My mom passed away 8 years ago and left her house to my brother and I. But since then, we haven’t been able to do anything with it because it has 2 liens on it. So it sits there unoccupied after all these years.

Back around 2007 during the housing bubble, my mom used her house as collateral and purchased 2 other houses. When she passed a way, the debt from those houses created 2 liens. Shortly after they foreclosed and sold, therefore (from what our lawyer tells us) the liens should’ve been removed. So we tried to contact the two companies that held these liens to get everything smoothed out. To no avail, they both went bankrupt. We hired a lawyer to help us find the companies that took over the liens, but even our lawyer couldn’t figure it out.

$30,000 later, in debt from lawyer’s “research”, no information on the liens, rejected by the judge, and no house, we decided to call it quits until we had the money to hire a lawyer again. I’m worried that so much time and money has gone by that we need to figure this out before it gets auctioned off. So my question is, what can I do to find who the lien holders are, and remove them?

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    This question might be better off on Personal Finance. You could flag it to have a moderator move it there.
    – mikeazo
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 23:07
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    @mikeazo Hmm... It's a difficult choice. I feel like there is a legal aspect here, because it will no doubt have some legal influence. But finance folks will likely be better versed in these situations. Sheesh, I've got no clue, but I'm raising a flag on this question for mods to look at (since I don't think MVM can do that). Speaking of which, MVM, do you think you can tell us what state/province and the country you live in?
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 1:33
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    Thanks for your input. I'm in California, but the property is in Honolulu, Hawaii.
    – MVM
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 17:55
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    You might also look into whether you can sue to "quiet title" and get the liens removed. That is, when you do so, you publish the info on the liens--if the 'owner' doesn't come forward, a judge can order the liens removed.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 18:34
  • Ah yes I've been told to do that as well. You put it in much simpler terms. I've been trying to look up how that works. Thanks so much.
    – MVM
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 0:58

1 Answer 1


Better than hiring an attorney who, as you now realize, will charge you by the hour and guarantee nothing. I recommend you approach a title and closing company with the same question. Even better, have a real estate agent do it. Or have a purchase and sale contract in hand signed by a buyer. The title company will do the research because they are on the hook for the title insurance against future claims and the closing company will be motivated to get a resolution because they will earn their closing fees when the transaction closes.

Edit: I also like the "sue for quiet title" approach mentioned in one of the comments. I'm surprised your attorney didn't suggest that.

  • Hm never thought of that approach. We're looking for different ways to approach this, so I appreciate your answer. Thanks!
    – MVM
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 17:59
  • Our attorney just tried to go straight to court thinking that would work. And when it didn't all our money was spent on research. They even charged per email which I think is preposterous. These are great though I already feel hopeful. Thanks everyone.
    – MVM
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 1:05

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