In New York any judgement attaches to real property, so if it was a judgement against you, it would automatically attach. If you failed to show up in a court proceeding, that could be a judgement. If you failed to pay child support, that could be a judgement. Not sure how other states work but in New York, you cannot refinance or sell a piece of property without that showing up. That is why the attorneys or closing agents do a title search before title passes to a new property owner.