Not all properties on the tax sale list will be offered at the public auction. Many properties will be redeemed, postponed, or removed for technical reasons prior to the auction date.
The Sacramento County Tax Collector's main tax-defaulted land public auction is normally held the last Monday in February of each year, with a follow-up sale in May or June. Please read the Auction Information Packet. for further information regarding Sacramento County's tax sale.
For additional information regarding the public auction, you may contact our Tax-Defaulted Land Unit between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays at (916) 874-6621.
All prospective bidders must register in order to bid
at tax-defaulted land sales.
Online registration is required - please complete the registration form found here(hyperlink).
As part of the online registration you must determine how the deed will be recorded (vested) if you are a successful bidder. Additional documentation may be required and all documentation must be complete before you will be allowed to bid. Complete instructions are found on the registration page. Bidders must check-in on auction day, and we require a valid picture identification at the time of check-in
(i.e., valid driver's license, valid California ID card, valid military ID card,
passport). To determine how much money to bring, please refer to "How to
Pay for Properties Purchased at the Tax Sale" in the Auction Information Packet.
A bidder number will be issued at check-in and is required to participate at the public auction. If you
require special accommodations at the public auction site, please contact the
Tax-Defaulted Land Unit at (916) 874-6621 a minimum of two weeks prior to the
public auction date.
How do I pay for a property at the tax sale?
Payment in full is required at time of sale, in the form of certified check, money order, or cashier’s check, made payable to Sacramento County Tax Collector. Cash, personal checks, and credit cards will not be accepted. If the successful bidder leaves without paying for the purchase, the sale will be void, any rights to the property forfeited, and the property will be re-offered before the end of the Public Auction.
In addition to the final bid amount the payment must include the documentary transfer tax on the bid amount. The documentary transfer tax is based on the rate of $.55 of each $500 or fraction part of each $500 when such bid exceeds $100. Please read the Auction Information Packet.
Can I bid at the scheduled Sealed Bid Sale?
No. Sealed Bid Sales are not open to the general public. Sealed Bid properties are only offered to owners of properties that are adjoining the Sealed Bid property, or owners of easements on the Sealed Bid property.
Do you sell tax lien certificates?
Sacramento County does not sell tax lien certificates.
Can I mail in or submit a sealed bid for a property in the public auction?
No. The public auction requires the presence of you or your representative, to verbally bid on the properties.
Can I obtain a property available at the tax sale by paying the delinquent taxes on it prior to the tax sale Date?
No. Legal title to tax-defaulted property subject to the tax collector's power to sell can only be obtained by being the successful bidder at the tax sale.
How do I find or see a property I'd like to bid on at the tax sale?
Most of the properties on the sale list have a street address, though the County does not warrant that the address is correct. The approximate geographic location can be determined through the use of the Parcel Number and the County Assessor Parcel Viewer. Parcel maps are also available from the
County Assessor's Office at 3636 American River Drive, Suite 200, Sacramento, CA 95826, telephone: (916) 875-0700. Exact boundary lines of a property can be determined only by a survey of the property initiated at the purchaser's expense. Properties with structures usually (but not always) have a street address.
Why are properties removed from the Public Auction?
Properties may be removed for various reasons, including payment of the delinquent taxes, bankruptcy filings, and problems with the notification to parties of interest. Removed properties may be offered at the next tax sale.
When does the property owner's right to redeem (pay in full) a tax-defaulted parcel subject to the power to sell cease?
The right of redemption ceases at the close of business on the last business day prior to the tax sale.
How can I determine what use I can make of a tax sale property before I purchase it?
Consult the zoning department of the city within which a property lies or the zoning section of the County Community Development Department for a parcel in an unincorporated area (not within a city boundary). Research the County Recorder's records for any recorded easements on a property. You can also order a title search report from a local title insurance company.
How can I find out what liens are on the property?
Liens and other recorded documents may be researched at the Sacramento County Clerk Recorders' Record Search page at https://ccr.saccounty.net/DocumentRecording/Pages/Index.aspx
; at the Downtown office located at 600 8th Street, Sacramento; and at the East Area Service Center at 5229-B Hazel Avenue, Fair Oaks (corner of Hazel and Madison Avenue). Lien information is not available over the telephone and must be researched in their office. You may choose to consult a title company regarding liens. Additional information on liens can be obtained in the
Auction Information Packet.
What happens to liens on the property after it is sold at a Tax Sale?
Tax deeds convey title to the purchaser free of all prior encumbrances (mortgage liens, judgment creditors, etc.) of any kind except liens specified by Revenue and Taxation Code Section 3712, Lis Pendens actions and any Federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) liens that 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 with foreclosed or unforeclosed street debt, irrigation assessments, income tax liens, etc. Payment of the bid amount at a tax-defaulted public auction may or may not discharge these types of obligations. For additional information, please refer to the
Auction Information Packet.
How soon can I take possession of a property that I purchase at the tax sale?
You must wait until you receive the recorded deed before taking possession of the property.
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 challenge the validity of the tax sale.
What happens if someone is living in the property after the property is sold at a Tax Sale?
