What does Lis Pendens mean to a potential buyer?

Asked by Craig, Avondale, Jacksonville, FL Tue Nov 10, 2009

I've encountered numerous Lis Pendens listings, several that I'm interested in, but the listings never include a listing agent or complete address.

Regarding two different listings, I’ve contacted local agents representing three different reputable companies, and all have been unable to clarify beyond the Trulia listing. “I don’t know.” “Can’t find anything about it.” “It doesn’t come up in MLS.”

Then, to further the mystery, in a day or two, one Lis Pendens listing is removed altogether, and there’s no evidence that I saw a listing for 123 XYZ Street for 100K.

Are these properties for sale or not? Can someone please explain? There are several LP properties I’m very interested in. Any clarification greatly appreciated!

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J.D. "Dan" &…, Agent, Orange Park, FL
Tue Jul 24, 2012
Hi Craig,

Although your question is 3 years old I will share what I have learned so that others might see it.

Lis Pendens (The Latin not-withstanding) is a "Legal Term" for "Suit Pending".

When a home enters the foreclosure process the lender files a notice of suit, the Lis Pendens.

The Lis Pendens is a public record, notifying all who may have an interest in the property of the pending lawsuit.

Today many SCAM artists have learned to work the system and advertise that they have information about foreclosures, you can send in some money for the list. DON'T DO IT.

Licensed REALTORS have the most up-to-date information on houses on the market whether or not the foreclosure has been completed.

Lenders seldom if ever want to deal directly with home-owners and will often tell the home owner to get the home listed with a REALTOR. The only real exception is when the lender will take a deed in lieu of foreclosure (just as bad as foreclosure on credit scores).

In Today's market be careful of vacant houses with a "For Sale By Owner" Sign. The new scam is to put up a sign, get called and pick up a quick $100 to $500 from an unsuspecting buyer when the "SELLER" has no right to be selling the house.

Lastly, there are some going around with signs saying "Government Homes" - $100. Also a SCAM. All Government homes are listed with REALTORS, whether they are HUD, VA, Fannie Mae, or Freddy Mac.

Most real estate SCAMS are Felonies in Florida

Good Luck

J.D. "Dan" Weisenburger, GRI
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty
(904) 553-0079
4 votes
their question may have been three years old but i thank you for answering it for my benifitand others who read.Thank you Cindy from long Island, NY
Flag Fri Jul 29, 2016
Tatumlea, Home Buyer, Sebastopol, CA
Fri Aug 21, 2015
Lis Pendens is Latin for "Suit Pending." Lis Pendens is a notice filed in the public record that a lawsuit has been filed against the property. Most likely the lawsuit filed is a foreclosure. So you can either approach the owner and payoff the outstanding loan to the bank or wait for the proeprty to emerge as an REO.
2 votes
Sharon Morris, Renter, Grand Prairie, TX
Sat Jul 2, 2016
Lis Pendens does not necessarily mean a property is in danger of foreclosure - i've had one filed against me by a shady investor who is trying to force me to sell him my recently inherited property - there are no mortgage payments owed on my house
1 vote
Sophie.caulf…, Home Buyer, Dallas, TX
Thu May 30, 2013
My experience with a Lis Pendis being filed against me in Rockwall county court falsely. The nursing home was trying to sue me for my mother's medical bill. She was there for skilled nursing care for a limited period of time. I was not responsible for any of her bills period. I had to get an attorney to get it dismissed but it still shows in record searches. The owning firm of this national nursing home chain is Senior Care Consultants. They are evil people. They do this every day of the week, and know they can get away with it because you don't know the judiciary in Rockwall County Texas is corrupt.
So don't jump to the conclusion that someone must have done something wrong to have a Lis Pendis filed against them. It was falsely filed against me. Now I have to get an attorney again to get it removed from my records which they should have done anyway. My attorney at the time has passed away. Here I am a disabled person on limited income, and have to find an attorney who will let me pay them out. It's not easy nor is it moral.
Additionally in the state of Texas your homestead is not creditor attachable, but people get away with it with, for those who can't afford an attorney. Clara Caulfield
1 vote
Rocky, Home Buyer, Saint Petersburg, FL
Fri Jul 20, 2012
This means the property is in seriouse delinquency and a notice has been filed for possible foreclosure. If an arangement or enough payments are made the status is removed. The property is not actually available, unless the borroweer decides to try for a shortsale prior to the foreclosure.
1 vote
It can also mean that there's a question of ownership (or rights) on the property...even if there is NO money owed.
Flag Fri Feb 3, 2017
Sockittome, , Sayville, NY
Wed Dec 1, 2010
If you see that a house is in Lis Pendens, this means that the homeowner isn't paying the mortgage or at least not paying some months. They may be in negotiations with their bank. The reason why when you call a realtor about a property in Lis Pendens and she doesn't see it on Mls is simply that the house is not on the market. The homeowner Can be contacted personally. You may help them get out of their delemma by offering to buy the house for what they owe, or for the market value for that community. You can ask the homeowner to let you have an appraisal done to determine a fair price and who knows, you might be able to buy it if he agrees.
1 vote
Not necessarily true---could be the seller took the buyer's huge down payment and didn't sell to the buyer, so the buyer sued the seller for either keep on purchasing the house or refunding the down payment
Flag Fri Sep 16, 2016
Not necessarily true---could be the seller took the buyer's huge down payment and didn't sell to the buyer, so the buyer sued the seller for either keep on purchasing the house or refunding the down payment
Flag Fri Sep 16, 2016
Not necessarily true - could be a number of reasons including disputes between divorcing parties.
Flag Fri Aug 26, 2016
Blaine Rabe, Agent, Jacksonville, FL
Tue Nov 10, 2009

