GENERAL INFORMATION NOTICE
Information or forms provided by the Clerk of Circuit Court should be considered as basic information only and may not be applicable to every situation. The information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Specific guidance concerning tax deed sales should be directed to a qualified attorney.
TAX DEED SALES INFORMATION
What is a tax deed sale?
A Tax Deed Sale is a public auction where real estate is sold on property that is delinquent in taxes. A tax deed sale occurs after an owner of a tax certificate applies to the Tax Collector for a Tax Deed after the tax certificate has been held for the statutory period.
When and where are these tax deed sales held?
Tax Deed Sales, when scheduled, are generally held the first Monday of the month at 11:00 a.m. inside of the front hallway facing Highway 98 of the Main Courthouse, 33 Market Street, Apalachicola, Florida, 32320. The date will change if the first Monday is a holiday. Call for verification before attending.
Where can I obtain information about upcoming sales?
The tax deed sales are advertised in “The Apalachicola Times” once a week for four consecutive weeks. You can purchase copies of the legal ads or other paperwork from the Clerk’s Office at a cost of $1.00 per page. The Clerk’s Office telephone number is 850-653-8861, ext 146. The office also lists pending tax deed sales on the website, www.franklinclerk.com. Look under quick links for Tax Deed Sales.
What liens or encumbrances survive against a property after it is sold at a tax deed sale?
F.S. 197.552 states, “Except as specifically provided in this chapter, no right, interest, restriction, or other covenant shall survive the issuance of a tax deed, except that a lien of record held by a municipal or county governmental unit, special district, or community development district, when such lien is not satisfied as of the disbursement of proceeds of sale under the provisions of s. 197.582, shall survive the issuance of a tax deed.” Governmental liens/judgments survive the issuance of a tax deed and are satisfied to the fullest extent possible with any overbid monies from the sale. Governmental liens not satisfied in full survive the issuance of a tax deed and will still remain against the property. The Clerk’s Office assumes no responsibility for any encumbrances on any property offered for sale. It is in your best interest to have a title search done by an attorney or title company. However, you may search the Official Records. When considering tax deed properties, please be advised that ALL PROPERTIES ARE SOLD BUYER BEWARE.
Can the property owner stop the property from being sold for taxes?
The property owner or mortgage holder can redeem the property from the tax deed sale by paying the amounts owed to the Tax Collector before the sale or prior to the full payment being made to the clerk, including documentary stamps and recording fees. F.S. 197.122(1)(c) now reads, “A sale or conveyance of real or personal property for nonpayment of taxes may not be held invalid except upon proof that: (c) the real property was redeemed before receipt by the clerk of the court of full payment for a deed based upon a certificate issued for nonpayment of taxes, including all recording fees and documentary stamps.
What do I need to do if I am the successful bidder at the sale?
According to office policy, you are asked to remain until the auction is complete and accompany the deputy clerk to the Clerk’s Office. You will be advised of the total amount due which will include your bid amount and the fees to record the tax deed and documentary stamps of $.70 per $100 of the bid. If payment in full is not made, you are required to post a nonrefundable deposit of 5 percent of the bid or $200, whichever is greater, at the conclusion of the bidding for the parcel as set out in F.S. 197.542(2), to be applied to the sale price at the time of full payment. Payment in full must be made within twenty-four (24) hours. If the required deposit is not paid, then the bidding on that parcel will begin again at the base bid amount. Payment must be made in cash or by cashier’s check payable to the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Remember, the property may be redeemed if done so before receipt by the clerk of full payment including all recording fees and documentary stamps.
What if the successful bidder fails to return with the full payment within 24 hours?
Section 197.542(2) states: “The Clerk may refuse to recognize the bid of any person who has previously bid and refused, for any reason, to honor such bid.” If full payment is not received, the Clerk shall immediately readvertise the sale to be held within 30 days after the date the sale was canceled with only one advertisement being required.
Do you get clear title with a tax deed?
All properties sold at a tax deed qualify under “buyer beware”. The purchase of a Tax Deed does not warrant or guarantee clear and marketable title. Note: Most title insurance companies require the property to go through a quiet title lawsuit for the property to be able to have title insurance issued. Information on Quiet Title procedures and costs would be available from an Attorney that handles these lawsuits.
What are some things I should know before the sale?
In order to participate in the bidding process, one must arrive a few minutes prior to 11:00 a.m. You or your representative must be physically present at the sale in order to bid on the property. It is highly recommended that you research the properties prior to the sale day in order to understand what you are purchasing at the sale. (You should research for liens, zoning, restrictions, etc.) All properties are sold “AS IS” and bidders are responsible for conducting their own research as to the condition of the property and the state of the title of the property being sold. The Clerk’s office makes no warranties or representation about the location or condition regarding any property, the condition of structures or fixtures, its marketability, existing or potential uses, zoning regulations or law that may affect current or future uses of the property, outstanding or potential liens, mortgages or encumbrances or defects in title that may exist.
As the successful bidder, is a person entitled to immediate possession of the property after issuance of the tax deed?
Section 197.562, F.S., states “Any person, firm, corporation, or county that is the grantee of any tax deed under this law shall be entitled to the immediate possession of the lands described in the deed”. It is possible you may have to take legal action to get possession. The Clerk’s Office assumes no responsibility for the availability of any property offered for sale.
How is the amount of the opening bid determined?
If the property is not homestead property, the amount of the opening bid equals the total of unpaid taxes and interest, the Tax Collector’s administration fees, the Clerk of Circuit Court’s administration fees and expenditure fees required by the Florida Statutes to bring the property to delinquent tax sale. If the property is homestead property, half of the assessed value from the tax roll is added to the above amounts for the total opening bid. If there are no higher bids, the land is sold to the certificate holder, who shall forthwith pay to the clerk any amounts included in the minimum bid not already paid, including but not limited to, the documentary stamp tax, the recording fees, and, if the property is homestead property, the moneys to cover the one-half value of the homestead within 30 days after the sale.
Where can I obtain information regarding the sale of tax certificates?
Tax certificate information can be obtained from the Tax Collector’s Office. The telephone number for the Tax Collector is 850-653-9323.
NOTE: Pursuant to F.S. 197.122(1), All owners of property are held to know that taxes are due and payable annually and are responsible for ascertaining the amount of current and delinquent taxes and paying them before April 1 of the year following the year in which taxes are assessed. Please check on taxes due on property purchased at a tax deed sale.