Can I Sell My House When I Owe Property Taxes?

As a homeowner, you are not only obligated to pay your monthly mortgage and utility bills, but you also have the responsibility of paying property taxes on the house. Sudden financial hardship can make it difficult to pay this fee. Before you know it, you may be late or miss a payment entirely. Sometimes, selling your home may be the best decision for recovering from a challenging financial situation such as this one.

What Happens When You Fall Behind on Property Tax Payments?

If you have failed to make property tax payments, the tax authority has the right to place a lien on your home for the amount that is due. A lien gives the tax authority a legal claim on your property. This means you could face foreclosure, or your house could be sold to satisfy the debt owed. If you are wanting to sell the house yourself, the sale cannot be finalized until all property taxes have been paid in full.

The longer you wait to pay back the property tax, the more money you could owe. Any unpaid taxes are subject to interest and penalties that will continue to increase. The only way to completely avoid extra fees is by paying back the debt as soon as possible.

You Can Sell Your House in Massachusetts with a Tax Lien

Even if you owe property taxes, it is still possible to sell your house. However, all revenue from the sale must first go towards paying this debt in full before you can earn any proceeds. Before selling your house, determine if your property is worth selling. The price at which the house is sold will need to cover the remainder of the mortgage, commission and closing fees, as well as the owed property tax amount. If selling your house will allow you pay all of these costs, the sale of your property will more than likely be approved by the tax authority.

Will the Buyer Know There is a Lien on the House?

The buyer has every right to know about any property taxes owed on the house. A simple title search can reveal if there is a lien on the house. It is always better to be upfront and notify your real estate agent and buyer of the situation. That doesn’t necessarily mean the buyer will be comfortable with the purchase of the home. A lien can be a strong deterrent for buyers due to the uncertainty it can bring to the process of the sale.

It Helps to Sell Your House Fast

If you owe property taxes and have decided to sell your home to make up for missed payments, you will need to act fast. If you wait, you could be faced with additional interest and fees, as well as with the possibility of foreclosure or a tax sale. Selling your property quickly could prevent you from owing more money or having your property taken away from you. In this situation, your best option could be to sell your house to a professional home buyer.

Can I Add the Lien Amount to the Cost of the House?

It might seem like a good idea to just tack on the amount owed to the overall price of the property. However, this is not a plausible solution for this circumstance. A house will sell according to its value on the real estate market. Increasing the price in order to make up for property tax debt could lead to the house taking even longer to sell. During this time, the interest and penalties could grow and lead to an even greater amount owed.


Attempting to sell your house when you owe property taxes can present with many challenges. You need to ensure the sale will generate enough money to pay the amount owed for the remainder of the mortgage and property tax debt. Buyers could be reluctant to purchase a house with a lien present. If you are looking to sell your home to recover money owed towards property taxes, it is best to sell the house quickly to avoid additional interest or fees.

The easiest way to sell your house fast is to sell it to a reputable cash buyer. Pavel Buys Houses can give you a fair, no-obligation cash offer for your home, no matter the condition or situation. We strive to make the process as easy as possible. That’s why we eliminate a lot of the work that comes with selling a house. There will be no need to clean for showings and you won’t have to deal with extensive paperwork. Interested in selling your house fast? Contact us today!

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Selling a property in Massachusetts in today's market can be confusing. Get in touch with us and we'll be happy to help guide you through your options.

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