Property Tax Sales and Seizures

Memphis, Tennessee Tax Sales FAQ


When and where are the tax sale advertised?
The First & Final Publication listing the tax sale properties is published no less than 20 days before the tax sale in either the Daily News or Memphis Business Journal publications.

When and where are tax sales conducted?
Tax Sales are conducted at the Shelby County Courthouse, at 140 Adams Avenue, either in the Supreme Court Courtroom on the 3rd floor, or the southwest corner steps. The time, date and location are specified in the First & Final Publication published particular to that sale.

What if I purchase a property that is encumbered by a mortgage or other lien?
Our firm's practice is generally to conduct a title search prior to filing tax suits on behalf of our taxing unit clients and, if we discover an outstanding lien, the holder of that lien is generally made a party and served with citation with a view toward having the tax judgment and tax sale extinguish and terminate that lien interest. However, there is no guarantee that all ownership or lien interests have been accounted for and extinguished by the judgment, nor can we guarantee against any other possible defects in the tax sale or in the underlying judgment on which the sale is based. ALL SALES ARE CONSIDERED FINAL BY THE OFFICER CONDUCTING THE SALE, AND ALL SALES ARE WITHOUT WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED. We urge you to independently verify the quality of the title you expect to receive by commissioning your own title search and by engaging your own attorney to examine all papers on file with the court in the underlying tax foreclosure suit.

Is payment in full required the day of the sale?
Full payment with secured funds (cash or certified funds) must be made to the Clerk of Court within 24 hours of the sale.

What is the bidding process?
The bidding begins with the minimum bid amount, and bidding increases according to the bids, in increments no less than $100. All sales are made to the highest bidder, subject to the equity of redemption, and for cash.

What is the minimum bid I should expect to pay?
The minimum bid to be paid is the amount that is advertised in the First & Final Publication.

Does your Law Firm offer a financing program or any discounts?

What type of ownership document is issued at the sale?
A receipt is issued by the Court clerk upon full payment of the bid amount. Then, after the Decree Confirming the Sale Divesting and Vesting Title is entered with the Court, the owner can request a Quit Claim Deed from the Chancery Court Clerk, and the Chancery Court Clerk will prepare the Quit Claim Deed upon payment of the application fee.

What happens to the properties that are not sold at the auction?
In some cases, if no one bids, the properties may be withdrawn from the sale. Alternatively, some properties not sold at the auction are struck off and sold to the City of Memphis, and after the one year right of redemption has passed, the Real Estate Department will market and sell those properties for fair market value.

How do I get a list of properties struck off at auction and now sold for resale?
You can get a surplus property list from the City of Memphis Real Estate Department by calling 901-576-6330.

How do I find out the results of a tax sale auction including which properties were sold to whom and for what amount?
That information is public record and can be found in the Tax Sale file held by the Chancery Court Clerk. The information is contained in a Decree Confirming the Sale, Divesting and Vesting Title.

What if I purchase property at a tax sale and then the prior owner wants to redeem the property?
We cannot give you any legal advice regarding that matter, except to advise you to seek your own legal counsel if you are unsure of the redemption period applicable to the property and/or the amounts to which you are entitled upon redemption by the former owner.

If I purchase property at a tax sale and later become dissatisfied with the property may I cancel the sale and have a refund of the purchase price?
The officers who conduct tax sales regard those sales as final and not subject to rescission due to the purchaser's mistake or dissatisfaction with regards to the property.

Will I be able to get title insurance on a property I purchase at tax sale?
We cannot guarantee that title insurance will be available. Underwriting practices vary from one company to the next with regards to tax sale property. If the availability of title insurance is of paramount importance to you, we urge that you explore that matter with a title company of your choice prior to any tax sale purchase.