LOVE it. However once they have satisfied these requirements they then agree to, for a fee, issue Title insurance on this property.
I recommend learning how to do your own title searches. This can be easily done if you know what to look for and most counties nowadays store property records online, so you can even do your research from the comfort of your own home. If a county does not provide online access to their database you will then need to actually go to the county courthouse and do your research there.
To learn how to do your own title searches visit