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Q: Best way to do lots of searches for lien-free real estate properties ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Best way to do lots of searches for lien-free real estate properties
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: rshen-ga
List Price: $55.50
Posted: 13 May 2005 22:40 PDT
Expires: 12 Jun 2005 22:40 PDT
Question ID: 521536
Please tell me what tools are available for searching whether liens
were filed against certain real estate properties located in Cook County

I have the properties' PINs and addresses.  I expect to search through
1,000 properties a month, I do not have the manpower to personally go
to the County Building basement to search through the microfiches, nor
do I have enough money to pay title companies. Most online search
companies (such as those advertising in Google) seem to concentrate on
background searches of individual persons and businesses.

Therefore, any online service that provides reasonably accurate lien
information (especially those filed by municipalities such as City of
Chicago demolition liens), unlimited searches for a fixed monthly
subscription fee would be ideal. I stress "reasonably accurate"
because the objective is to quickly identify properties unencumbered
by any liens and to eliminate those that have liens.

My criteria, starting with the most important, are:
1) Fast and convenient
2) Affordable cost
3) Reasonable degree of accuracy

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 15 May 2005 18:17 PDT

I believe I found a way to search for liens based on the PIN. 
However, before posting the information as an answer, I'd like to
confirm that the search works as I think it will.

Can you provide a short list of some of the PIN's of interest to you.  

In fact, if you already know of a property with a lien attached, the
PIN for that property would be a great help.



Clarification of Question by rshen-ga on 16 May 2005 07:26 PDT
Let's try these:
20-07-406-044-0000 <-- there is at least one lien filed against this PIN
20-07-400-020-0000 <-- there is at least one lien filed against this PIN
20-06-100-066-0000 <-- lien status unknown to me
Subject: Re: Best way to do lots of searches for lien-free real estate properties
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 16 May 2005 08:03 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

Thanks...those PINs did the trick in terms of allowing me to confirm
the effectiveness of the search tool I located.

Liens, as you know, are "recordable documents" that are kept on file
in Cook County government offices.  In the past, this meant a trip to
the county courthouse to examine the records.  But these days, many
such records are available on the internet.  Much of the information
is available at no charge, and the actual liens can be downloaded for
only a nominal fee.

First off, for the PINs you provided, here is what I found:

Documents for PIN:20-07-406-044-0000

0428727024  LIS PENDENS  10/13/2004  
99545109  RELEASE  06/08/1999  
99545074  CLAIM LIEN  06/08/1999 
...[more documents are listed as well]

Documents for PIN:20-07-400-020-0000

0428727020  LIS PENDENS  10/13/2004  
99394357  RELEASE  04/26/1999  
99292836  CLAIM LIEN  03/26/1999  

Documents for PIN:20-06-100-066-0000

0428727019  LIS PENDENS  10/13/2004  
0010631838  LIS PENDENS  07/17/2001  
89192535  RELEASE  05/01/1989 
89192534  RELEASE  05/01/1989 
86548478  DEED IN TRUST  11/18/1986  
86548477  QUIT CLAIM DEED  11/18/1986 
86515631  ASSIGNMENT  11/03/1986 
86515630  MORTGAGE  11/03/1986  
[No additional documents are listed]

So that last property seems to be free of liens, as far as the online
record-keeping shows.

These reports are available at:
Cook County Recorder of Deeds (CCRD) 

Simply click on "PIN Search" in order to get to the proper search
form.  Enter the PIN of interest, and you'll quickly pull up a record
similar to the ones above.  If you click on the highlighted texts in
the record, you can retrieve additional information.  Clicking on the
document number itself will take you to an option for downloading an
actual copy of the lien (or other documents) for a small fee.

It's also possible to approach a lien search from another direction,
and see all recently-filed liens, if that is of interest.  Just click
on "Document Number Search" and on the search page that appears leave
the "Document Number" field blank.

On the "Document Types" pull-down menu, select the type of document of
interest (Note that there are several different types of liens listed
-- Claim lien, Mechanics lien, Tax lien, etc, along with a simple
"Lien" probably need to search these all to see a full
list of recent filings).  Select the date range of interest, and
you'll get yourself a list of all liens filed within those dates.

One last thought.  It may well be possible to arrange with the CCRD a
bulk search, since you're dealing with 1,000 PINs a month, or so. 
This would involve you providing them the list of PINs in a
predetermined format, and they would provide all the relevant records
in downloadable form.  It's worth contacting them directly to see if
this option is available.

I trust this information fully answers your question.  However please
don't rate this answer until you have everything you need.  Just post
a Request for Clarification to let me know if I can assist you
further, and I'm at your service.

All the best,


search strategy: Google search on [ cook county recorder (documents OR deeds) ]
rshen-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
5 stars, no question.

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