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Tax Sale Frequently Asked Questions

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Do you have questions relating to the Treasurer-Tax Collector's Tax Sale? Look through the Frequently Asked Questions below to see if your question has already been answered.

If your question hasn't been answered or you have suggestions or comments, feel free to contact the Treasurer-Tax Collector by submitting a contact form.

Buyer Beware!

All parcels offered at public auction are sold “AS IS”. NO WARRANTY IS EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED in any manner regarding property sold at the public auction, including, but not limited to, the following examples: no claims are made to guarantee access to, or ability to obtain building permits for, any of the parcels involved in the sale. Prior to bidding it is your responsibility to adequately research properties as part of your due diligence so you know what you are buying.

The County assumes no liability for any other possible liens, encumbrances or easement, recorded or not recorded. Lack of adequate research may result in the purchase of unusable property, with no entitlement to a refund. ALL SALES ARE FINAL.

The Sutter County Treasurer/Tax Collector conducts the sale of “Tax Defaulted Property Subject to Power to Sell” pursuant to provisions of the California Revenue and Taxation Code, and with the written approval of the Sutter County Board of Supervisors. The sale of these properties should not, in any way, be equated to real estate sales by licensed salespersons, brokers, or realtors. The County of Sutter is not liable for the failure of any device that is not owned, operated, and managed by the county, which prevents a person from participating in any sale. “Device” includes, but is not limited to, computer hardware, a computer network, a computer software application, and a computer Web site. The County of Sutter assumes no liability for any possible liens, encumbrances or easements, recorded or not recorded.


  • How do I participate in the tax sale auction?

    Instructions and requirements to participate in the auction process can be found at:

  • Can I obtain title to a property on the tax sale list by paying the delinquent taxes prior to the tax sale date?

    No. Legal title to a tax-defaulted property subject to the Tax Collector's power to sell can be obtained only by becoming the successful bidder at the tax auction.

  • How do I find a property I'd like to bid on at the tax sale?

    While we try to give all possible assistance in helping prospective purchasers to pinpoint a property location, vacant land usually has no street (situs) address. Its approximate geographic location can be determined through the use of county Assessor plat maps and perhaps, a map book. Exact boundary lines of a property can be determined only by a survey of the property initiated at the purchaser's expense. Improved properties frequently (but not always) will bear a situs (street) address. The Assessor's plat maps may be downloaded from the website.

    Physical inspection of the property is recommended by the Tax Collector’s Office prior to your purchase. The County of Sutter makes no guarantee, expressed or implied, relative to the title, location, or condition of the properties for sale, nor do we make any assurances that the improvements, which may be shown on the tax assessment roll, exist at the time of your purchase.

  • Are mobile homes, equipment and other personal property located on the parcel part of the sale?

    No, Any personal property, such as mobile homes or equipment on the property, is not a part of the sale.

  • When does the right to redeem (pay the taxes) a tax-defaulted property subject to the power to sell cease?

    The right to pay the taxes in full to avoid the sale of the property ceases at the close of business, 5:00 p.m., on the last business day prior to the sale.

  • How can I determine what use I can make of a tax sale property before I purchase it?

    No expressed or implied warranty is given with respect to the parcels, and they are sold on an “AS IS” basis. Bidders are responsible for knowing what they are purchasing. Consult the zoning department of any city within which a property lies or the County Planning department for parcels located in the unincorporated areas (i.e. not lying within a city boundary) regarding use of the parcel. Examine the county records for any recorded easements on a property. You can also order a title search report from a local title insurance company.

  • How soon can I take possession of a property after purchase at the tax sale?

    The successful bidder may generally take possession after making payment in full, complying with any conditions set forth between the tax collector and the successful bidder, and after the tax deed to purchase the property has been recorded. Successful purchasers should contact their attorney for information regarding possession. Most title companies will not insure title on properties sold at public auction for at least one (1) year after the tax deed has been recorded. Legal action to challenge a tax sale must be commenced within one (1) year of the tax recording date.

  • Do liens or encumbrances on a tax-defaulted property transfer to the new owner after purchase of the property at a tax sale?

    Chapter 7, Section 3712 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code States: The deed conveys title to the purchaser free of all encumbrances of any kind existing before the sale, except:

    a) Any lien for installments of taxes and special assessments which installments will become payable upon the secured roll after the time of the sale.

    b) The lien for taxes or assessments or other rights of any taxing agency which does not consent to the sale under this chapter.

    c) Liens for special assessments levied upon the property conveyed which were, at the time of the sale under this chapter, not included in the amount necessary to redeem the tax-defaulted property, and, where a taxing agency which collects its own taxes has consented to the sale under this chapter, not included in the amount required to redeem from sale to the taxing agency.

    d) Easements constituting servitude upon or burdens to the property; water rights, the record title to which is held separately from the title to the property; and restrictions of record.

    e) Unaccepted, recorded, irrevocable offers of dedication of the property to the public or a public entity for a public purpose, and recorded options of any taxing agency to purchase the property or any interest therein for a public purpose.

    f) Unpaid assessments under the Improvement Bond Act of 1915 (Division 10 (commencing with Section 8500) of the Streets and Highways Code) which are not satisfied as a result of the sale proceeds being applied pursuant to Chapter 1.3 (commencing with Section 4671) of Part 8.

    g) Any federal Internal Revenue Service liens which, pursuant to provisions of federal law, are not discharged by the sale, even though the tax collector has provided proper notice to the Internal Revenue Service before that date.

    h) Unpaid special taxes under Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982 (Chapter 2.5, commencing with Section 53311, or Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code) that are not satisfied as a result of the sale proceeds being applied pursuant to Chapter 1.3 (commencing with Section 4671) of Part 8.

    A title search initiated at the prospective purchaser’s expense should reveal any liens or encumbrances on a property in the tax sale.

  • How is the minimum price on a property offered at a tax sale determined?

    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 plus costs. The minimum bid on a parcel may be set at a greater amount at the Tax Collector's discretion.

  • Is a tax sale publicly advertised?

    Yes. State law dictates that notice of a tax sale must be published once a week for three successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation. A list of available properties will be published in the local Appeal-Democrat three times, once weekly, one month prior to the auction.

  • What are the foreclosure and eviction processes and will the county handle these processes for a fee?

    No, the county does not handle the foreclosure or the eviction process. The property is sold "as is" and buyers assume all ownership responsibilities.

  • Is property purchased in a tax sale eligible for title insurance?

    Most title companies will not insure title for one year after the recording of the tax deed. Quiet Title action may be needed.

  • Under what circumstances can the former owner challenge the validity of the auction?

    Generally, Sections 177 and 3725 et. seq. of the Revenue & Taxation Code limit the time to commence an action to one year from the recording of the tax deed.

  • What happens if I am the successful bidder but decide that I don't want the property after all?

    Be sure you want the property before you bid. ALL SALES ARE FINAL AND THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO REFUNDS. If you default, under California State Law, the county cannot resort to the second highest bidder and will be required to take legal action against you. Failure to consummate the sale within the specified time shall result in the forfeiture of any deposit made and all rights that the purchaser may have had with respect to the property. Failure to consummate the sale will also bar the bidder from participating in future tax sales in Sutter County for up to five years.


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