Property Tax Sale Auction

Can I mail in a bid for a property?
No, not at a public auction. The public auction requires your presence, or that of your representative, to verbally bid on the properties. Anyone wishing to bid on tax sale properties being offered the day of sale must be registered prior to bidding.
Can I obtain a property at the public auction tax sale by paying the delinquent taxes prior to the tax sale date?
No. Legal title to a tax-defaulted property subject to the Tax Collector’s power to sell can be acquired only through the Treasurer-Tax Collector by being the successful bidder at the tax sale, and by paying the full purchase amount, including the Documentary Transfer Tax.
How do I review a property I would like to bid on at tax sale?
Vacant or “Unimproved” land has no address or “situs” location and “Improved” properties may bear a street address. For your information, maps showing the general location or dimension of all parcels for sale may be purchased through the Office of the Assessor. For map questions only, please contact the Assessor at (714) 834-2727.
How do I pay for a Property at the Tax Sale?
Payment must be made in cash or cashier’s checks made payable to the County of Orange. No other forms of payment are accepted, including personal checks, money orders or traveler’s checks or credit cards. You must have the required payment in proper form with you before you bid on any property at the tax sale. Payment must be made immediately upon being awarded the successful bid.
What are the conditions of the payment for property at the tax sale?
All successful bids must be paid in full. Immediately after the bid is declared successful, the purchaser must go directly to the cashier to make payment. All payments must be in one of the accepted forms of payment: cash (U.S. currency) or cashiers check (payable to the County of Orange). No other forms of payment will be accepted. The deposit will be applied to the final bid purchase price.

A successful bidder who does not have sufficient funds to pay for his or her purchase cannot complete the transaction and will be disallowed from participating in all other bids that day. The bidder’s deposit may also be forfeited, along with any rights the bidder may have in the the property will be immediately re-offered for sale.
How soon can I take possession of the property after my purchase at the tax sale?
The successful bidder may take possession of a property after making payment in full and after the Tax Deed to Purchaser has been recorded. Tax deeds are generally recorded within four weeks of the sale.
How is the minimum bid on a tax sale property determined?
State law requires that the minimum bid on a tax-defaulted parcel offered at a public auction for the first time be no less than the total amount necessary to pay all of the delinquent taxes on the parcel plus the costs of conducting the sale. In addition, the winning bidder will be also required to pay a Documentary Transfer of $.55 per $500 of sales price.
What is the deadline to pay the delinquent taxes to prevent a tax-defaulted property from being offered at auction?
The deadline is 5:00 p.m. on the last business day prior to the scheduled Property Tax Auction.
How often do Tax Auctions occur?
Tax Auctions occur annually.
Does everyone have to pay the $5,000 deposit upon attending the auction whether or not they bid?
The Treasurer requires all prospective purchasers to register and be assigned a bidder card number. A $5000 deposit in the form of cash (U.S. Currency) or a cashier’s check (payable to the County of Orange) is required at the time of registration.
When will my Deposit be refunded if I don’t purchase any properties?
The Treasurer will refund all deposits for bidders that do not purchase any properties immediately after the tax auction is concluded at the Office of the Treasurer-Tax Collector.
If I want to bid on a property, and it is not on the tax sale list the day of the auction, what does that mean?
This means that the item has been redeemed (paid in full) or withdrawn prior to the sale.
Can I bid below the “Minimum Bid?”
No bids are allowed below the Minimum Bid unless a property has been offered for sale at least once, no acceptable bids have been received, and the Treasurer-Tax Collector elects to offer that property at a reduced minimum bid.
How do I find out if a property is subject to any liens?
You may inquire at the Office of the Orange County Clerk-Recorder at 12 Civic Center Plaza, Room 101 in Santa Ana or call them at (714) 834-2500. In addition, you can search their website using the Online Grantor/Grantee Index Search for possible liens.
What happens to liens on the property after it is sold at a Tax Sale?
Pursuant to Section 3712 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, tax deeds convey title to the purchaser free of all prior encumbrances (mortgage liens, judgment creditors, etc.) of any kind EXCEPT liens specified by Section 3712, Lis Pendens actions and any Federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 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. (IRS liens will be announced at the time of the tax sale.) You will need to research liens on the properties to determine if the properties are encumbered in any way. Payment of the bid amount at a tax-defaulted public auction may or may not discharge these types of obligations.
Why are properties removed from the Public Auction?
Properties may be removed for various reasons, including, but not limited to: payment of the delinquent taxes, bankruptcy filings, and problems with the notification to parties of interest in compliance with Revenue and Taxation Code section 3701.
How long do I have to wait to improve or sell the property?
It is recommended to delay any improvement on the property for a one-year period from the date the tax deed is recorded. The owner and/or a lienholder has one year to initiate proceedings to challenge the validity or irregularity of the tax sale.
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