A Lien As Part of a Quick Sale??

Asked by Dawn, Tucson, AZ Mon Feb 16, 2009

My daughter and her fiance put in an offer today on an $80K house in Phoenix on a "quick sale." Her agent said there is a chance that there is a lien on the house that the buyers would be asked to absorb. It could be $40K. Neither she nor I have any idea what this means. Doesn't sound very smart to me since the point is to get into an affordable house. Can you explain this? The agent said liens like this are common in "quick-sales." Thanks. Dawn in Tucson.

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Ric Mills, Agent, Oro Valley, AZ
Fri Nov 23, 2012
I would need to know more info about the lien and the particular situation. Ask them what the $40K lien includes. That 80K offer may have jumped to $120K with the lien. Find out more info and ask if the bank can absorb the lien. You should not be responsible for a lien that the Seller incurred. Find out more info. Contact me at AzProperties@Ymail.com.
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Marilyn Stark, Agent, Tucson, AZ
Wed Mar 23, 2011
Hi Dawn

You are right to be cautious in this situation. Your daughter and her fiance need to understand the entire situation before purchasing this house. Your daughter's agent should fully explain what is meant by "a chance there is a lien." That agent is obliged to put your daughter's interests above his own as he counsels her through a home purchase.

A lien is a claim against property that must be repaid. For example, when someone takes out a mortgage on a house, that creates a lien against the property. If someone takes out a second mortgage, such as a home improvement loan, that also creates another lien against the property. In this example, there would be two liens on the house. When this house is sold in a normal manner (not a Foreclosure or Short Sale), both liens must be repaid by the Seller.

In a Short Sale, the lender or lien holder agrees to take less than the full lien amount owed by the Seller and allows the house to be sold. In the example above of someone having two liens, the lender of the first mortgage may agree to the Short Sale. However, the lender of the second mortgage may refuse and prevent the Short Sale. A result of this refusal may be that the house goes into Foreclosure. Then, neither of the liens is paid, and both lenders lose.

There are other reasons liens that are recorded against property; i.e., if the taxes were not paid, If a repairman fixed the roof and was not paid, if the Seller had a judgment, etc.

When you say Quick Sale, do you possibly mean Short Sale? If so, your daughter may be encountering a lien holder asking that the Buyer (your daughter) pay off the lien owed by the Seller. If the house is a real bargain, a Buyer may want to consider to consider it. Otherwise, there are many other great houses available.

Best of luck to you and your daughter,
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George Szkup, , Tucson, AZ
Tue Feb 17, 2009
You have excelent answer from Joyse Barnes. Discuss this situation with your lender and Tille/Escrow company. And, perhaps, your best solution may be looking for another place and leave this one for an investor ?
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Tucson Home Advisor LLC - Realtors
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Joyce Barnes, , Tucson, AZ
Tue Feb 17, 2009
Hi Dawn,
Perhaps the Realtor was referring to a Quit Claim Deed, which relieves the seller of all claims to the property. As described in the other answers, any liens on the property go with the deed on the property, meaning they are now owed by the new owner. These liens could be back taxes, mechanics liens for building repairs or for any other way in which the seller used the home for collateral. Any known outstanding liens need to be paid in full at the time of sale. If the property is appraised for more than the combined cost of the purchase price and the amount needed to pay off the liens, a lender may include them in the mortgage. A title search will identify the liens on the property and title insurance will protect the buyer from having to pay for any liens that may not have been recorded at the time of the search. Hope this information is helpful.
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Robin Willis, Agent, Tucson, AZ
Mon Feb 16, 2009
Hi Dawn,

I am not familiar with the term "Quick Sale". However, if there is a lien on the property that is not paid off at the time of closing then that lien will remain with the property. It would be advisable for your daughter and her fiance to consider that as part of the price of the house and make their decision from that stand-point. Also, make sure that there are no other liens on the property or this could turn into a very expensive "affordable house." They should be able to check into these liens during the 10-day inspection period and can back out without penalty if they make the decision prior to the end of the inspection period.

Good luck to your daughter and her fiance.
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