Swipe & Deploy: The Contractor Lien Wavier You Never Knew You Needed
Alright, awesome investors… it’s time for you to grab another free goodie to swipe and deploy in your own real estate investing business right from our arsenal of tools.
But before that…
In case you don’t know already, there’s an entire “Swipe & Deploy” goodies category over here—which we’re always adding to, and currently gives you everything from an affidavit of equitable interest to a transfer property letter… and from a simple real estate contract to option agreements.
Plus, a tasty letter of intent template, MLS keywords, a seller phone script & voicemail script— even some marketing goodies like one of our favorite motivated seller letters and seller postcards too.
This time, we’re giving you a Contractor Lien Waiver.
Do I really need a contractor lien waiver?
The short answer is heck yes.
So, lemme tell you a little story…
Over a decade ago, my investor buddy Brian, who does deals up north, shared this insight with me.
See, I had never used a contractor lien waiver for any of my deals when I was working with contractors.
But Brian reminded me that — in the same way someone doesn’t necessarily need a viable case to bring all hell upon you with a frivolous lawsuit — an unscrupulous contractor could easily bring you a world of hurt with an unwarranted mechanics lien.
So, it’s not often the case, but sometimes if a business relationship with a contractor goes sideways, he/she can place a frivolous lien on your property — it’ll cost lots of money and a lot of wasted time.
But! You can avoid it if you have a lien waiver on file.
So here’s what Brian does: When the work is done, before he hands over the payment to the contractor, he gets a signed contractor lien waiver from them, which protects him from an unwarranted lien.
As you’ll learn from this valuable info, a contractor lien waiver is unassuming… underrated… and undeniably essential.
The contractor lien waiver…
So, it's a very simple form. But if you don't use it, it can haunt you down the road.
You need to get in this habit: Every time you're cutting a check to one of your contractors, make sure you get a signed lien waiver. They go hand in hand.
And depending on your state’s laws, some title companies want copies of all of your lien waivers from all of your contractors at closing.
Here’s how it protects you…
Let’s say you had a cement guy pour a new sidewalk, you paid him, but there was no signed lien waiver.
Well, he can do 2 things:
- Claim you never paid him or…
- Put a lien on the house, claiming no payment, which means you can’t get clear title.
So, the signed lien waiver is your proof.
Plus, it protects the contractor from not getting paid for work he/she does on a property.
Again, the best practice is not to give contractors their last check for the remainder of the work they've done until they, in return, give you a release of lien with a contractor lien waiver.
And, for example, if you have a general contractor set up on a draw schedule, have them sign partial lien releases along the way.
So, if it's a $50,000 rehab and the first draw is $20,000 to that contractor — when they take that $20,000, make sure they also sign a partial lien release for that $20,000.
And in a situation like that, I not only have them sign off on the partial withdrawals along the way, but I still also have them sign off on the job’s completion.
Important Note: Cover your butt and get ALL subcontractors to sign a lien waiver too. You could even go so far as to change the generic “contractor” term on the actual document to something specific, like a plumber or electrician. Even though subs are technically covered as employees of the general contractor, might as well CYA with a small extra step of additional signed forms — you don’t want an independent contractor potentially holding you hostage with a lien.
Contractor Lien Waiver: Get Mine Now 🙂
Ready to just grab mine for your own Awesome bag of tricks?
Awesome, just remember: You might want to have your local attorney and/or real estate pro—someone who knows the specific legal stuff for your state—review it before you go start using it…
Step 1 ⤸
“Like” our Facebook page please?
Step 2 ⤸
Just leave a comment below sharing your honest feedback on the contractor lien waiver I'm freely sharing with you. Whatever you think after hearing my thoughts behind it. Good, bad, and anywhere in between. Seriously.
Alternately, I’m also interested in hearing anything else (another resource or tool) that you’d like us to share in a future “Swipe & Deploy” like this. Do tell.
Step 3 ⤸
Then Chuck Norris will hand you over my template.
Totally serious. Just try it. 😀
Can’t wait to look it over. Thanks!
Working with contractors is often scary. This will boost my confidence in dealing with them. Thank you.
I wish I had this information years ago. I hired 2 guys to do exterior painting and miscellaneous repairs before I put my home on the market. Turns out they never removed their line even though I paid in full and had receipts. It took several weeks to get them to go back and remove the lean which meant my closing had to be rescheduled. Needless to say,, my buyers were not happy.
I have ben an electrical contractor since the mid 70’s & GC would use the lein release quite often but few home owners, until last decade or so, so I have noticed and even car accident Doctors will send a lein with their bill. If I had ben smart on large projects should have had a lien on each invoice! Smart buisiness
I didn’t realize it was a comment here but got the tenant ghosting you , seller acknowledgement -BDDP and the contract lien waiver all very good very detailed information for me not to be a landlord ,property management and or Real estate this is very clear cut. The examples are very funny and keeps me interested it’s a lot of reading but it’s also funny and humorous.
Excellent advice to avoid a mechanic lien on a contracted project.
Not quite to this stage but good to know
Brilliant idea to protect most important asset. My time.
This Lien Waiver will really help me
Good advice – I have not done a flip or rehab yet, but this is good to know up front! Thank you!
Grateful for this waiver Thank you
You guys really cover all the bases because this is not a situation where i want to be sharing a horror story later…thanks guys
This is great information that can help real estate investors CYA!! Thanks
Fantastic tool that I should have been using this entire time!! Thank you for the valuable information and great explanation, as well!
Once again another tool for the toolbox.
I am getting stuck on contracts and finding property. I hope this helps me!
Just what I needed. About a year ago, I paid my contractor in full and all of the work was completed. However, there was a disagreement between the GC and the electrician so the electrician put a lien on my property.
I ended up having to spend about $1000 in attorney’s fees to sic my attorney on the both them, saying that I wouldn’t work with either of them if this wasn’t cleared up by the end in 10 days.
I’ve also learned that I could have prevented this by recording the completion of work at the County right away.
Definitely an asset
It’s a must have doc contractor lien waiver
Man had a contractor talking bout I still owed him money when he quit the job thanks for this gem
I appreciate this lien wavier had no idea I would need one
I really appreciate this lien waiver it would have been something I would never thought about
keep the good work going
This is great. Can’t wait to put it to use.
You should always use a lien waiver for any rehab or home renovation work.
I appreciate this lien waiver, as I had not even thought about it. But I can see the writing on the wall if you don’t have one. Thanks for pointing that our