If you plan on purchasing a home in Florida, it’s a good idea to conduct a municipal lien search. This will tell you if the house has any liens against it. If the home has liens against it, and you fail to perform the lien search, you could lose a lot of money post-closing. 

In this brief article, we will explain what a municipal lien search is, and why it’s in your best interest to conduct one before closing on a property in Florida. 

What is a Municipal Lien Search?

A municipal lien search is a search of liens against a property. This means that if the property being purchased has any liens against it, it will be listed on the search report. These liens could be for anything: a water bill, an old building code violation, unpaid taxes, or virtually anything else. If the property you are buying has any liens against it, then those liens must be paid off before you can go ahead with the sale.

Why is a Municipal Liens Search so important?

A municipal lien search is extremely important because it can save you thousands of dollars. If you fail to perform a municipal lien search, and the property you are purchasing has a lien against it, you must pay it off before you can go ahead with the sale. 

If there is a lien against the property you are purchasing, and you go ahead with the sale without paying off the lien, you can lose between 2-10% of the total sale price in penalties. Depending on the home, this can amount to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in fines. 

Is a Municipal Lien Search Mandatory in Florida?

Strictly speaking, Florida state law does not require a municipal lien search. However, in certain counties, performing a municipal lien search is mandatory. These counties include Broward, Collier, Duval, Hernando, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Sarasota counties. In these counties, you are required to perform a municipal lien search before closing on a property. 

How to conduct a Municipal Liens Search in Florida?

There are several ways to conduct a municipal lien search. You can go to the county clerk and ask them to perform a lien search, or you can hire a title company or attorney to do a lien search for you. Alternatively, you can use a real estate property research service to help you with this task. This is the best and most cost-effective solution for most people. 

Conclusion

A municipal lien search is a search of liens against a property. Simply put, it will tell you if the property you are purchasing has any liens against it. If the property you are buying has any liens against it, then those liens must be paid off before you can go ahead with the sale; otherwise, you risk incurring significant penalties that can amount to thousands of dollars.