What Happens to the Mortgage in a Tax Lien Sale: Unveiling the Truth




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What Happens to the Mortgage in a Tax Lien Sale

When it comes to tax lien sales, many homeowners are often concerned about what happens to their mortgage. In this article, we will explain how a tax lien sale affects the mortgage and what homeowners need to know.

Understanding Tax Lien Sales

Before delving into the impact on mortgages, it’s essential to understand what a tax lien sale is. A tax lien sale is a public auction where the local government sells the tax lien on a property to recoup delinquent property taxes.

When property taxes are not paid, the government places a lien on the property as collateral for the unpaid taxes. This lien allows the government to sell the tax lien to a third party, who then has the right to collect the amount owed plus interest.

The Priority of Liens

When a tax lien is sold, it takes priority over other liens, including the mortgage. This means that the tax lien holder has the first right to collect the delinquent taxes or to foreclose on the property if the taxes remain unpaid.

This priority position is important to understand because it affects the rights of both the homeowner and the mortgage lender. If the homeowner fails to pay the delinquent taxes, the tax lien holder can take legal action to foreclose on the property, even if the mortgage payments are up to date.

Redemption Period

In some states, homeowners have a redemption period after a tax lien sale. During this period, they have the opportunity to repay the delinquent taxes, including any interest and fees, to regain full ownership of the property.

If the homeowner successfully redeems the property, the mortgage remains in place, and the homeowner continues making regular mortgage payments as usual. However, if the homeowner fails to redeem the property within the specified period, the tax lien holder can proceed with foreclosure.

Impact on Mortgage Lenders

When a tax lien is sold, the mortgage lender is still entitled to the property but becomes subordinate to the tax lien holder. This means that if the tax lien holder decides to foreclose on the property, the mortgage lender will be paid after the tax lien holder collects their debt.

Typically, mortgage lenders pay close attention to properties with tax liens to ensure the homeowner brings the taxes up to date. They may even pay off the tax lien themselves to protect their interests in the property.

Options for Homeowners

If you find yourself in a situation where your property has a tax lien, it’s essential to take action to avoid foreclosure and protect your home. Here are a few options you can consider:

  • Pay the Delinquent Taxes: The simplest option is to bring the delinquent taxes up to date to remove the tax lien from your property.
  • Negotiate with the Tax Lien Holder: You can negotiate with the tax lien holder to settle the debt or request a payment plan that suits your financial situation.
  • Refinance or Seek a Loan Modification: You can explore refinancing your mortgage or applying for a loan modification to include the delinquent taxes and make your payments more manageable.
  • Sell the Property: In some cases, selling the property may be the best option to pay off the delinquent taxes and avoid foreclosure.

Frequently Asked Questions Of What Happens To The Mortgage In A Tax Lien Sale: Unveiling The Truth

What Happens To The Mortgage In A Tax Lien Sale?

During a tax lien sale, the mortgage may be wiped out, leaving the new owner responsible.

Can The Lienholder Foreclose On The Property?

Yes, the lienholder can initiate foreclosure proceedings if the tax debt remains unpaid.

How Does A Tax Lien Sale Affect The Homeowner?

The homeowner may face losing the property or having the mortgage wiped out.

What Options Does The Homeowner Have During A Tax Lien Sale?

The homeowner can try to pay off the tax debt, redeem the property, or negotiate with the new owner.


In a tax lien sale, the tax lien takes priority over the mortgage, giving the tax lien holder the right to foreclose on the property if the delinquent taxes remain unpaid. It’s crucial for homeowners to understand their options and take action to resolve the tax lien to protect their home ownership.

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