Home Lien

DEFINITION of 'Home Lien'

A legal claim placed on a home that makes selling the home, obtaining a mortgage or refinancing the property more difficult until outstanding financial obligations are met. A lien placed on a home is part of the public record in the county where the home is located, and can be filed by anyone who has a legal interest in the property. Common forms of liens include tax liens, mechanic's liens and judgment liens.


Home buyers have to pay special attention to the property they are looking to purchase, since existing liens can hold up the whole process and make it difficult to get refinancing. It is important to check the public record for a piece of property in order to see if it is encumbered. Even if the financial obligation causing the home lien has been taken care of, the public record may sometimes be out of date. This may result in a bank or lending institution holding off on a loan until they are certain that everything has been taken care of.