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A lien is a legal claim to your property, usually your real estate. It is recorded in the real estate records in your county recorder of deeds office. When selling your property, it will prevent the buyer from getting clear title to the property until the lien is satisfied.

Expanded Definition

A lien is most often part of obtaining a mortgage or home equity loan. The lien insures that you cannot sell the property on which the lender loaned money without satifying the lender. Liens may also be applied by those who did work on your property to ensure they are paid. The IRS or others to whom you owe money can also put a lien on your property in a effort to collect the debt.

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