Real Estate Tip of the Week: What is a Tax Lien on a Home?
Legal jargon is intimidating – and for the average homeowner, some of the vocab goes in one ear and out the other.
With knowledge comes confidence (and power), so why not brush up on some of the legal homeowner jargon that might affect you?
In this case, we’ll be talking about tax liens.
The name itself sounds confusing – what is a tax lien? Here, we’ll break it down for you.
Essentially, if for whatever reason you can no longer (or haven’t been) paying your property taxes, the local government can place a tax lien on your home. This is a legal claim that ensures you won’t be able to refinance or sell your home without first paying off the lien.
If you’re a potential homebuyer, the title and escrow company working with you to close would find the lien on the property you’re trying to purchase.
How to Avoid a Property Tax Lien
A good idea might be placing your property taxes in escrow. This isn’t required in most cases, but it can still be an option to save yourself from stress in the future. By doing so, you’ll be paying your property tax bill every month, and your lender handles the actual payment.
You can also apply for a homestead exemption – if you qualify, it can help cut down on your annual property tax bill.
The National Tax Lien Association (NTLA) also lists government and nonprofit resources to help homeowners through tax-related issues.
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