Can I place a lien on my son’s home for money that I lent to him for a downpayment?

UPDATED: Jan 27, 2011

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Can I place a lien on my son’s home for money that I lent to him for a downpayment?

My husband and I lent our son $46,000 on 2 separate home purchases with a note of repayment. Can we place a lien on his current home so in the event of a sale we would get our money back? He and his wife may be separating and we need to protect ourselves.

Asked on January 27, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If you had not already loaned your son money, this would be would simply extend him a private mortgage secured by the home(s). However, if you have already loaned him the money, you cannot after the fact add a security interest unless you give him something for it--e.g. extend his time to repay, forgive some of the debt, lower interest rate (if any), loan him more money, etc. There needs to be some consideration, or something of value, he gets in exchange for giving up a security interest. Alternately, if he is in default under his obligations, you could sue him for payment, then seek a lien on the property to help ensure payment. However, if  he's currently not in default, you have no grounds for seeking a lien in that fashion, so you would need to extend him something new in exchange for a security interest.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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