Lien Sale

DEFINITION of 'Lien Sale'

The sale of the claim or "hold" placed on an asset to satisfy an unpaid debt. Typically, lien sales are conducted as public auctions and the lien is on real estate, automobiles and other personal property. Depending on a particular state's laws, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers may put a lien on a piece of property they have worked on pending payment for services rendered.


Buying delinquent tax-liens at a sale is becoming an increasingly popular form of investing, and is similar to purchasing a long-term Certificate of Deposit (CD). However unlike a CD, tax-liens cannot be sold back to the taxing authority and must be held until they are repaid. Redemption of the purchased lien is typically at a given rate of return within a specified time frame.