Can you sell a house with a lien on it?

claim of lien notice

Selling a house for most is already a complex process. When you sell a house with a lien on it, the process becomes even more complex. The more you know about selling a house with a lien and the options available, the easier the home selling experience becomes.


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.


How do I sell a house with a lien on it?

If you want to move, but have a lien on your house, you still have options. A house can be sold “as is” when there is a lien or judgment against the property or seller. Big State Home Buyers has walked thousands of homeowners through the whole process, from educating about liens to 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 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. Judgments from creditors are rarely set in stone. Smart lien-holders will always take something rather than nothing. You just need to ensure you know your rights and that you don’t give creditors more information than they need.

You don’t 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 are 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 need to sell a house with a lien on it fast, follow these steps:

  1. 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 cannot be negotiated, but many can be settled for little or no money at all.
  2. Locate a qualified buyer. Finding someone interested in buying a house with a lien against it can be challenging. Many buyers and Realtors see liens and judgments as major problems requiring everything to be paid in full. If the creditor is particularly difficult, they may run out of patience and give up. Find someone who understands your need to sell your house as is and also knows how to secure the lien releases and negotiate reduced settlements.
  3. Allow an expert to work for you. An expert makes an important difference in the result. An experienced investor or title company can guide what you say to creditors when settling liens. It’s often best to not tell the lien holder that you need to release to sell a house because that gives them the upper hand. Other times, you do want them to know this information because they will wait for the settlement payment, knowing it will come from closing proceeds. Saying the right things without having experience in these conversations proves difficult. For this reason, make sure you work with the right professional.

Do liens expire?

Every state has different laws for the statute of limitations for a lien. Even if the lien expires, in most states, creditors can re-file the lien to extend it.


Can you sell a house with a lien on it by yourself?

Technically, yes. But the process is strenuous, complicated, and highly stressful, especially when your own emotions are involved. Creditors know that most people misunderstand their rights and options in resolving a lien. When you have an expert on your side who thoroughly understands liens and selling a house with a lien, creditors are much more likely to negotiate.

When you need to sell your house fast, consider working with Big State Home Buyers. Whether your debt involves the IRS, a credit card company, the tax authority or even an individual, our 12+ years of experience in all types of liens lets homeowners sell fast and move on with life. Selling a house with a lien on it can be messy, but you’re not alone—we can help.

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