I like Christian's answer. Probably, he is right too.

But, how did he know about the sign on my truck?

Bliane Rabe
1 vote
raine1200, Home Buyer, 04401
Sun Jun 25, 2017
Why not use English ? I think it means there is a lawsuit which means foreclosure. You will need to look at the house to find posted information on that house. Good Luck eh?
0 votes
Sggvv, Home Buyer, Jacksonville, FL
Thu Aug 11, 2016
move on.

This is a suit filed for non payment. Stay away-ESCPECIALLY IF THE OWNER IS THE LISTING AGENT.
0 votes
Sggvv, Home Buyer, Jacksonville, FL
Thu Aug 11, 2016
stay away-especially if the owner is the listing agent.
0 votes
Christine Wi…, Agent, Jacksonville, FL
Fri Jan 30, 2015
Lis Pendens is the public notice that the home is in pre-foreclosure status.
0 votes
Not necessarily - i've had one filed against me by a shady investor who is trying to force me to sell him my recently inherited property - there are no mortgage payments owed on my house
Flag Sat Jul 2, 2016
not always..
Flag Wed Mar 16, 2016
Cdibalsamo, Home Buyer, Chicago, IL
Thu Jan 29, 2015
If a LIs penden is terminated by the county does it carry over to the new owners after 5years
0 votes
Christian Wi…, Other Pro, Jacksonville, FL
Tue Nov 10, 2009
Mr. Bennett,

I dont see where I misspoke if the LP is cleared at closing it doesnt matter if its 5 seconds or 5 decades it must be cleared before the property can be sold not offered for sale. Certainly being a real estate professional you cant possibly think that I meant it can never be sold. I even wrote supposedly in parenthesis so there would be no misunderstanding and since I just knowingly bought a property with an outstanding LP and had to clear it myself after closing but it looks like I got one anyway.

Furthermore, having 5 years of studying the Latin language, I can tell you that the word pendeo is the base word without the ending. I even looked it up for you to be sure.
pendeo : to hang, depend, be suspended / be uncertain, undecided.
Lis comes from the word liceo which means a sale.

I wouldnt depend so much on wikepedia as anybody can write an article and submit it.

You are referring to the legal meaning of the term. As I said I am speaking of the literal translation from Latin.

ergo- what I said is exactly what I meant to say, no translation is necessary.

Veni vidi vici!
0 votes
Frank & Shar…, Agent, Fleming Island, FL
Tue Nov 10, 2009
As John said, "Lis Pendens" is Latin for "suit pending" and is filed for any number of reasons that he listed. The most common reason today is due to the homeowner's delinquency on mortgage payments (with HOA payments following close behind).

The homeowner has an 'equity right of redemption" in Florida law which gives the right to redeem the property by bringing all payments, including late fees, attorney's fees and interest, etc., current right up to the sale at the courthouse steps.

If you are seeing listings on Trulia one day and gone the next, the logical reason is that the homeowners have managed to work out a loan modification with the bank or otherwise come current on their payments. I have also seen Lis Pendens filed more than ones on the same home over the course of a year or two but no foreclosure, which tells me the homeowner and the bank have worked out the financials.

Our company has access to some software that not every company or agent has that may be able to solve the mystery of these disappearing listings. Also, we have friends at Trulia whom we could contact to locate to try to track down the listing agent to verify why the listing was removed.

Best regards,

Sharon Alters, CDPE, GRi
Distressed Property Specialist
Watson Realty
Cell 904-673-2308
Web Reference:  http://teamalters.com
0 votes
John Bennett, Agent, Orlando, FL
Tue Nov 10, 2009
while I know, what Christian means, I think maybe he meant to say - with a Lis Pendens means is that some 3 rd person is making a claim against a property. Some examples,
1. hoa fees not paid
2. contractors for work done on house and not paid
3. property taxes
5. Electric company
6. claims of ownership from prior transactions.
7. Mortgage.

