How To Sell Your House When You Have Liens in Houston

Selling a house in Houston can feel daunting, particularly when faced with liens or tax issues. Lacking the funds to settle these debts can prolong your property sale, worsening your financial situation. This article delivers key insights on handling property liens and outlines successful strategies for selling your home, overcoming any challenges that may arise.

What Is A Lien?

Investopedia explains that a property lien constitutes a legal right over assets, granting the holder the power to confiscate the property if debts are not paid. For a lien to be valid, it requires formal registration with a county records office or an appropriate state authority. Upon registration, the property owner is notified about the commencement of repossession actions against their property.

In real estate, homeowners failing to meet mortgage payments may face a lien from their lender. Additionally, unresolved payments for work done on the property can lead to mechanic’s or judgment liens. If a homeowner cannot settle these liens, creditors are empowered to initiate foreclosure. A lien essentially prevents the sale of the property until the debt is fully repaid.

Common Types of Liens


These liens are automatically imposed by state or federal laws, classified as involuntary because the property owner is either unwilling to consent or refuses to make payment.

Tax liens

In the Houston area, home buyers commonly face various liens, primarily due to property owners falling behind on tax payments. These situations typically necessitate the resolution of outstanding property taxes through a lien, which is usually settled at the closing of the house sale. Liens can be imposed by both local and federal authorities as a claim against your property.

A house that we recently helped sell in Houston, Texas.
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Mechanic’s liens

Failing to compensate a contractor or mechanic for work done on your property can lead to the enforcement of a mechanic’s lien, also known as a construction lien, against it. Financing delays for buyers may sometimes cause setbacks in building new homes, resulting in unpaid contractors.

In such cases, contractors are entitled to file a lien to secure payment for their services. The most direct method to resolve a mechanic’s lien is often to negotiate a settlement with the contractor before selling the property.

A prevalent type of lien in the home-buying process is the first mortgage or satisfaction agreement. It acts as a protective measure for lenders, ensuring their investment is safe by using the property as collateral. When selling your home, if the mortgage balance exceeds the sale price, you are obliged to pay the difference at closing.

The 2008 housing crisis is a prime example of the challenges that arise when homeowners end up with negative equity, owing more on their mortgage than the current market value of their home. This led to a significant number of foreclosures, as lenders were generally unwilling to accept less than the amount secured by the property.


Consensual liens, as their name suggests, are formed through mutual agreement. Both parties intentionally consent to the terms of the lien and officially validate the agreed-upon conditions with their signatures.

Purchase-Money Security Liens

A purchase-money security lien typically occurs when a borrower uses the funds from a lender as a down payment to purchase a house. In this scenario, the borrower receives “credit” to facilitate the acquisition of the property, which then serves as the collateral. This form of lien is prevalent in home mortgages, car loans, and other financed property acquisitions.

On the other hand, non-purchase-money security liens operate differently. In these cases, the borrower leverages property they already own as collateral to secure additional financing. This method is commonly used in refinancing, reverse mortgages, and second mortgages, illustrating the varied uses of this type of lien.


These liens are to be avoided at all costs since they grant judicial system members the power to control the fate of your property. This authority enables creditors to override your intentions for the property, giving them the decision-making power over its future. This loss of control not only lessens your involvement in the sales process but also in choosing the buyer, markedly diminishing your influence.

Options to Resolve the Lien

Sell Directly To Sound Homebuyers

Selling your house directly to Sound Homebuyers presents a smooth pathway to leaving behind any lien and tax implications. It removes the burden of urgently gathering funds to settle outstanding debts or back taxes.

We manage all financial responsibilities, guaranteeing a fast and fair transaction for your property. Experience fast relief from the stress and difficulties often associated with selling a home. Sell your house quickly in Houston, free from any lien or tax issues, and move forward with ease.

Create a Repayment Plan

Clearing all your debts might appear daunting, but numerous creditors are open to arranging a practical repayment plan with you. Instead of succumbing to feelings of being overwhelmed, actively engaging with your creditors to discuss potential solutions is crucial. Their primary goal is to recover the owed amounts.

By demonstrating a readiness to work together, you are likely to encounter creditors who are more amenable and open to negotiation. However, it’s crucial to understand that removing liens from your property, especially in cases of significant debt, can be a complicated endeavor.

In the journey of debt repayment, you may need to hold onto your property longer than anticipated. However, clearing your debts opens up the possibility of selling your property. Throughout this time, keep in mind that certain advantageous opportunities might be missed.

File a Dispute on the Lien

Facing an unjust lien on your property can be daunting, but it’s important to remember that you have the power to challenge it effectively. The key lies in presenting a compelling counterargument, underpinned by a thorough collection of all pertinent documents to build a solid defense against the claimant.

Taking prompt action is crucial. It’s advisable to start contesting the lien as soon as it’s placed on your property, or even preemptively if possible, with the aim of preventing its imposition altogether. Creditors must meet certain conditions before issuing a lien, implying they are convinced of their right to the claimed amount based on their initial investigation.

In instances where a lien results from substandard work by a contractor, maintaining detailed records becomes indispensable. Ensure you document every agreement, the work completed, and any extra expenses incurred to rectify mistakes. Bolster your case with inspection reports, relevant dates, and photographs. This meticulous approach not only solidifies your stance but also promotes transparency throughout the dispute resolution process.

What Can Happen if the Lien Isn’t Resolved

Neglecting certain liens can compromise the security of your home. Unresolved liens grant creditors the authority to foreclose on your property. It’s crucial to take swift action if your home is subject to a lien or if you’re facing difficulties with property tax payments.

Reach out to your creditors promptly to resolve the issue, or consider partnering with Sound Homebuyers for a swift property sale. Sound Homebuyers purchases homes across Texas, including cities like Alvin, Baytown, Deer Park, and more.We specialize in buying houses in any condition throughout Texas, offering a seamless transaction without the burden of commissions, fees, or any obligations. Discover what our satisfied clients have to say by visiting our testimonials.

About Franklin Ivy

I am a devout family man who along with my wife Kelly, has been blessed with two wonderful boys. Together we dedicate our spare time to helping raise the kids, coaching our oldest son in sports, and entertaining family and friends. I have been in the residential home market for 15 years buying and renovating homes. I look forward to working with you. You can connect with me here: About Our Company

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