How To Sell Your House When You Have Liens in St. Louis

Selling a house in St. Louis can be overwhelming, especially when encumbered by liens or tax complications. Without the necessary funds to clear these debts, you might end up holding onto the property longer than anticipated, exacerbating your financial predicament. This post offers valuable insights into navigating property liens and provides effective strategies for selling your home successfully, despite the obstacles you may face.

What Is A Lien?

Investopedia states that a property lien represents a legal claim over assets, authorizing the claimant to seize the property if debts remain unsettled. For a property lien to be established, it must be formally recorded and sanctioned by either a county records office or a relevant state agency. Following this, the property owner receives a notification detailing the terms of the initiated repossession action concerning the property.

In the world of real estate, if a homeowner does not keep up with their mortgage payments, their lender has the right to place a lien on the property. Similarly, if any work is completed on the property and remains unpaid, the homeowner may be subjected to a mechanic’s or judgment lien. Should the homeowner find themselves unable to clear the outstanding lien, the creditor has the authority to begin foreclosure proceedings. By placing a lien on the property, the creditor effectively blocks its sale until the debt is settled in full.

Common Types of Liens


These liens are automatically enacted under state or federal legislation. They are deemed involuntary as the property owner is either unlikely to consent or refuses to make payment.

Tax liens

The St. Louis region frequently sees home buyers encountering various common liens, often due to individuals falling behind on their taxes. This results in the necessity to settle outstanding property taxes through a lien, typically resolved during the house selling process at closing. Both local and federal authorities can impose liens as a claim against your property.

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Mechanic’s liens

If you fail to pay a contractor or mechanic for work performed on your property, they’re entitled to enforce a mechanic’s lien, also known as a construction lien, against your property. Delays in financing for buyers can occasionally postpone the construction of new homes, leading to contractors not being compensated for their services.

Under such circumstances, contractors have the right to file a lien, securing payment for their completed work. Resolving mechanic’s liens can be achieved through various means; however, negotiating a settlement with the contractor for a specific amount prior to selling the house is often the most straightforward solution.

A common form of lien, often referred to as a first mortgage or satisfaction agreement, is integral to the home-buying process. This lien serves as a security measure for lenders, safeguarding their investment by using the property itself as collateral. When selling your home, if the mortgage balance surpasses the sale price, you’re required to contribute extra funds at closing.

A notable instance of this predicament was during the 2008 housing bubble, where numerous homeowners found themselves with negative equity—owing more on their mortgage than their home’s market value. This unfortunate situation led many to foreclosure, as lenders typically refused to settle for less than the property’s secured loan amount.


Consensual liens, as implied by their name, are voluntarily established. Both parties willingly agree to the lien’s terms and formally endorse the agreed conditions with their signatures.

Purchase-Money Security Liens

The simplest way to describe a purchase-money security lien occurs when a borrower uses funds provided by a lender as a down payment to buy a house. In this situation, the borrower is granted a “credit” to aid in the property purchase, with the property itself acting as the collateral. This type of lien is commonly seen in home mortgages, car loans, and other property acquisitions that are financed through credit.

Conversely, non-purchase-money security liens work in a different way. Here, the lender uses property they already own as collateral to secure further financing. This approach is exemplified by refinancing, reverse mortgages, and second mortgages, showcasing the diverse applications of this type of lien.


These are certainly the liens you want to avoid at all costs, as they empower members of the judicial system to dictate outcomes concerning your property. This authority can allow creditors to supersede your plans for the property, granting them the power to decide its future. Such a loss of control not only diminishes your say in the sale process but also in selecting the buyer, significantly reducing your influence.

Options to Resolve the Lien

Sell Directly To Fast Lane Real Estate

Selling your house directly to Fast Lane Real Estate offers a seamless solution to leave your liens and tax issues in the past. Eliminate the stress of scrambling for funds to cover outstanding debts or back taxes.

We handle all financial obligations, ensuring a quick and equitable sale of your property. Experience relief from the hassle and headaches within days. Quickly sell your house in St. Louis, free of any liens or tax complications.

Create a Repayment Plan

Paying off all your debts at once might appear like a tall task, yet many creditors are open to working with you on a manageable payment plan. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, initiating contact with your creditors to seek a solution is crucial. Their primary goal is to recover the owed amounts.

By showing a willingness to collaborate, you’re likely to find creditors more accommodating and willing to negotiate. It’s important to remember, however, that clearing liens from your property can be a complex process, particularly with substantial debt.

As you navigate debt repayment, you might find it necessary to retain ownership of your house longer than expected. But, once you’ve settled your debts, selling your property becomes an option. During this period, be mindful that you might forego certain beneficial opportunities.

File a Dispute on the Lien

If you find yourself facing a lien on your property that seems unjust, don’t despair. Remember, you hold the power to contest the lien, provided you present a convincing counterargument. The key to success lies in meticulously gathering all relevant documentation to forge a robust defense against the claimant.

Prompt action is paramount. Begin the challenge against the lien immediately upon its imposition on your property, or even preemptively if possible. Your primary objective should be to avert the placement of the lien entirely. Bear in mind, creditors are generally required to fulfill specific prerequisites before they can issue a lien, suggesting that they believe they have a legitimate claim to what they’re owed based on their preliminary investigations.

In cases where the lien is a result of subpar work by a contractor, it’s crucial to keep detailed records. Document every agreement, the work that was actually done, and any additional costs you’ve shouldered to correct errors. Support your claims with inspection reports, relevant dates, and photographic evidence. This comprehensive approach not only strengthens your position but also ensures transparency throughout the dispute resolution process.

What Can Happen if the Lien Isn’t Resolved

Ignoring certain liens can endanger the security of your home. Unsettled liens give creditors the right to foreclose, taking over your property. If your house is under a lien or you’re struggling with property tax payments, acting fast is vital.

Contact your creditors to address the issue or consider working with the Fast Lane Real Estate team for a quick sale. Fast Lane Real Estate buys homes throughout Missouri, in cities like Fenton, St. Charles, Florissant, and more.We buy houses in any condition in Missouri. There are no commissions or fees and no obligation whatsoever. You can view our testimonials here.

About Lane Forhetz

Lane Forhetz is a Real Estate Investor based out of St. Charles MO. In 2012 he founded Fast Lane Real Estate to provide quick, efficient options for homeowners to sell their property. Lane enjoys reading and hanging out with his family in his free time. He is a former Air Force Veteran and loves serving his community. You can connect with him further here: About Our Company

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