Baltimore City lien certificates have been delayed in early 2023.

The issue began in Fall 2022, and has not cleared up by the beginning of March 2023. The Baltimore Sun reported on the issue in February.

There is currently a backlog of lien sheet requests, which has made the historically two-week turn around time bloom into sometimes 7-8 weeks, which can delay a Baltimore City home sale settlement by quite a bit of time. This could affect a Baltimore City home buyer’s interest rate, as mortgage interest rate locks tend to be a much shorter period of time than two months. If the property can’t settle within a certain timeframe, this could possibly cost a buyer hundreds or thousands of extra dollars.

It is important to understand that generally, thousands of properties are sold in Baltimore City every month.

What usually happens when a Baltimore City property goes under contract, is that the buyer contracts a title company to complete title work. This includes the title company requesting and receiving lien sheets from Baltimore City to ensure that the current owners have paid their property taxes, water bills, potential alley paving fees, and more. The title company has to make sure the seller has the legal right to sell the property and the title is clear for a buyer.

Without a lien certificate ensuring that there would be no liens on the property for a buyer, a title company cannot guarantee clear title to a buyer. This usually means a title company cannot insure the property for a buyer – or their lender, which may possibly mean a property cannot change hands until that certificate comes in.

So, what do you do?

If you are planning on buying a home in Baltimore City right now, expect there could be possibly a delay. Speak with your lender about how long your loan lock is good and how much it may cost to extend that loan lock. Factor any potential additional costs into your budget for the house and closing. For Baltimore City home sellers, expect that closing may take longer than a few weeks to a month. Factor the potential additional time into your sales cost analysis.

If you are considering buying a home in Baltimore, please contact me. I would love to be of assistance!