We all knew what you where referring to - the RT homes on here. Drives us all crazy.

how I think Christian might have miss spoke - the sale can go forward, but at the closing table, all these claims will be paid at closing from buyers moneys and the title will be cleared and title insurance issued.

Also I always thought it translated to - "A suit Pending" but unsure about this
0 votes
Christian Wi…, Other Pro, Jacksonville, FL
Tue Nov 10, 2009
Lis Pendens is latin and it means to stop or hold. Legally what it means is no one can make any transactions of the property be it buy sell mortgage, what ever (supposedly). It does not have to be a mortgage and can be something as simple as someone filing an easement. In reality it means nothing but the fact there is some action taking place and could mean there may be a foreclosure suit filed soon but is nothing definite. It does not mean the property is for sale and is about as good as knocking on doors asking if somebody wants to sell. You should just ignore these as they are a waste of time. It's easier to put a sign on your car that says "we buy houses" with your phone number.
0 votes
Charles Chor…, Agent, Orange Park, FL
Tue Nov 10, 2009
Hi Craig,

Some great answers already. Lis Pendens is the letter that is filed with the court house that the owner of a home will have a law suit against them for failure to pay on their mortgage. This is usually the first step in the foreclosure process. This does not mean that the property is for sale only that the lender is notifiing the home owner that the process has started to foreclose. In Florida this could take several months while in the meantime the home owner can make up payments, negotiate with the lender, list the home as a short sale and other that could cancel the foreclosure action.

I would be happy to speak with you about this process and what it means to a potential buyer. There is no obligation. I can be reached at 571-1358.

All the best
Charlie Chorman
Web Reference:  http://jaxhomesinfo.com
0 votes
John Bennett, Agent, Orlando, FL
Tue Nov 10, 2009

Its realty track wanting you to sign up and pay them some money, to deliver you information that a home may at some later date, maybe come on the market.

Unless you have nothing else to do, stay away form these.

A Realtor has through the MLS all listings that are on the market. If you want to buy a house, find a Realtor- ONE that you like and stick with him.

0 votes
Tim Fennell, Agent, Jacksonville, FL
Tue Nov 10, 2009
Lis Pendens basically means that the mortgagee has notified the mortgager that they are beginning foreclosure process. As to whether or not any given property is currently listed for sale or has been listed for sale within our MLS is easy enough to determine.

Some homeowners have had their homes listed while trying to renegotiate their loans with their mortgagee or in hopes of getting a willing buyer and can get the mortgagee to accept a short sale.

If you wish to contact me and provide the addresses that interest you, I'd be happy to assist you in determining the status of those properties and see if the lenders are willing to work with a buyer at this point. Each situation is different so there really is not pat answer as to what the bank may be willing to do at any given point.

Let me know if I can be of assistance.

0 votes
Shaun Jones, Agent, Jacksonville, FL
Tue Nov 10, 2009

Simply put Lis Pendens is a notice to the homeowner that the foreclosure process has been started. The homeowner is behind on their mortgage and the bank has started the process. The homeowners however have plenty of time to bring the loan current. These properties probably have not been listed yet and that is why no one can find any info on them. There is a possibility for you to purchase the home but you would probably have to go knock on the door and speak directly with the homeowner. Have you considered looking at any foreclosures or short sales. There are some great deals in these properties as well. If your interested send me a email and let me know what your criteria is. nflproperties@gmail.com
0 votes
Lynn Brier-De…, Agent, Jacksonville, FL
Tue Nov 10, 2009

The LP properties may or may not be posted for sale. A licensed REALTOR can help you find the 'listed' properties, which should cut your search time down considerably. Many properties either in foreclosure or headed for foreclosure are listed for sale in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Web Reference:  http://www.LynnSellsJax.com
0 votes
Lynn Brier-De…, Agent, Jacksonville, FL
Tue Nov 10, 2009
Hi Craig,

Thank you for your question on Trulia. Lis Pendens is when a lien holder begins the foreclosure process by filing a Lis Pendens in court. This is a formal 'notice of intent to foreclose', which involves the seller directly. As a buyer, it simply means to you that the property you're interested is in distress and headed for foreclosure. Please call with any questions........

Web Reference:  http://www.LynnSellsJax.com
0 votes
But let's say buy a home in an auction, like the ones on auction.com for example, that has a lis pendens in the description. Does that mean that I have now assumed the lis pendens? Or is it cleared because the bank has decided to accept the price I paid as satisfaction of the debt?
Flag Fri Jul 24, 2015
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