What is A Lien and Can You Sell A House With A Lien On It? | Big State Home Buyers

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Selling a house for most is already a complex process. When you want to sell a house with a lien on it, the process can become more complex or impossible. The more you know about selling a house with a lien and the options available, the home selling experience can be easier. 


What is a Lien on a House?

A lien is usually a public record that is filed with a county records office for an actual property. Liens, particularly on real estate, are a frequent method used by creditors to collect what they are owed.


Selling A House With a Lien On It

Are you thinking about moving, but you have a lien on your house and you’re not sure what to do? Well, we have good news: a house can in fact be sold “as is” when there is a lien or judgement against the property or seller. We’ve walked thousands of homeowners through this whole process, from educating them on what a lien on a house is, to the end goal of selling a property with liens, so we know from experience. Every title problem is solvable – all you need is a little imagination and a lot of practice. Even if the debt actually exceeds the property value you can still sell a house with a lien on it.


First, start with an expert who can contact the lien holder to negotiate for a partial or full release of the lien. Judgements from creditors are rarely set in stone: smart lien holders will always take something rather than nothing – you just need to make sure you know your rights and that you don’t give creditors more information than they need.


You don’t even have to pay these settlements before closing! Liens against houses can be paid in multiple ways. Traditionally, a seller will pay these debts at closing where the debts can be deducted from the proceeds of the sale. This means that you likely won’t have to pay any upfront costs; if you find the right title experts you can even negotiate with your creditors to secure a full or partial release of the lien, even when settling the liens for pennies on the dollar.


If you’ve decided you’re ready to sell quickly, this should be your game plan to sell a house with a lien on it:


Evaluate the Liens

Determine what types of liens and judgments are against you or the property you need to sell. The procedure for each lien is different, and some types of liens aren’t up for negotiation, but many can be settled for little or no money at all.


Locate a Qualified Buyer

It’s no small task to find someone interested in buying a house with a lien against it. Many buyers and realtors see liens and judgments as major problems – they will usually make you pay everything off in full. Also, if they run into a difficult creditor they may just give up, and leave you high and dry. Find someone who not only understands your need for selling a house as is, but also knows how to secure those lien releases and negotiate reduced settlements.


Allow an Expert to Work for You

It’s important to allow an experienced investor or Title Company to guide you on what to say to your creditors when settling liens. Sometimes it’s best not to tell the lien holder that you need the release to sell a house because then they’ll know they have the upper hand. Other times you do want the creditor to know the release is going towards a sale because they will wait for the settlement payment knowing it will come from closing proceeds. There is a lot to know, so it’s critical that you find the right person to walk you through this process. Selling a house with a lien on it can be messy, but you don’t have to go it alone.


Can You Sell a House with a Lien on it By Yourself?

Technically you can, but why not call on the experts that have first-hand experience resolving the very problem you’re facing? Creditors know that most people don’t understand their rights, but if you have an expert on your side who understands the ins and outs of what a lien on a house is and selling it with liens they are much more likely to negotiate.


For a quick sale of home, consider working with Big State Home Buyers: we’ve helped thousands of homeowners sell houses with liens. Whether your debt is with the IRS, a credit card company, the tax authority or even an individual, we have years of experience settling all types of liens so sellers can sell fast. There’s no title problem too big or small – at Big State one call solves all.




To get a no risk, free quote from your friends at Big State, contact us. We can have your quote within 24 hours.

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  1. Aletta on April 23, 2017 at 2:00 am

    I sold my home on 12.15.16, Bank of America was my lender, KVS Title was my title company. Here we are in April and I receive a letter from HUD stating that I owe 19,000, I saw the lien on the title search and thougt the professionals took care of this at closing, how am
    I responsible for paying this when it should have come out at closing? I am so confused, any assistance would be so appreciated.

  2. Ian lee on April 25, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    I recently sold my home for $235,000..At closing I didn’t know I had took out some kind of partial claim loan when prosuing another loan modification..At closing HUD never said I owed any amount and at closing why wasn’t this included?? Now HUD is saying I owe the remaining balance, so my question is what consequences does the title company receive if they sold my house with a lein on it?? And how did they even get it released to be sold??

  3. Brian Spitz on May 6, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    Ian – interesting this sounds like another situation like the one above. What state is your property in? Do you have a copy of the title commitment the title co offered when they pulled your title? The list of liens and such? In Texas yes, this most certainly should have been paid off. And if this was a lien against the house then it would still be there, though the title insurance policy there really protects the people who bought the house from you from having to pay that lien. Email us at info at big state home buyers dot com for more information.

  4. Wayne Jolliff on June 18, 2017 at 8:33 am

    I sold my home 17 years ago in Louisiana. I have lived in Texas 4 years.
    I recently claimed chapter 7 in Texas.
    A lien exists on my Louisiana home, will I have to pay it?

    • Brian Spitz on July 3, 2017 at 12:04 am

      Hey Wayne,
      Can you tell us about the lien on the Louisiana home? Did the home have the lien on it before you sold it, or after?

  5. Lyn Thomas on July 3, 2017 at 11:58 am

    i have a home in Texas with a federal lien on it from a joint and several case with the Justice Department. There is a $90,000 balance on the penalty from this case and a lien along with it. I want to sell this house, but cannot get any information or help from the DOJ to approve the sale and subsequent payment of the penalty balance. I’m concerned that a sale won’t go through because of this lien, and I need to sale this home. The only alternative i can forsee is to let the property go into foreclosure. Any advice for this situation?

  6. Dane on July 24, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Dear Big State, Do you buy or help California home owners sell their property? If so I would be interested. Thank You

    • Brian Spitz on July 25, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      Hey Dane,
      We’ve never done it before, but it’s not impossible. Give us a call at (713) 909-4119 and we’d love to hear about your home.