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How To Sell Your House When You Have Liens in Lancaster PA

As a homeowner in Lancaster, it can feel impossible to sell your house with liens or tax problems. If you don’t have the cash to pay off the debt, you could be stuck with the property for much longer than you would like, driving you even further into debt. In the post, you will learn more about property liens along what you can do to sell your house no matter what you are up against.

What Is A Lien?

Per Investopedia, “A property lien is a legal claim on assets which allows the holder to obtain access to the property if debts are not paid. A property lien must be filed and approved by a county records office or state agency. It is then delivered to the property holder with specific terms notifying them that action has been taken to repossess a piece of property.”

In the case of real estate, your lender may place a lien on the house if you are not paying your mortgage in a timely manner. Homeowners can also be hit with a mechanic’s lien or a judgment lien when work is performed on the property without any payment ever received. If the homeowner isn’t able to pay off the lien, the issuing party has the ability to foreclose on the property. By placing a lien on the property, the creditor stops your ability to sell the house until the debt has been repaid in full.

Common Types of Liens


These liens are applied automatically by the state or federal law that is in place. They are considered involuntary due to the owner of the property most likely not agreeing to pay or refusal to pay.

Tax liens

These liens are one’s that we see the most often for home buyers in the Central Pa region. Many people fall behind on taxes and are forced to pay back the unpaid property taxes in the form of a lien at some point. This often occurs at closing when you go to sell your house. Liens can be placed by local and federal level officials against your property. You can see if your house has an upaid tax lien against it by checking via the links below:

Mechanic’s liens

When a contractor or mechanic works on your property and you fail to pay them, they can place a mechanic’s lien on the property.

These are also referred to commonly as “construction liens.” New home construction sometimes get’s held up due to financing issues with the buyers causing contractors to not get paid. In this case the contractor has the right to file a lien for unpaid work.

Mechanics liens can be removed through various means, but often it’s easier to settle with the contractor for a pre determined amount before you attempt to sell your house.

Home-buying liens

Also commonly known as a first mortgage or satisfaction agreement, home-buying liens generally use the home as collateral and protects the lenders money in the property. If you are trying to sell your house and your mortgage amount owed is higher than the agreed upon sale price, this will cause you to bring additional out of pocket money to the closing table.
A recent example of this was the housing buble of 2008 where many individuals found themselves “upside down” on their properties, meaning they owned more on their mortgage than their house was worth. In these cases many people are forced to foreclose on their house since the lender is unwilling to accept anything less than what was borrowed on the property originally.


As the name implies, consensual liens are voluntary. Both parties agree to the terms of the lien and sign off on the conditions.

Purchase-Money Security Liens

The easiset way to explain this type of lien is when a borrower using down payment money from a lender to buy a house. The borrower is receiving a “credit” in order to close the property. This property secures the credit. Types of purchase-money security liens include home mortgages, car loans, and other purchases of property involving a credit agreement.

Non-Purchase-Money Security Liens

This is the reverse of a purchase-money security lien. The lender already owns property, and they use it as security for borrowing more money. Refinancing, reverse mortgage, or a second mortgage are all good examples of how this type of lien is used.


These by far are the worst type of lien to avoid as a member of the judiciary can pass down a judgement about what to do with your property. This could potentially put creditors ahead of your desired plan with the property and give them a right to to determine what to do with the property. Losing possession of your property would leave you with little say on who to or how it was sold.

Lines 203 – 219 are where you will see any outstanding liens or unpaid taxes on a HUD Sheet

Options to Resolve the Lien

Sell Directly To 717 Home Buyers

With a direct sale of your house to 717 Home Buyers, you will be able to leave the liens and tax problems behind. You won’t have to find the money to pay off liens or to pay off your back taxes. We will handle all of the debts, while quickly and efficiently buying your property for an excellent price. All of the hassles and headaches could be over in only a matter of days, allowing you to sell your house with liens or tax problems fast in Lancaster!

Create a Repayment Plan

While paying off everything you owe all in one shot can feel overwhelming, many creditors will work with you to create a payment plan to help you pay off your debt. Before you feel too defeated, reach out to the creditor to try to work something out. Ultimately, their goal is simply to collect what they are owed. Making an effort will help your creditors more forgiving and willing to work with you. Once the liens are lifted from the property, you will be able to sell your house, but this can take a considerable amount of time depending on how much debt you are in. When working to pay off the debt, it could mean that you end up holding onto your house for longer than you wanted to. Once your debt is repaid, you will be able to move ahead with the sale of the property, but you may miss out on some great opportunities while you wait.

File a Dispute on the Lien

If a lien has been issued against your property that you disagree with, not all hope is lost. You have the ability to dispute the lien so long as you have a strong rebuttal. You’ll need to have supporting documentation and a valid case against the creditor. To strengthen your case, you’ll want to start fighting the lien as soon as it is placed against your home, if not before. Ultimately, you want to do all you can to make sure a lien isn’t placed on your property in the first place. Typically, there are a number of requirements a creditor must meet before issuing a lien, so keep in mind, they have already done their homework on what they are rightfully owed.

If you are disputing a lien based on poor performance by your contractor, keep detailed records of what you were promised, what you received, and all of the money you spent to fix the errors. Be sure to include inspection records, dates, and photos with your other evidence.

What Can Happen if the Lien Isn’t Resolved

Ultimately, if certain liens go unresolved you run the risk of losing your home. When liens go unpaid, the creditor has the ability to foreclose, assuming ownership of the property themselves. If you have a lien on your house or if you have problems paying the property taxes, you will want to take action right away. Reach out to your creditors to resolve the situation, or work with the team at 717 Home Buyers to sell your house right away.

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