This blog post will be about two things: buying a home in Florida and purchasing a tax deed. When a property owner is delinquent on their tax payments, the property is put up for auction in order to pay the lien. This is known as a tax deed sale.  In most cases, the Clerk’s Office is responsible for conducting the sale in accordance with Florida law. The ultimate goal is to purchase a piece of property that is worth far more than the debt owed on it. The process of purchasing a tax deed does involve some risk, however, and there are some things to remember. When purchasing a home in Florida, this is something to keep in mind.

What You Need to Know about Purchasing a Tax Deed

Legal lien holders and other parties with an interest in a property must be identified and the courts must be notified of the impending sale of the asset when it is eligible for tax deed sale due to ad valorem property taxes that have been unpaid for more than two years. Additional advertising requirements include a newspaper ad once a week for a month before the auction begins. A case can be made to overturn the sale if the notice is not delivered to the owner(s). This carries significant risk and may come as a nasty surprise to the deed’s buyer.

Until the day the property is sold, the owner of the property has the option of paying all outstanding taxes and court costs related to the sale. Cash or certified funds are required for this transaction. The property is redeemed and returned to the original owner if the owner does this before the highest bidder pays for the deed.

In accordance with Florida Statute 197.562, as soon as you are granted the tax deed, you may immediately take possession of the subject property. If you are not allowed to take possession, you can ask the circuit courts to issue a “writ of assistance.” The person who is refusing your request must be given notice of your intention to do so five days in advance.

In some cases, a tax deed sale property does not have a marketable title. It is critical that you conduct thorough research on any property you are considering purchasing before making a final decision.

Obtaining a marketable title from an auction that does not guarantee it may require the filing of a quiet title civil lawsuit. Civil law attorneys can be of great help in this process.

After winning the auction, there are a few things you will need to do before you can take ownership of the property you purchased. Once the sale is complete, you must go to the Clerk’s Recording Department to have your transaction recorded. Your bid, documentary stamps, and recording fees will all be included in the total amount you owe the Deputy Clerk. As a down payment, you must provide the clerk with at least two hundred dollars in cash or 5% of the winning bid, whichever is greater. The total amount due must be paid in cash, cashier’s check, or money order made payable to the Circuit Court Clerk within 24 hours. Paying as soon as possible is best because the former owner can still reclaim his or her property up until that point. Also, under Florida Statutes 197.542, the Clerk may refuse your bid and place it up for re-auction if you do not make payment within 24 hours.

Are You Looking to Buy a Home in Florida? We Can Help

For tax deed sales, these are just the basics. Managing risk is a major part of the process, and it can be quite complicated. However, if you are looking to buy a home in Florida, purchasing a tax deed may be an excellent investment that saves you a significant amount of money, as long as you work with the right team of real estate professionals. Give us a call at (305) 921-0976 right now to find out how we can be of assistance to you, email us at [email protected].