The purpose of offering tax-defaulted property at a tax sale is to collect the unpaid taxes (redemption) and to return the property to a revenue-generating status by conveying the property to another owner.
**** Properties offered at tax sale are sold "as is". Purchasers are advised to read all available information and investigate each property they intend to bid on.****
Tax Sales are a ‘buyer beware’ sale. Prior to purchase, anyone interested in bidding on tax defaulted property should have investigated the exact location, desirability and usefulness of the property. Tax defaulted property cannot be presumed to be buildable or serviced by utilities. Parcels are sold in an "as is condition". The Tax Collector makes no warranties as to the condition of the property, zoning, permitted uses or legal status of the property, or as to any other matter. The County is not liable for known or unknown conditions of the property, including, but not limited to, contamination or errors in the Assessor's records pertaining to improvement of the property. Refer to Section 3692.3 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code regarding property conditions sold at tax sale.
Additional information regarding property status and/or permit history may be obtained in the appropriate Planning Department. For unincorporated Marin, please contact the Community Development Agency/Planning Division. For property located in an incorporated town or city, please contact the local Planning Department.
It is the purchaser's responsibility to determine if there are any liens or special assessments which would continue as an obligation against the property following a tax sale. Further, the property may be affected by easements, public purpose dedication and restrictions of record.
Encumbrances (Liens on Property)
Refer to Section 3712 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code for information about encumbrances that remain after title is conveyed through tax deed. Visit the California Legislative Information website and look under California Law for current details.
Parcel maps are available for inspection and/or purchase prior to the Public Auction in the Assessor's Office. Parcel maps are also available on the Assessor's website.
Combination of Parcels
Properties grouped are offered together. Should one property within group be redeemed and the taxes on the remaining property or properties within the group remain outstanding, the remaining property or properties will be offered at tax sale. The minimum bid for the group is the combined minimum bids for each tax defaulted parcel in the group.
If a parcel offered for sale has a mobile home on it, the sale is for the real property only and does not include the mobile home. Mobile homes are considered personal property, unless they are on a permanent foundation.
Code Violations may be outstanding on one or more parcels offered for sale. The tax default sale does not postpone or affect any enforcement procedures to bring the property into code compliance.
Parcels offered for sale may contain hazardous wastes, toxic substances, or other substances regulated by federal, state, and local agencies. The County does not assume any responsibility, implied or otherwise, that the parcels are in compliance with federal, state, or local laws governing such substances. The County does not assume any responsibility, implied or otherwise, for any costs or liability of any kind imposed upon or voluntarily assumed by a purchaser or any other owner to remediate, clean up, or otherwise bring into compliance according to federal, state, or local environmental laws on any parcel purchased. The Tax Collector shall not have any duty to investigate the status of any parcel with regard to contamination by environmentally hazardous materials. Known contaminated properties are announced at the tax sale prior to being offered.
DO NOT bid on properties unless you understand the issues related to contaminated properties. Prior to bidding, you should contact your attorney regarding the possible purchase of contaminated properties.
The minimum bid price for a tax-defaulted parcel shall be no less than the total amount necessary to redeem the parcel, an estimate of the current year taxes (if billed) and costs.
Tender Types Accepted
Bank statements showing the available funds, letters of credit, loan approval letters, and/or account balance certificates from the bank are NOT accepted as proof of certified funds.
Sealed Bid Tax Sale: Certified funds only (e.g., cashier's checks, money orders, and/or certified checks).
Live Public Auction: Cash, money orders, cashier's checks, and/or certified checks from a financial institution for the minimum bid are accepted. Thereafter, the balance may be paid by personal check. If payment by personal check does not clear the bank, the minimum bid will be forfeit and legal action may be taken to recover the remaining bid amount.
Bidders are required to conduct any research of due diligence they wish prior to submitting a bid. A bid is an irrevocable offer to purchase a property. A bid accepted is a binding contract. A bidder is legally and financially responsible for all properties bid upon whether representing one’s self or acting as an agent.
Bidding will be in increments of $100 or higher until the parcel is sold to the highest bidder. No bid will be accepted for less than the minimum bid amount.
The Assessor's parcel number, situs, and minimum bid will be displayed for each item.
All sales are final. Legal action will be taken if any successful bid is not settled. The bidder's deposit, if any, will be forfeited if settlement is not completed by the payment deadline and bidder will be banned from future Tax Sales.
Payment in Full
Successful bidders must settle their purchase at time of purchase. Additional fees collected at time of purchase are:
- Documentary Transfer Tax will be collected in addition to the amount of the bid at the rate of $0.55 per $500 of the sales price.
- Transfer Tax at the rate of $1.10 per thousand except in the City of San Rafael where the rate is $3.10 per thousand will be charged in addition to the successful bid price.
A tax deed will be issued to the purchaser within 60 days of the Tax Default Sale. Should title to the property purchased be recorded incorrectly due to the purchaser, the County will not be responsible to correct the title.
If a property is sold at tax default sale, the former owners and lien holders of the property have the right to claim proceeds remaining in excess of property taxes, assessment liens and costs of sale. To claim the excess proceeds, you must be a "party of interest" as defined by Section 4675 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.
The former assessee or any lien holder has one year from the date of recording of the tax deed to challenge the validity of the Tax Sale (RTC §177 and §3725). During this one-year challenge period, it may not be possible to obtain a guaranty of clear title from a title company. Title companies may not issue their policy of title insurance on property that was purchased through a tax-defaulted land sale, unless a quiet title action has been successfully pursued in the courts, or in lieu thereof, quit claim deeds are acquired from the former assessee or every lien holder. To learn more about quiet title actions, you may consult with an attorney experienced in real estate transactions.
If you have questions concerning redemption, the proposed sale of tax defaulted property, or the right to claim excess proceeds, call our office at (415) 473-6133.