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What is a lien?

“A lien is a legal recorded claim against your property.  Until the debt surrounding that lien is paid, your property is essentially tied up. This can stop you from selling your home or refinancing without first paying your debt and having the lien removed.

Removing the lien:

Once you pay your debt, it’s imperative to receive a “letter of satisfaction” or “release of lien” from person you owed money to. The lien will not be removed from your record until it has been filed and recorded as “satisfied” with the county clerk. And don’t forget, once that is complete you must make sure to send copies of the paid debt along with the lien release to all three major credit reporting agencies.

To find out if you have a property lien:

Visit your local registrar of deeds or probate office. This office is likely located in your county courthouse or county administrative building.

Ask for the status of your home title. Also ask for a copy of any lien that has been placed on your home. You will need to give your name and address for their search.

If you discover a fraudulent lien or a mistake:

Contact the company in question and figure out if what the lien stems from.  If the lien is not valid or expired, ask the company in question to release the lien.  If they fail to do so, you may have to hire an attorney to submit an affidavit to the court house, explaining the illegitimacy of the lien and why it should be removed.

Remember, property liens are like a thumbprint.  They don’t go away unless they are released through the proper channels of the courts.