If you want to sell or buy a home in Louisiana, it is essential to ensure the property does not have a lien. Realtor.com explains a lien is a legal claim of a creditor over your property. If you have a lien, you cannot sell until you pay the debt to the creditor.

A lien can be put on your property when you fail to pay a debt. It may also be applied if you use the property to secure a loan. A common example is when you buy a vehicle. Most lenders put a lien on the vehicle’s title to secure the loan. If you fail to pay the loan, the lender repossesses your vehicle and sells it to recoup the money owed.

When it comes to your property, the lien may be for any debt, such as taxes or a judgment. If your creditor went through the court, the court may grant the lien. It is public record and easily found. You also receive a notice if it is your property. Typically, a title search unearths any liens. Before you can sell or buy a home, you or the homeowner must clear the liens by paying the debts. Sometimes buyers will help pay off the lien as part of the purchase agreement.

Liens are a top reason for doing title searches and other investigations before you formally buy a property. If you were to forego the process of ensuring the title is clear, you could end up paying money for a property you cannot legally own. This information is for education and is not legal advice.