Summarizes the steps for buying property at a Texas tax sale auction, from searching the listings through attending the sale.
Texas does not sell tax lien certificates. Rather, they sell tax deeds by public auction, which are also known as tax foreclosure sales. It is a fairly simple process to buy a Texas tax deed. Simply search the list of upcoming foreclosure sales and attend the auction. Each tax deed will be sold to the highest bidder.
Search For Tax Deed Sales
Review your local newspaper or the newspaper from the area you wish to purchase tax lien properties. In Texas, notices of foreclosure sales are required to be posted in the legal section. You might also search online for tax lien property in Texas; many counties publish their property for sale on their website. Many county clerks also have a listing available of all the tax lien properties and foreclosure properties that are scheduled to go up for auction the following month. Visit the clerk's office and ask for the listing. If they do not have it available, ask for the attorney that handles the county's tax lien sales. In Texas, most counties hire outside counsel to handle the tax lien sale process. Call the attorney's office and request a copy of the month's tax lien properties.
Prove You Don't Owe Delinquent Taxes
Texas passed a law a few years ago which means that certain counties might have to verify that a potential purchaser does not owe any delinquent property taxes. You should ask if your county is one that requires proof of no delinquency to buy tax deed property. If it is, obtain a letter from your county clerk attesting that you are not delinquent in any property taxes to the county. A small fee is usually charged for this letter from the county.
Review the Tax Deed Sale Listing
Review the foreclosure sale listing for the place and time of the sale. Under Texas Property Code, sales are on the first Tuesday of the month at the courthouse of the county in which they are held. Times will vary by county. You might also call the county clerk or attorney's office to verify this information. Also check what forms of payment are acceptable at the auction. Many counties accept only cash or cashier's check.
Attend the Tax Deed Sale
Go to the tax deed sale. Take an acceptable form of payment, such as cash or cashier's check, and the letter from the county regarding no delinquent property taxes, if applicable. You will then be free to bid on tax lien properties. If you present a winning bid, you will pay the county, and it will issue a Sheriff's Deed for the property purchased. Be aware that the property owner has two years to buy back the property, if the property was their home. To redeem the property, the previous owner must pay you back your investment plus 25 percent interest.
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