Identity on IRS Liens

I purchased a home at auciton where it appears that there are IRS liens. I assumed the worst, but after taking a closer look, it appears that the IRS liens may not be for the person who owned the home. Basically, it is a father and son, with the same first and last name, sometimes the son uses JR, but other times he does not. How can I find out who is who? Sort out their identities and who has the liens and who owned the house?

Very interesting. Depending on how old the liens are they may have social security numbers on them. If they do you can likely use a skip tracing tool like Accurint or Merlin Data (or a lawyer or skip tracer who has access to those tools) to find the last 4 digits of each one’s social. Shoudl be easy to match up from there. You might also try calling the IRS representitive listed on the lien and talking to them. I’ve found them to sometimes have a wealth of knowledge on particular cases that can be very useful.

I returned to the recorder?s office to do more investigation. I do have the SS numbers for JR and wife, but could not find the SS numbers for SR and wife. I decided to take a close look at the signatures on the TDs and Deeds to see how they compared. SR has been in the county for decades and made several real estate transactions. As a result, there were plenty of examples of SR & wife?s signatures. JR and wife has also made several real estate transactions, so there are plenty of their signatures. The signatures are very different and all are fairly consistent from document to document. It is clear from the review of the IRS liens that the liens are for JR, wife and their business.
Using signature comparisons, it appears that SR signed the TD. In addition, he vested the property as a married man as his sole and separate property. On the day the original sale was recorded, there was a Grant Deed, 1st and 2nd TDs and an interspousal deed from SR?s wife to SR, giving up her community property rights. I assume this was required by the lender. The interspousal deed serves the purpose of validating that the house was owned by SR and not JR and therefore the IRS liens are not against the subject property.
I have talked to the neighbors who said that JR, wife and kids lived in the subject house. As far as they knew, JR was the owner. During the records review I found a house that was in fact owned by JR and wife. Shortly after SR bought the subject house, JR deeded his house to SR. So it appears that JR convinced dad to buy the new house, which was bigger and more money, and trade houses with him. Ironically, that house was foreclosed in 08.
So, I am 99% certain that SR owned the subject house and that the IRS liens are for JR and wife. Any comments on my logic would be greatly appreciated.

Makes sense. I’d recommend opening escrow now and getting the prelim to see whether or not your title company will need some convincing or not.

I actually bought the house in June and have been sitting on it, working on another house. In June, I opened escrow and got the prelim, it was clean. I sent them an email questioning them in the IRS liens and they never responded. Seems they may have got it right. I have to say, the deal was good and I think it was in part due to the IRS liens. Other bidders mentioned them the day of the sale.? I will update as I get more information.

If the pre was clean I really wouldn’t worry about it. There is a chance they’ll review title before issuing a title policy and change their mind, but its unlikely. ? And, yes, I’m sure it did contribute to your getting a better deal. I have always found the majority of my auction buying profits have come from a handful of tweaky deals that only I figured out. Pays to do the extra research.

Hi Sean, I thought the escrow account is opened when there is a buyer on the line? What is the purpose of opening an escrow w/o a buyer? Can you even do that? Thanks.

If you plan to sell it there is no reason not to open escrow immediately… even before you list the property. Most title companies allow this, and if something is wrong you’ll find out before you are in contract giving you more time to resolve it.