What is a Tax Deed or Tax Lien Sale?
In most states, a county will issue a tax lien on a person’s property that is behind on paying real property taxes. Some states allow the tax lien to become a first (superior) lien on the property, which is then sold at auction as a tax lien certificate.
Because Texas is not a tax lien state. Texas holds tax foreclosure sales (AKA tax deed sales) on the first Tuesday of every month at the county courthouse. Delinquent tax properties are sold to the highest bidder.
Registering for Bexar County Tax Sale:
Go to Bexar appraisal district office at Main Office-Downtown San Antonio:
Vista Verde Plaza Building
233 N. Pecos la Trinidad
San Antonio Texas 78207-3175
On the 2nd floor, (take a left turn out of the elevator) tell the clerk you want to register for the monthly property tax sale, (register early) the clerks will direct you where to go, fill out a no tax due affidavit, the clerk will notarize the form, the cost is $16. Ten days or so later you will get a certificate in the mail or you can pick it up.
Take that document or the paid receipt they give you, over to the sheriff’s office (200 N. Comal, San Antonio) to register to bid at the sale (register one week before the sale date). You can get the sale list at www.lgbs.com, or get the list when it is published in the Express News (business section) on Fridays (I check the Friday newspaper after the 15th of the month). The Sale is held on the first Tuesday of each month. The Sale site is at 100 Dolorosa, San Antonio (outside of the Bexar county courthouse intersection of East Nueva St. and the closed portion of South Main St.).
At the sheriffs office park in the parking garage, across the street is the block long red colored sheriffs building and jail, go to where the chain link fence is (about in the middle of the building) go through that fence opening the office door is to the right, they will buss you in. You will get a bidders number and you are all set. for a list of whats be sold see below.
List of available properties
Tax sales are advertised.
Tax sales are advertised three times prior to the sale date in a newspaper published in the county where the property is located.
For Bexar County (San Antonio), notices are published in the San Antonio Express-News, (Friday business section) to which you can subscribe by calling (210) 250-2000. The website is located here for additional information.
For Harris County, that publication is the Daily Court Review. It is available online at www.dailycourtreview.com. The number for the Daily Court Review is (713) 869-5434 if you would like to subscribe.
For Dallas County, sale notices are published in The Daily Commercial Records. To subscribe to that publication, call (214) 741-6366 or subscribe online at www.dailycommercialrecord.com.
In addition, some sales are posted here.
Texas Tax Deed Auction Process: Delinquent tax properties are sold to the highest bidder.
Tax sales are public records, the notice of sale is posted at the courthouse as well as publicly advertised. You will need to register in advance to bid at a tax sale. For bidding registration, procedures for your county, check with the office handling the sale (often the Sheriff’s office).
There is no formal bidding process. Oral bids are made consecutively by whoever can raise the last bid made, the same as in auctions generally. All sales are to the highest bidder. The officer begins by announcing the sale and the official minimum opening bid, and then asks for bidders. You can open the bidding by offering the minimum opening bid, others then may raise the bid.
When bidding at a tax sale, bring an acceptable form of payment, such as money order or cashier’s check. If you have a winning bid, you will need to pay the county almost immediately some jurisdictions including Bexar county allow 2 hours after the sale to make payment (make payment at at the sheriffs office), and the county will then issue a Sheriff’s Deed of title for the property in 4 to 6 weeks.
In Texas The Tax Codes, (Sec. 34.05(c), 34.01, Sec. 34.02) set out the procedures including.
The sale is to the highest bidder that is an amount that is less than the lesser of the market value of the property as specified in the warrant or the total amount of taxes, penalties, interest, costs, and other claims for which the warrant was issued.
The cost requirements are described and included as part of the minimum bid, and these include the costs of the sale, advertising costs, and any related court costs.
The right of Redemption:
In Texas, after a property is sold at a tax deed sale, the owner gets a 6-month right of redemption
period (non-homestead & non-agricultural), or 2-year redemption period (homesteaded & agricultural), before you can obtain clear title. To redeem the property, the original owner must reimburse the purchaser the amount paid at the sale, plus 25% interest. The 25% penalty fee is the same regardless of how much time has passed since the auction.
Be sure to go to the country tax web site and look up the homestead and exemption status of a property before you buy it. I would look at the map view also for additional information.
Risk of Liens:
In Texas and most states tax deed sales, the taxing authority sells full ownership and possession rights to the property. The purchaser at the sale gets title to the property.
A foreclosure sale takes all the liens off a property, whether the lien exists from the mortgage or a judgment. After the sheriff’s sale, a “Sheriff’s Deed” is given to the buyer, who gets the property free and clear of any liens – that are on the property because of the previous owner.
Sales of homes at auction that do not bring enough to cover all the previous owner’s debts are common. The money paid by the buyer (after the sheriff fees) first goes to any tax liens, then to any claims for unpaid employee wages, and, finally, to all other liens in order of their filing dates.
For the new buyer, the sheriff’s deed wipes out all the existing liens, and the buyer is not liable for any of those debts. A judicial sale or auction is the one situation in which you can buy a house without a title search. Whatever the title search turns up is irrelevant! In any other situation, however, buying property without a title search is a bad idea, because what you don’t know can hurt you.
Understanding the auction processes, researching and inspecting the property before the sale will increase your chances of having a profitable deal.
Often the information advertised or shown on the county records and realty is different. Values are often incorrect as they are taken from the appraisal records. It is not unusual to pull up to an address that shows a house and find a vacant lot with just a foundation left. You should visit any property prior to bidding.
Related Post I attended the April 2018 Auction Post Here
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Jim E Glasgow