Here's a smart thing sellers can do before putting their property on the market...
Why Sellers Should Get a Municipal Lien Search
If you're familiar with what a municipal lien search is, you may be wondering why would a seller want a lien search? If any problems are discovered, wouldn't it be their job to fix them? Yep, it is. But just like with a home inspection, any issues found are typically the responsibility of the seller to remedy.
Let me ask: Wouldn't you want a prospective buyer to see you as honest and helpful? You don't want them to get the impression that you're sneaky or uninformed about the state of your property. That's why getting a Municipal Lien Search in the pre-listing phase is likely to help attract a buyer AND keep the closing process smooth.
We give you four reasons a seller needs a Municipal Lien Search:
1. You bought your home without getting one.
It's only been in the last couple years that checking the financial health of a property with a Municipal Lien Search has become increasingly common. If you've owned your house for many years, it's likely no one ever checked for issues like code violations, or old open or expired permits. But just because the issue never came up while you lived there, doesn't mean they couldn't be there. Wouldn't you want to know? Since most title agents will now order a Municipal Lien Search, it will be helpful to discover those potential issues first so you can take care of them. Which leads me to the next point...
2. You want to save time during the closing.
As I had mentioned, a title agent will usually order this search toward the end of the closing process. If anything pops up, you'll likely have to scramble to take care of the issue and risk pushing back the closing date. You're doing yourself and everyone involved (the buyer, their agent, your agent, the title agent, etc.) a huge favor when you get a Municipal Lien Search before you list. It's a lot like the reasoning behind getting a pre-listing home inspection.
3. You want to show all updates to the home were done properly.
When you're ordering a Municipal Lien Search with Permits from Professional Lien Search, we will always check the permit history on your home. So in case of renovations or updates a previous owner may have made, a prospective buyer will know that all of the work was properly permitted and up to local code and safety standards. If that's not the case, you'll have ample time to fix this.
4. It makes your home MORE marketable.
A buyer is going to feel very confident making an offer on a home they know it is free of municipal debt and permit issues upfront. In most cases the buyer pays for the Municipal Lien Search with other closing costs, but a seller taking care of it upfront, will mean a lot to a prospective buyer. You're adding value to your listing, perhaps resulting in a higher selling price.
How and When a Seller Should Get a Municipal Lien Search
Now, that you understand how important this search is to the marketability of your property you may be wondering how and when you need to get a municipal lien search. As a seller, you don't have to wait on your listing agent or title agent to order this report. Anyone can order a municipal lien search through third-party title support companies like PropLogix.
Typically, this report is written in the closing contract between you and the buyer, but if you're looking to get a jump start on fixing any issues like open permits, a seller may want to consider ordering one before they even list their property. Once you receive an offer on the house, an update search can be completed to ensure there are no other loose ends. The cost of the initial search and update is usually negotiated in the contract between the buyer and seller. If you have any questions, be sure to reach out to your agent, the title company or law firm handling your closing, or contact us with any questions you have.