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Guest-host Gary Laturno, a real estate attorney and broker, tackled your real estate questions yesterday as part of Savvy & Sage: Tips on Buying and Selling in 2009. Here’s his last answer:

Reader Leonard asked:

I am buying a condominium property that is a bank-owned foreclosure and the title policy says there is a $1,400 unpaid HOA lien on it from the prior owner before foreclosure. The bank who now owns it is not going to pay it. Am I responsible to pay this lien (aka can the HOA force me, as the new owner, to pay it) or was it wiped out during foreclosure?

Also, does that differ if I buy a short sale property?

Leonard:

Thanks for the question. My answer: You are not responsible for the lien. The bank would not pay it. It was wiped out at the trustee’s sale. The HOA can only file a claim against the prior owner or write it off. Hope that this is of help.

Leonard:

I just realized that I did not answer the last part of your question. If you are in a short sale situation, you will need to get all lien holders to release their liens. The HOA is not “wiped out”; they would need to be satisfied to get them to release their lien.

If you have more questions for Gary Laturno, you can reach him by email: Gary@LandKRealty.com; phone: 619.741.9652.; or on his web sites: www.LandKRealty.com and www.GaryLaturno.com.

— GARY LATURNO

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