Definition of "Do I have a Lien on my Home?"

Susan & Steve Hanson real estate agent

Written by

Susan & Steve Hansonelite badge icon

William Raveis Real Estate

Here you are asking us: “Do I have a lien on my home?”

We don’t know. Do you?

Here are some of the reasons why one would have a lien on their home:


Failing to pay the principal of your mortgage. The lender can apply a lien, put the house in foreclosure and seize your property because you fail to pay off your debt.

Tax delinquency.

Failing to pay city, county, federal and income taxes can, in the long run, cause a lien on your home.

Vendor contracts.

Say you make a deal with a contractor for a pricey renovation in your home where you will pay up as time passes because it’s a very big figure to pay at once. Unknowingly, this settlement you’ve made can give the contractor the right to put a lien on your home if you miss one payment. This is very common, actually. A contractor doesn’t always have a large reserve of money like a typical lender, so he can’t wait for the money to go to his account. Even though there is interest and he’ll earn more in the end. He needs the money now. What does he do? He sells the lien to a bank, who pays the value right there. Now the bank has a lien with interest and will make your life harder.

Judgment lien

Lost a lawsuit in court – non-real estate related - and now you need to pay up? You might have a lien on your home until the debt is cleared.

And even failing to clean up your garbage, fixing hazards within your lawn/curb, unpaid tickets for illegal parking and moving violations can cause a lien to your property perpetrated by your municipality.

So, as you can see… there are a lot of reasons and a lot of people who can put a lien on your property. If any of those happened to you, then maybe there *is* a lien on your home. Anyways, to be 100% sure, head to your local county recorder, clerk or assessor’s office because that’s where you will find the most precise answer.

Real Estate Advice:

By now you’ve figured you need to pay everything in time, right? The most common liens come from accruing a debt. Pay up in time and there will be no lien on your home. But, just in case, get Title Insurance as a way to cover yourself should any undiscovered lien get revealed – it can happen.

image of a real estate dictionary page

Have a question or comment?

We're here to help.

*** Your email address will remain confidential.


Popular Real Estate Questions

Popular Real Estate Glossary Terms

Founded in 1908 and located in Washington, DC, BOMA has 7,500 members and 10 regional groups and 6 state groups. It consists of managers, owners, investors, and developers of commercial ...

An organized group of ethical behavior guidelines governing the day-to-day activities of a profession or organization. ...

Legal proceeding to exercise a right in a disagreement between private individuals or businesses. One party seeks a remedy against the other. It does not involve a criminal situation. ...

Claim of a person or business to real property such as by exercising an option. ...

Transfer of the title of land, real estate, or personal property from one person or entity to another. This transfer is typically made via a trust deed, mortgage, sales contract or similar ...

Same as term REIT: Type of investment company that invests money in mortgages and various types of investment in real estate, in order to earn profits for shareholders. Shareholders receive ...

Tenant that stays in the leased property after the expiration date if the lease. He can be evicted or given a new rental agreement. ...

Wires, such as for electricity, places beneath the floor of a structure. ...

Bottom frame of wood supporting a window. It should be strong in order to support something put in the window such as an air conditioner. ...