Your friend is correct that Texas has a homestead exemption when it comes to credit card debt but it is not clear that your friend understands how the exemption works in this regard. If property qualifies for a homestead exemption then it can not be sold to pay off a credit card debt or most other types of debt. However, that does not mean that the credit card companies that have a judgement and have filed a lien against the property can not collect when the property is sold. They most certainly can. They just can not force the sale themselves to have the debt paid off. So yes, you will have to pay them off to get a satisfaction and clear the title. Could a lawyer help? Most certainly. It may be possible to negotiate an amount smaller than you owe as well. The amount escrowed at closing could be more than that negotiated or the judgement (remember that interest can accrue and keep building in some instances). Good luck.
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