by Sue McKee, Ground Clearance LLC ♦
A few simple steps to check for liens before you purchase an expensive piece of equipment can save you dollars and headaches,  according to Ground Clearance LLC, lien search service for the equipment industry.

Usually it is the buyer’s responsibility to conduct a search to determine if a creditor has established a perfected interest on a piece of equipment. However, sometimes sellers already have performed a lien search, either before purchasing a used piece of equipment or in preparation for the sale.
Ground Clearance frequently receives calls from buyers purchasing equipment through third parties, such as brokers, dealers or auction companies. Buyers cannot rely upon a third party to volunteer the sellers’ information to them. 

Here are some tips for buyers:

  • Ask if a lien search was conducted on the seller for this specific piece of equipment.
  • Ask for a copy of the lien search, including listings that show all active UCC’s filed against the debtor. Cross-check the UCC filing numbers against the releases or terminations.
  • Check the date of the search to be sure it’s current – though it’s not a 100-percent guarantee no new liens were filed immediately before the sale.
  • Any release from a creditor with a blanket UCC (usually stating “all equipment, inventory” or “all assets”) likely will be in the form of the letter on the creditor’s letterhead. Obtain a copy of this from the seller, making sure it lists the equipment with make, model and serial number and that it states that the creditor has no interest in the equipment or the proceeds from the sale.     
Ground Clearance will work with third parties involved in a sale to verify debt while keeping owner information private. Each party gets the information they need to make a successful deal.  Call 402-484-5071 or visit