I guess that it's the kind of thing I am asking about?? The subdivision has been around for six or seven years if that makes a difference.
What if the contractor who built the subdivision failed to pay the guy who did the grading? I would think you want to be protected. If your really want to save the $1000 then I strongly advise you to verify yourself that there are no liens by spending time at the county records office yourself. Your might also want to take a few real estate law courses first so that you are sure you know what you are looking at.
If I recall you are in Louisiana, right? Make sure you understand how land disputes are handled under civil law and the Napoleanic Code rather than how things are done in the other 49 states.
It is probably worth it. I'm not sure about Louisiana, but in many states contractors and subcontractors can file a lien several months after work is completed.... i.e. after you're closed on the purchase. In DH's example, you are on the hook for the lien, and essentially have to pay for that portion of the work twice. Sure, you can sue the contractor, but if he isn't paying the subs, you're probably not collecting from him either. He's already spent it all and will be filing for bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, that scenario is fairly common. The title companies don't want to lose money, so the good ones will make sure they have lien waivers from everyone before closing.