Q: I have a home mortgage for about $110,000. I wasn’t aware of this, but apparently four liens have been filed against our home. The total amount of the liens is $19,000.
I have a 401(k) with about $100,000 in it. I want to pay off these liens. Please suggest the best way for me to do this.
A: Do you actually owe the money on these liens? How did they come to be attached to your property without your knowledge? What are the liens for?
You should speak with a real estate attorney to find out why liens have been attached to the property and whether you owe this money and actually should pay them off and how.
If you don’t know a good real estate attorney, please contact your local Bar Association and ask for the head of the real estate committee. Ask that attorney to help you find an attorney who would be knowledgeable in the area of liens. Once you sit down with the right attorney, you’ll be able to figure out a way to make sure the money you owe is paid.
If you do owe the money, you might want to consider the tax effects of a withdrawal from your 401(k). If you are under the age of 59½, you will pay a penalty on the early withdrawal and the money you take out will also be taxed to you. In plain words, a withdrawal of $19,000 might cost you an additional $7,000 depending on several factors.
There may be less expensive ways for you to pay what you owe. Please consider all of the options.