Texas Tax Sales FAQ
IMPORTANT NEW INFORMATION REGARDING THE ELIGIBILITY OF
PERSONS TO PURCHASE PROPERTY AT TEXAS TAX SALES CONDUCTED
IN COUNTIES WITH A POPULATION OF 250,000 OR MORE AND IN LESS POPULATED
COUNTIES THAT HAVE ADOPTED THE PROVISIONS OF SEC. 34.015, TEX.
In such counties, purchasers at tax sales must present to the sheriff
or constable conducting the sale a written statement issued to
the purchaser by the county tax assessor-collector stating that
the purchaser owes no delinquent property taxes to the county and
that there are no known or reported delinquent taxes owed by the
purchaser to any school district or city with territory in the
county. State law further prohibits the sheriff or constable in
such counties from delivering a tax deed to any purchaser who fails to
present to the officer the required written statement issued by the county
tax assessor-collector. IN ORDER TO SECURE THE REQUIRED WRITTEN
STATEMENT FROM THE COUNTY TAX ASSESSOR-COLLECTOR REGARDING YOUR DELINQUENT
TAX LIABILITY IN ANY COUNTY OTHER THAN HARRIS COUNTY OR FORT BEND COUNTY,
TO DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE REQUEST FORM THAT YOU MUST COMPLETE, HAVE NOTARIZED,
AND PRESENT TO THE COUNTY TAX ASSESSOR-COLLECTOR, ALONG WITH A PAYMENT OF
THE STATUTORY FEE OF $10.00.
For HARRIS COUNTY tax sales,
for a link to the Harris County Tax Assessor's website where you will find
a request form that you may download and print.
For FORT BEND COUNTY tax sales,
to download the request form,
to download attachment A and
CLICK HERE to
download attachment B to the request form.
You are urged to submit the request form to the county tax assessor-collector
well in advance of the tax sale at which you intend to bid. Again, these
requirements apply only in those counties with a population of 250,000 or more
and in those less populated counties that have adopted the provisions of Sec.
34.015. If you are unsure as to whether these requirements
apply in a certain county, you may check with the office of the county’s
AND WHERE ARE YOUR TAX SALES ADVERTISED?
They are advertised three times prior to the auction in a newspaper
published in the county where the property is located. In 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.
In 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 Bexar County (San Antonio),
notices are published in The
Daily Commercial Recorder, to which you can subscribe by
calling (210) 453-3300. The website is located
In addition, some sales are
posted at here.
AND WHERE ARE TAX SALES CONDUCTED?
Public Tax Sales may only be conducted on the first Tuesday of
any month at the courthouse of the county in which the property
is located. As to the specific time and location at the courthouse,
you must refer to the published notice of sale in the newspapers
WHAT IF I PURCHASE A PROPERTY THAT
IS ENCUMBERED BY A MORTGAGE OR OTHER LIENS?
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 ON THE DAY OF THE SALE?
The judgment amount and all associated costs that constitute the "minimum
bid" must be paid. However, the time allowed for the collection
of adequate funds varies among officers who conduct tax sales.
Some allow 1-2 hours, while others require the full amount paid
at the time the successful bid is made.
In Harris County, payment must be by cash or cashier's check. If
the cashier's check is for more than the amount of the bid, the
Constable will refund the excess money. Many people find it convenient
to bring a cashier's check made out to themselves for the amount
of the minimum bid, and cash for any additional amounts they are
willing to bid. If an investor is the successful bidder then he/she
can endorse the cashier's check to the Constable. In some other
counties, the officers will accept personal checks. Your best bet
is to call the officer and ask in advance.
WHAT IS THE
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 will be to the highest bidder. The
officer begins by announcing the sale and the official minimum
opening bid, and then asks for bidders. If you open the bidding
by offering the minimum opening bid, then others may raise the
bid. Then, you can decide whether you want to continue bidding
against them by offering a higher bid(s).
WHAT IS THE
MINIMUM BID I SHOULD EXPECT TO PAY?
