Most Common Liens on Northern Virginia Properties

Did you know that 1/3 of properties that are put up for sale may have title issues? Not only that, but many title issues can often go back decades. Divorce, bankruptcy, estate issues, judgments or tax liens can all affect the ability of an owner to legally sell a home.

These are the most commonly known lien issues in Northern Virginia that can affect your ability to buy or sell a home.

 #1) Inheritance and Estate Issues

Sometimes an inheritance isn't as clean as it should be. If an estate does not properly name heirs or a will is contested, a home may not have been legally sold. Estate issues can go back several decades, so you may "inherit" a previous ownership issue.  

 #2) Child Support or Divorce

Complications that come with a sale as a result of divorce include liens as a result of failure to pay taxes, child support or spousal support. In addition, this is a life event that may be rife with fraud and forgery issues. If only one spouse consents to the sale and does not properly involve the other spouse then the title could be at risk. 

 #3) Bankruptcy Proceedings

If there is an active bankruptcy, the title of a house will be in limbo during the proceedings. In addition, if someone owned the home, then married a person in bankruptcy, the title would need to be confirmed clear before a sale could proceed. 

 #4) Contractor or Sub-Contractor Liens

Anytime that work is performed on a home there is the potential for a lien. This may be because the contractor or a subcontractor was not paid. The best way to avoid this as a homeowner is to ensure you have clauses regarding release of liability for subcontractor payments. If a lien was placed on your home, you must make sure with the state of Virginia that the lien was released properly after the dispute was settled. 

Title Tip of the Week: Title Insurance is only a one time payment and protects you for the life you or your heirs own the home. There is no deductible if you ever have a claim. If you have your own owner’s policy you will be protected from the examples described above!


At Allied Title & Escrow, our team of industry experts and attorneys have over 25 years of experience in title, settlements and real estate transactions. Headquartered in Arlington, VA, we provide residential and commercial services throughout all counties of Northern Virginia, Washington DC and Maryland. We strive to provide the highest level of service and will handle all aspects of the title and settlement process.