Stanislaus County Treasurer/Tax Collector
                                  

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Questions and Answers

The following are questions frequently asked at Chapter 7 sales and their answers as taken from the County Tax Collector's Reference Manual, Section 8152.1: 

Q.   Can I mail in or submit a sealed bid for a property in the auction?

A.   No.  The public auction requires you to be present in order to bid on the properties.

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Q.  Can I obtain a property available at the tax sale by paying the delinquent taxes thereon prior to the tax sale date?

A.   No.  Legal title to tax-defaulted property subject to the tax collector's power to sell can be obtained only by becoming the successful bidder at the county tax sale.

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Q.   How do I find or see a property I'd like to bid on at the tax sale?

A.   While we try in every way to help prospective purchasers identify a property location, we can provide only the approximate geographic location for vacant land (which accounts for most property offered at our tax sale).  Vacant, or unimproved, land has no address.  Its approximate location may be determined through the use of county assessor plat maps and a map book.  Exact boundary lines of a property can be determined only by conducting a survey of the property, initiated at the purchaser's expense.  Improved properties frequently (but not always) bear a situs (street address).

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Q.   How can a bidder pay for a property at the tax sale?

A.   Payment must be made in cash, money order, cashier's check or certified check for minimum bid.  Thereafter, the balance may be paid by personal check.  If you pay by personal check and it does not clear the bank, you will forfeit the minimum bid and legal action may be taken to recover the remaining bid amount.

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Q.  Do liens or encumbrances on a tax-defaulted property transfer to the new owner after purchase of the property at a tax sale?

A.   California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 3712 states:

"The deed conveys title to the purchaser free of all encumbrances of any kind existing before the sale, except for:

(a) Any lien for installments of taxes and special assessments; installments will become payable upon the secured roll after the time of the sale.

(b) The lien for taxes or assessments or other rights of any taxing agency that does not consent to the sale under this chapter.

(c) Liens for special assessments levied upon the property conveyed that were, at the time of the sale under this chapter, not included in the amount necessary to redeem the tax-defaulted property and, where a taxing agency that collects its own taxes has consented to the sale under this chapter, were not included in the amount required to redeem from sale to the taxing agency.

(d) Easements constituting servitudes upon or burdens to the property; water rights, the record title to which is held separately from the title to the property; and restrictions of record.

(e) Unaccepted, recorded, irrevocable offers of dedication of the property to the public or a public entity for a public purpose, and recorded options of any taxing agency to purchase the property or any interest therein for a public purpose.

(f) Unpaid assessments under the Improvement Bond Act of 1915 (Division 10 (commencing with Section 8500) of the Streets and Highways Code) that are not satisfied as a result of the sale proceeds being applied pursuant to Chapter 1.3 (commencing with Section 4671) of Part 8, or that are being collected through a foreclosure action pursuant to Part 14 (commencing with Section 8830) of Division 10 of the Streets and Highways Code.  A sale pursuant to this chapter shall not nullify, eliminate, or reduce the amount of a foreclosure judgment pursuant to Part 14 (commencing with Section 8830) of Division 10 of the Streets and Highways Code.

(g) Any federal Internal Revenue Service liens that, pursuant to provisions of federal law, are not discharged by the sale, even though the tax collector has provided proper notice to the Internal Revenue Service before that date.

(h) Unpaid special taxes under the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982 (Chapter 2.5 (commencing with Section 53311) of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code) that are not satisfied as a result of the sale proceeds being applied pursuant to Chapter 1.3 (commencing with Section 4671) of Part 8, or that are being collected through a foreclosure action pursuant to Section 53356.1 of the Government Code.  A sale pursuant to this chapter shall not nullify, eliminate, or reduce the amount of a foreclosure judgment pursuant to Section 53356.1 of the Government Code."

A title search initiated at the prospective purchaser's expense should reveal any liens or encumbrances on a property in the tax sale.

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Q.  When does the right to redeem a tax-defaulted parcel subject to the power to sell cease?

A.   The right ceases at the close of business on the last business day prior to the sale.

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Q.  How can I determine what use I can make of a tax sale property before I purchase it?

A.   Consult the zoning department of any city within which a property lies or the zoning section of the county department of planning and land use for a parcel in an unincorporated area (not within a city boundary).  Examine the county recorder's records for any recorded easements on a property.  You can also order a title search report from a local title insurance company.

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Q.  How soon can I take possession of a property after my purchase at the tax sale?

A.   You should consult an attorney.  Generally, the successful bidder may take possession of a property after making payment in full and complying with any conditions set forth by the tax collector.

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Q.  How is the minimum price determined on a property offered at a tax sale?

A.   State law dictates that the minimum price for a tax-defaulted parcel offered at a public auction for the first time shall be no less than the total amount necessary to redeem the parcel, plus costs.  The minimum bid may be set at a greater amount at the tax collector's discretion.

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Q.  Is a tax sale publicly advertised?

A.   Yes.  State law dictates that notice of a tax sale must be published three times in successive seven-day intervals before the tax sale date, in a general-circulation newspaper published in the county.

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Q.  How will title in the deed to the purchaser be vested?

A.   Title is vested in the name of the actual purchaser.  If title is to be vested differently, we require a notarized letter from the individual you are representing, stating the manner in which title is to be vested.