There may be someone living in the property you purchased. Prior to the tax sale, bidders do NOT have a right to trespass or enter any property listed for sale at the public auction. Sacramento County does not own the property and does not have access to the property as in private real estate transactions. Properties sold at tax sale that are occupied become a civil matter between the occupant and the owner. This may be a tenant and landlord relationship. If the purchaser requests the occupants to leave and has any difficulty, contact the Sheriff's Civil Division for instructions.
How is the minimum price determined on a property offered at a tax sale?
State law dictates that the minimum price for a tax-defaulted parcel offered at a public auction for the first time shall be no less than the total amount necessary to redeem the parcel, plus costs. The Tax Collector may reoffer property at a reduced price at the same or next scheduled sale if no bid was received when the property was last offered for sale at public auction.
How will title in the tax deed to the purchaser be vested?
Title is recorded (vested) in the name of the registered bidder. If title is to be vested differently, we require a notarized letter from the individual for whom the bidder is acting as an agent, stating the manner in which title is to be vested. If the bidder represents a company, corporation or partnership, the bidder will need to provide certified copies of the documentation that gives the bidder the authority to register/vest on their behalf. You must decided how the deed will be recorded before the sale.
What happens to the properties that receive no bid (are not sold) at the public auction?
Any property which does not receive a bid will be reoffered at the end of the sale. If it remains unsold at the conclusion of the tax sale, the owner's right of redemption is reinstated and they remain the legal owner of record. The property may be offered for sale at the next scheduled sale. The Tax Collector may reoffer property at a reduced price at the same or next scheduled sale if no bid was received.
Can I buy property that did not sell at public auction?
No. The property cannot be sold outside of the Tax Sale Process.
What happens if I am the highest bidder, and I do not pay in full?
If the successful bidder does not pay in full at the Tax Sale, the sale will be void, any right to the property will be forfeited, and the property will be re-offered at the public auction. The County shall have a claim against the Purchaser for the actual cost of auction for that property, and the purchaser may be banned from bidding at the Sacramento County Public Auction for a period of five years.
What are Excess Proceeds?
When property is sold at a tax sale the proceeds are used to pay the delinquent tax and assessment liens, fees and costs of the sale. If more than $150.00 in sale proceeds remain after the taxes are paid they are available for claim by Parties of Interest.
Who are Parties of Interest?
Parties of Interest are defined in California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 4675 as having a recorded ownership or lien holder interest in the property at the time of the property was sold at tax sale.
What documentation do Parties of Interest need to submit?
Sacramento County requires a claim form obtained from our office, a copy of the original recorded document establishing the lien or judgment, and a calculation of the total claim amount (for instance, if interest is being claimed please show the interest calculation and basis for the interest rate).
Is there a charge to file a claim?
There is no charge to file a Claim for Excess Proceeds in Sacramento County.
Can someone claim Excess Proceeds on my behalf?
A party of interest in the property that was sold at tax sale may assign (transfer or sell) his or her right to claim excess proceeds to someone else only with a dated, written document that explicitly states that the right to claim excess proceeds is being assigned, and only after each party to the proposed assignment has disclosed to each other party all facts relating to the value of the right that is being assigned. Any assignment that does not comply with these requirements shall have no effect. Any person or entity who in any way acts on behalf of, or in place of, any party of interest with respect to filing a claim for excess proceeds shall submit proof with the claim that the amount of excess proceeds has been disclosed to the party of interest and that the party of interest has been advised of their right to claim excess proceeds on their own behalf at no charge. If you prefer to have an agent file your claim for you, or if you should decide to sell/transfer your claim, an "Assignment" must be completed and submitted in addition to the Claim for Excess Proceeds.
When can claims be filed?
The law requires that a claim be filed
within one year of the date of the Tax Collector's recording of the deed to the purchaser. By law, we cannot accept claims after one year from the recording date, nor can we begin the claim review process until one year has passed from the recording date. The Tax Collector will attempt to notify all known Parties of Interest who have a right to file a claim for Excess proceeds.
How is the priority of claims determined?
California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 4675 defines parties of interest and the priority for paying on claims:
a. First, lienholders of record prior to the recordation of the tax deed to the purchaser in the order of their priority (that is, the oldest active lien first), and,
b. Then, any person with title of record to all or any portion of that property prior to the recordation of the tax deed to the purchaser (after lienholders are satisfied any excess proceeds may be distributed to the prior owner of the property, assuming he or she filed a claim).
Note: certain liens are by law "super-priority" in that they take precedence over liens recorded earlier. Examples are tax liens.
What is the claims review process?
The Tax Collector will review each claim and associated documents that establish the claim. If additional information is needed we will contact the claiming party. After review by our office and with the concurrence of County Counsel a recommendation for distribution will be made to the Director of Finance. The Parties of Interest who submitted claims will be contacted with the recommended distribution of the excess proceeds. The Parties have ninety (90) days to dispute the recommended distribution. If no dispute are received, the excess proceeds will be distributed as recommended and a check issued in the name of the claiming party.
How do I disagree with the recommended distribution?
The Parties have ninety (90) days from the date of the distribution notification to submit in writing a dispute of the distribution, with a reason/explanation of why it is being disputed. No proceeds related to the parcel in question are distributed until the dispute is concluded. If no disputes are received, the excess proceeds will be distributed as recommended.