Can You Sell a Home that Has a Lien on it in Pennsylvania?

Posted: February 14, 2019 12:21 am


A  lien is a claim someone places on your property because (they claim) you owe that person money; having a lien can make selling your home more difficult, but not impossible if you have the right real estate attorney.


You Can’t Solve a Problem in Ignorance

Before listing your home, do a title search, that will show any property liens outstanding. Don’t let your buyer’s real estate agent find it; that could kill your sale immediately. If you feel the lien was imposed in error, you can dispute it — to the creditor or to the court. You should clear all liens, if you can, before listing. Many creditors will settle for less than the full amount owed (from their perspective, it’s better than getting nothing) but this needs to be vigorously negotiated and clearly documented by a pro.


Types of Liens

A mechanic’s lien may be placed on your home if a contractor or subcontractor is owed over $500 for work done. Be aware that Pennsylvania law specifies the procedures involved in placing such a property lien and the lien can be declared invalid if the claimant improperly files it.

A municipal lien may be placed on your home if the owner is delinquent in taxes. State law attaches that lien to a specific property, but the law also allows cities to collect back taxes via a judgment lien, which attaches to a person. That means taxing authorities can seize funds from the sale of any property in the county where the liened property is located.

Other types include Judgments against Homeowners Associations or Condominium or PUD Assessments (regarding common property of the Association), Inheritance Tax Liens, Commercial Real Estate Brokers Liens and more. Regardless of the type, the lien holder must issue a release before the lien comes off the title search. The whole practice of liens looks far more complex than it is, but this isn’t usually a do-it-yourself project. Missing legal details means added home-sale headaches.


Don’t Get Caught by Details

Contact James Vendetti — not only is he an experienced real estate attorney, but he’s also a licensed title insurance agent and a certified real estate agent. If you have property in the Erie, Pennsylvania, area with a lien on it, Vendetti Real Estate Solutions is your full-service practice. Countless residents have run into roadblock after roadblock trying to buy or sell a home. The Vendetti approach is different, it gets you into your new home, or gets your old home off your hands.