Property Unimproved But Construction Imminent

In most jurisdictions, the relative priority of the mortgage with labor or materialmen’s liens is determined by the time of recording of the mortgage in relation to the commencement of work on the property. Therefore, in most instances, recording the mortgage before work commences will assure priority. In most instances, the lien exception can be removed upon the execution by the seller/borrower/contractor of Affidavit of Non-Commencement of Construction. The agent must also perform a physical inspection of the property to verify no work has commenced prior to recording the mortgage. The agent should be alert for any set of facts which might indicate that construction has in fact begun before recording of the mortgage, and special care must be taken to record the mortgage as soon as possible after the closing. For commercial construction projects, the Company requires that pictures of the unimproved construction site be taken immediately before the recording of the mortgage. Agents National Title underwriting counsel should be called if there are any questions. Be aware that “commencement of work” on the property is defined differently in various states. In some states “commencement of work” for mechanics’ liens priority may mean the start of planning, architectural drawings, soil testing, or other off-site work. In these states, priority of a mortgage or ownership interest may be legally impossible to obtain against mechanics’ liens which may be recorded in the future.