We moved to Hampton Va and are trying to sell a property in Knoxville that we bought in 2009. It is paid off and we have a buyer but the title co. we are trying to close with claims that there is a lien on the property from a few owners ago, the bank that we used has cleared the title and we don't know what to do now but we need to sell this house we are far away from it and can't keep up the yard or do maintenance on it. The city says it has no liens and the same with the county where else should we look?
If you got an Owner's Policy of Title Insurance when you purchased the property then the title insurance company you got it through is on the hook to fix the problem. Since you mentioned a lender they likely at least got a lender's policy. If you can find out what title company issued it you can try going back to them to see if they have a copy of the lien release they used to clear title previously. Short of having an Owner's Policy or a copy of the lien release you may be stuck just paying the lien or filing a quiet-title suit.
Case in point as to why one should ALWAYS get an owner's title policy any time a property is purchased.
@Jim the company we used Accurate Title in Knoxville Tn cannot be found the number has been disconnected. We went to the bank we used in 2009 (Suntrust) they gave us a printout of a sheet declaring the title free and clear. We paid the loan off a few years ago and haven't thought anything else about it till we decided to sell due to our career here in Hampton. I just don't know what else to do.
But yes we did get title insurance.
If the title company is saying there are liens, aren't they identifying the liens so you know what they are? If the title company is not offering solutions, I would simply find a new title company. They are not all the same.
The title co. we used to buy the house and got insurance from has disappeared, I have contacted the state to see if they can tell us what company took over the policy for the title insurance. They claim the lien is from 1992 we bought the house in 2002 and paid it off in 2007. The lien is for 17,000 we only paid 20,000 for it. I would think that the title co would be responsible for allowing us to buy a home that had a lien on it. Our paperwork says it was a clean bill of sale. We were supposed to close on the 22nd of May with the man we are selling the house to but now everything has come to a stop till we can provide a clear title, which we thought we had. How were we able to buy the home and we got a loan to do it.
Even though the agency is out of business the actual underwriter (CChicago Title, First American, etc) should be able to help you.
Have you verified the 1992 is actually a lien against the former owner of this property, or could it be one of those "judgment/liens against someone with simply the same name as the previous owner"? Was it a mortgage, judgment, code enforcement lien, etc.?
@wayne, thank you so much for you and everyone's help we are trying to figure all of this out. This is the first time we have heard about the lien. The lady that is doing the title work for the man wanting to buy the house has found this lien from 1997. What we can't figure out is why would Sun Trust give us a $20,000 loan on a property with a $17,000 lien against it? We paid off the home in 2007 and have never heard of or seen this lien till right before the closing date for the sale. We are 10 hours away from Knoxville where the property is located and have made phone calls all over the place even gone to Sun Trust and they gave us a paper stating that we are the true owners and the title is free from liens, we don't know what else to do but can't pay the lien. I am so sad and sick over this how in the world could this happen to us.
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