Next month St. Louis County and St. Charles County will hold their annual collector’s real property tax sale. The City of St. Louis holds their property tax sale on five separate dates beginning in May and running through October.
The general perception among many people is that at these sales property is sold for back-taxes owed, which is not entirely accurate. Under tax sales the property owner may in fact lose ownership of their property to the purchaser at the tax sale but, in St. Charles and St. Louis County, not until after a “redemption” period has passed and notifications required by State law have been complied with. The City of St. Louis operates under a different state law and their process does not allow a redemption period but does require the purchaser to have the sale “confirmed” by the courts at his expense. This process will require the purchaser to hire an appraiser to testify as to the reasonable value of the property.
There’s another catch too…Assuming you are going to want title insurance, that is, a title insurance company to insure that you have “good title” such as you would on a normal home-purchase, then you are going to have to file a “quiet title” lawsuit against the property owner and all other parties with an interest in the property. Years ago when I was buying property at the tax sale I was able to skip this step, but in recent years the title companies have not been willing to insure the title without the suit. The quiet title suit will add time and money to the purchase of the property.
Another little twist in the county sales (not including city of St. Louis) is there are two types of property tax sales; a first and second sale and then a third sale. In the first and second sale there are normally 3 years delinquent taxes and the “purchaser” at the tax sale will receive a purchase certificate. The current owner will then have one year to “redeem” the property. If the property is redeemed by the owner, then the holder of the purchase certificate will receive a refund of the money they paid for it, plus pro-rated interest at 10% per annum on the original delinquent tax amount for the period until redemption. If the owner does not redeem the property within the one year period, and the purchaser of the certificate gives proper notices, then they will receive a collector’s deed at that time.
The St. Charles and St. Louis County tax sales will be held on Monday, August 23, 2010. For more information on the upcoming tax sales click on the links below:
- St. Louis County Instructions on Tax Sales
- List of property in the St. Louis County First and Second Sale
- List of property in the St. Louis County Third Sale
- St. Charles County Instructions on Tax Sales
- List of property in the St. Charles County Tax Sales (both)
- City of St. Louis Instructions on Tax Sales
- City of St. Louis Tax Sale Schedule
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney (although I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express before) and this is not intended to be legal advice or a legal opinion but simply general information. You should seek appropriate legal advice prior to bidding at tax sales.