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BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURE
FOR JUDICIAL SALES

Background: The information provided below is of a general nature. It is intended to give prospective purchasers of tax delinquent properties some understanding of how the purchase process for judicial sales works, and what a purchaser may expect to occur if a property is purchased.

This information is not to be construed as an exhaustive treatment of all intricacies of the tax sale law, nor should it be taken as an answer to any property specific question, which a prospective purchaser may have. Hopefully, those who read this information will have a better idea of how the purchase process works. However, it is strongly recommended that if the reader should have any questions not sufficiently answered by the information provided, he or she should consult an attorney.

Simplified Overview: Delinquent properties which have not been purchased at an earlier sale (aka as the Upset sale) are advertised for sale in newspapers, and the sale is conducted by the Delaware County Tax Claim Bureau ("the Bureau") as provided by the applicable Commonwealth statute and conditions of sale set by the Bureau.

In the judicial sale, the properties are normally sold to the highest bidder, regardless of the amount of the unpaid taxes, which are due. Each property is sold free and clear of mortgages and liens, so long as mortgage and lien holders receive proper notice of sale.

There are a few situations that prospective purchasers should be aware of:

1. The fact that a property is advertised for sale in the newspaper does not mean that the property will be exposed for sale on the day of sale. The Bureau's experience is that many delinquent owners pay their back taxes before the sale date. Thus, their properties are taken off the sale list at the last minute. In addition, delinquent owners secure court orders to stay the sale. Those properties are also removed from the sale list. The sale of these properties may be continued to a later date.

2. If a property is purchased at the Judicial Sale, the delinquent owner may still go to court to contest the sale of his or her property. Frequently, delinquent owners claim that they failed to receive proper notice of the sale. If the court finds that this is true, the sale is set aside, and the purchaser gets his/her money back.

3. Prospective purchasers at tax sales should be aware that they can consult with an attorney prior to the sale to get more detailed information concerning what they may expect in purchasing properties. Of key importance is to learn the rights of tax delinquents to challenge the sales in court.

PROCEDURE

If you are interested in purchasing a property at the judicial sale, please do the following:

1) You may inspect a copy of the list at the bureau after the court orders that the judicial sale shall be held. The list is also printed in the Delaware County Legal Journal at least 30 days before the sale. (Also the Daily Times)

2) Know the address and folio number of all properties in which you have an interest.

3) The judicial sale usually occurs in the spring. The exact time and date may be available as early as January. Thus, you can telephone the Bureau at 610.891.4294 to get this information.

4) Registration for the sale will be advertised in the DAILY TIMES, News of Delaware County and the LEGAL JOURNAL on the same date as the properties are listed at least 30 days before the sale.
REGISTRATION FEE IS $600.00 and will be explained in the advertisement.

5) The bidding begins when each property is called and identified by the auctioneer.

6) If you are successful in your bid, employees of the bureau will assist you in the following through the purchase process.

7) You are free to bid on more than one property if you so desire.

8) A sample copy of the conditions of sale for the judicial sale is attached to give you more information about judicial sales. Please be aware that these conditions of sale are subject to change.

Disclaimer: Note that action taken by a property owner, the Courts, Government Agencies and/or the Tax Claim Bureau may result in deleting a listed property from the JUDICIAL SALE at any time.

JUDICIAL SALE

The purpose of the sale is to offer the properties to the highest bidder free and clear of all taxes, municipal claims, mortgages, judgment, charges and estates of whatsoever (due at the time of sale) except ground rents separately taxed.

The opening bid shall be $600.00 plus state and local transfer tax and recording costs. Bid price must be paid by treasurer/cashier checks or money orders. State and Local transfer tax and all recording costs must be paid with separate treasurer/cashier checks or money orders.

All payments must be paid no later than 1(one) hour before the close of business unless extended at the discretion of the Tax Claim Bureau.

Registration fee of $600.00 is required for admittance into the sale. Registration will be held prior to the date of sale at the Tax Claim Bureau between the hours of 10:00a.m and 3:00p.m (Date to be announced). The registration fee is payable to the Tax Claim Bureau and must be paid by treasurer/cashier check or money orders. The registration fee will admit 1 (one) persons. No registration on the day of the sale. Fee will be applied to the purchase of property/properties and is non-refundable if the sale is not finalized. Fee will be refunded if no purchase is made and will be mailed back to the registered bidder.

Note that land title insurance companies may elect not to insure the title of judicially sold properties. Buyers should consult legal counsel concerning the title and the advisability of bringing a court action to Quite Title.

The bureau makes no warranty, guarantee, or representation as to the discretion, nor will it make any survey on the property. Properties are sold subject to existing occupancy, if any.

The bureau reserves the right to participate, or not to participate in any post-sale litigation. All properties are sold under the "Pennsylvania Real Estate Tax Sale Law". Section 619.1. New additional restrictions as of December 21, 1998.

Within twenty (20) days following any sale under the act, a successful bidder shall be required to provide certification to the bureau that the person is not delinquent in paying real estate taxes to any taxing districts where the property is located and that the person has no municipal utility bills that are more than one year outstanding.

It will take at least six months before a court approved deed can be issued.

 

 

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610-891-4000
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