The "minimum bid" varies from property to property. The
exact minimum bid is determined by the officer conducting the sale
prior to the sale, and is announced at the sale. Unless there are "credits",
you should expect to pay an amount that is the total of all amounts
due in the judgment, penalty and interest, attorney fees, court
costs, title costs, Constable/Sheriff fees, and posting fees.
YOUR LAW FIRM OFFER A FINANCING PROGRAM OR ANY DISCOUNTS?
No. However, we may offer a payment arrangement plan for successful
buyers of property at a Tax Sale for tax years not included in
the judgment (i.e. taxes which accrue after the judgment).
WHAT TYPE OF OWNERSHIP DOCUMENT IS ISSUED AT THE SALE?
The successful bidder on a property will be issued a Constable's
Deed or Sheriff's Deed within 4 to 6 weeks after the auction
date. It is provided by § 34.01(n) of the Texas Property
Tax Code that:
"The deed vests good and perfect
title in the purchaser or the purchaser's assigns to the interest
owned by the defendant in the property subject to the foreclosure,
including the defendant's right to the use and possession of
the property, subject only to the defendant's right of redemption,
the terms of a recorded restrictive covenant running with the
land that was recorded before January 1 of the year in which
the tax lien on the property arose, a recorded lien that arose
under that restrictive covenant that was not extinguished in
the judgment foreclosing the tax lien, and each valid easement
of record as of the date of the sale that was recorded before
January 1 of the year the tax lien arose. The deed may be impeached
only for fraud."
For further information regarding
the meaning of this statutory provision, please consult your
If taxes have accrued against the property
since the time of foreclosure judgment (i.e. "post judgment
the tax sale purchaser is considered by the taxing jurisdictions
to have taken title subject to any such post-judgment taxes.
HAPPENS TO THE PROPERTIES THAT ARE NOT SOLD AT THE AUCTION?
In some cases, if no one bids upon a property, the property will
be withdrawn from sale. In other instances, the property may
be struck-off to the taxing jurisdiction that requested the Order
of Sale. The struck-off property would then be owned jointly
by all taxing jurisdictions that participated in the tax suit,
and then later will be offered for resale as a struck-off property.
DO I GET A LIST OF PROPERTIES STRUCK-OFF AT AUCTION AND NOW HELD
With respect to property located in most counties, your two best
sources of information are: (1) the tax assessor-collector's
office and (2) the office of our firm handling the business of
taxing jurisdictions located in that county. There are some counties
in which the taxing jurisdictions entertain "private resales" in
that they will consider written offers to purchase on a case by
case basis as those offers are received. Other counties utilize
a sealed bid procedure from time to time.
In Harris County, along with some other counties, resales of
struck off properties are conducted by a second public auction.
Notices of those resale auctions are advertised in The Daily
Court Review as they become scheduled, and those auction notices
will also ultimately become available online at www.publicans.com (our
firm's website) as and when scheduled. A list of Harris County
properties is not currently published.
HOW DO I FIND
OUT THE RESULTS OF A TAX SALE AUCTION, INCLUDING WHICH PROPERTIES
SOLD, TO WHOM, AND FOR WHAT AMOUNT?
We regret that we cannot furnish this information. However, the
underlying papers for each separate tax suit on file with the
court in the district clerk's office are public records. Those
papers will include an officer's return on the order of sale
which will give all information regarding the sale outcome. You
will need the cause number for the tax suit in order to retrieve
WHAT IF I PURCHASE PROPERTY AT
A TAX SALE, AND THE FORMER OWNERS OF THE PROPERTY THEN WANT
TO "REDEEM" THE
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
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.
I BE ABLE TO GET TITLE INSURANCE ON PROPERTY I PURCHASE AT A TAX
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.
foregoing material is strictly for informational purposes only
and does not provide legal advice or services. Use of any
of the foregoing information does not create an attorney-client
should not act on the information provided without
seeking legal counsel of your choice. The law firm of Linebarger
Goggan Blair & Sampson,
LLP represents a number of taxing jurisdictions. We
do not represent taxpayers, purchasers of judgment property, or
any other outside interests. For
further information, please contact your attorney.