Definition of "Judgment lien"

Renee Joseph real estate agent
Renee Joseph, Real Estate Agent Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Wondering what a Judgment Lien is?

Well, a Lien can be consensual or non-consensual, right? Meaning it can be forced or agreed upon by way of a bilateral contract. When we say “forced” is by way of a lawsuit that imposes a lien: a judgment lien.

Wondering how to stop a lien on your property? Well, once a court assigns a judgment lien, the homeowner can do the following in order to get rid of it:

  • Pay off the debt or fix whatever it is that made the judge impose the judgment lien
  • Ask the courts (all the way to the supreme court, if possible) to remove the judgment lien
  • File for bankruptcy as a last resort measure

But how a judgment lien is created? Who can put a lien on your property? It’s pretty simple. Say you owe money to someone. That someone sues you in court, and the judge allows them to record a lien on your asset as a way to ensure that you pay off the debt.

Judgment liens are typically contingent to the state where the court is located. That is; if you have a dispute on New Jersey, the judge will not be able to apply the judgment lien on a New York property you have. And a pesky feature of judgment liens is that they become attached to properties you acquire later. In fact, even if you don’t have any asset, the lien gets recorded to your name and whenever you buy any form of real estate, the lien – that was there silently sitting, waiting to come alive - becomes live.

The good news: most of them expire after some time (typically 7 to 10 years), but some can be renewed indefinitely.

Real Estate Tips:

Never enter the home buying process without Title Insurance! Your pockets and your well-being will thank you!

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