is there a lien on my house

Is There a Lien On My House? How to Find Out

Is there a lien on my house? It sounds like something you’d already know about. However, the reality is that they often lurk under the radar, popping up at the worst possible time. 

For instance, when you want to sell your house and a public records search brings up a lien… That’s news no one wants to find out about. If you list your house on the traditional market, it causes delays, or a deal might fall apart. 

Luckily, there’s a way to find out if you have a lien on your house. It’s a relatively simple process. Moreover, if you find out early, you can address it before you start the selling process. 

Below, we look at how to figure out whether there is a lien on a property. 

What Is a Lien? 

First, it’s important to understand what a lien is. A lien is a legal notice attached to the property title due to an unpaid debt. Unfortunately, that means the unpaid party has a legal claim to a portion of the property when it sells. Usually, you cannot sell or refinance a property if you don’t clear the lien. 

Types of Liens

  • Tax liens result from unpaid taxes, including property tax liens and liens filed by the IRS for missed federal payments. 
  • Contractor or mechanical liens come from a homeowner daily to pay the contractors they hired for services or materials. 
  • Judgment liens result from a court ruling that you owe money to the other party in the case. Generally, these include settlements involving unpaid credit card debt, medical expenses, and child support. 

Unfortunately, there are cases in which homeowners have no idea that there’s a lien on their home. For example, say a couple buys a new home, but the contractors never received payment for their work. Those contractors have the option to file a lien on the property. 

That leaves the couple asking, “How is there a lien on my house?” 

How to Find Liens on a Property

For better or worse, liens are a matter of public record. That means it is simple to find out about a lien on your property or anyone else’s property. It’s a double-edged sword in that way because that means other people have the power to find out about your liens as well. 

Per Section 32.03 of the Tax Code, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs maintains a record of all liens on manufactured homes. To check for tax liens, you can search these records online or call 1-800-500-7074, ext. 64471. All you need is either the Texas Seal number or both the serial number and HUD Label of the house. 

In other states, there are similar offices that maintain these records. Often, they are also available with an online search.

Another option is to work with a title company and let them do the work for you. 

Is There a Lien On My House? Now You Can Find Out!

Now that you know whether you have a lien on your house, what do you do when you find one? First, it’s important not to panic. If you already paid it, just provide proof in a lien release. 

However, if you haven’t paid it yet, it’s important to work that out before you sell. It’s easy for liens to become an issue for every party involved. Still, there are ways around it where you can pay the difference in cash upon closing. 

When you work with a cash home buyer or real estate investor, you have an easy way to sort that out and sell without interruption. 

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