May 28, 2023


When it comes to buying a property, there are various factors to consider before making the final decision. One of the most critical aspects to inspect is any outstanding judgments or lawsuits involving the property.

An outstanding judgment or lawsuit can significantly impact the value and usage of the property. Therefore, it is imperative for potential buyers to conduct thorough research to identify and understand any judgments or lawsuits that may be attached to the property.

In this article, we will explore the importance of searching for any outstanding judgments or lawsuits involving the property before making a purchase and how to go about it.


Purpose of Searching for Outstanding Judgments or Lawsuits

Before investing in a property, it is important to search for any outstanding judgments or lawsuits involving it. The purpose of this search is to identify any potential legal issues that may affect the property’s value or use.

For instance, there may be liens or encumbrances on the property that can complicate a sale or transfer of ownership. Similarly, lawsuits involving the property can reveal environmental, structural, or other problems that may require costly repairs or remediation.

By searching for any outstanding judgments or lawsuits involving the property, buyers can make informed decisions about whether to proceed with the transaction, renegotiate the terms, or walk away altogether. This can save them from significant financial and legal risks in the long run.

Outstanding Judgments or Lawsuits FAQs

1. How can I search for any outstanding judgments or lawsuits involving a property?

You can perform a title search with a title company, an attorney, or a real estate agent. This search covers public records to determine if there are any liens, judgments, or other legal issues associated with the property.

2. What kind of judgments or lawsuits may be associated with a property?

Some common legal issues that can affect a property include unpaid property taxes, mortgage default, IRS tax liens, mechanic’s liens, HOA liens, and lawsuits for breaches of contract, personal injury, or environmental hazards.

3. How do I know if a judgment or lawsuit is valid?

To validate a judgment or lawsuit, you need to check the court records to verify the filing, status, and outcome of the case. You can also consult with a real estate attorney or a title insurance company for more information.

4. What are the risks of buying a property with outstanding judgments or lawsuits?

Buying a property with legal issues can lead to financial and legal liabilities, such as paying off liens or judgments, defending against lawsuits, or even losing the property due to foreclosure or forced sale.

5. Can I still buy a property with outstanding judgments or lawsuits?

Yes, you can still buy a property with legal issues, but you need to weigh the risks and take necessary precautions, such as negotiating with the seller to clear the issues, obtaining title insurance, and consulting with a real estate attorney.

6. What can I do if I discover legal issues after I purchase a property?

If you discover legal issues after the purchase, you may need to hire a real estate attorney to assist you in resolving the issues. Depending on the severity and nature of the problems, you may be able to negotiate with the seller for reimbursement or pursue legal remedies against any responsible parties.

About the Author

As a native Washingtonian, Carlos Reyes’ journey in the real estate industry began more than 15 years ago when he started an online real estate company. Since then, he’s helped more than 700 individuals and families as a real estate broker achieve their real estate goals across Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC.

Carlos now helps real estate agents grow their business by teaching business fundamentals, execution, and leadership.

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