The only thing going for the OP in this case, is the fact that the homeowner is looking to sell soon. A lien will prevent him for selling without satisfying the lien. In a normal circumstance, small claims court would be the way to go. I have been in front of the local small claims judge 3 times in 22 years. Same guy each time. Each time he comes out and preaches about the benefits of settling before a judgment is rendered. He also preaches that a judgment is all he can do. He cannot force the other guy to pay. You can take that judgment to a collection agency and have them try to collect it for you, but the court cannot. Then he sends us out in the hallway to hash it out. If that doesn't work, we have access to a mediator on site. If that doesn't work, we go in front of the judge and he does his Judge Judy thing. The last time I was there, I had the guy over a barrel. He had no grounds not to pay me. I had a stack of documentation and all my facts lined out, with pictures. In the hall, the homeowner low balled me on a settlement. Neither one of us wanted to try the mediator so we went in front of the judge. When the judge read the facts of the case, he went into preach mode again. He basically told the homeowner that the judgment he was about to render was going right onto his credit report. No matter what, he will always have a judgment on his credit report. It will cost him extra finance fees if he tried to buy anything, if they would finance him at all. Then he said he was going to go "relieve some pressure from 3 cups of coffee" and left us to renegotiate. I wasn't budging. I walked out of the court with full payment in hand. The judge filed the case as closed pending transfer of funds. Once the check cleared, I had to call in and let the court know that we were satisfied. On the way out of court that day, I watched the homeowner walk to his car. Silver Mercedes that cost more than my house. Score one for the little guy.