Research before buying Tax Deed Property
Tax Deed Properties in Arkansas.
What research should I do before purchasing Tax Deed property in Arkansas?
The Commissioner of State Lands, John Thurston, strongly urges potential buyers to research all properties at the county level before purchasing:
- Determine the location and size of the parcel; and
- Check for liens, mortgages, and other taxes or assessments that may be due.
Sometimes you can access these records online; however, many counties in Arkansas do not yet have all of their records online. In this case, you will have to call or visit the county records clerk, or contact a local title company.
The Commissioner of State Lands (COSL) does not guarantee that the property you are buying through public auction or post auction sales will have marketable title, access from a public road, or that the property even exists. Therefore, all buyers are encouraged to search the county property records, or contact a local title company, before bidding.
Mortgages and Liens
Properly filed and recorded liens, mortgages, and other encumbrances are not extinguished by tax sales, unless the holder of such liens or mortgages has received proper notification of the sales as required by Arkansas state law.
Potential purchasers should consider consulting a local title company to perform a title search. This will reveal all properly recorded liens and encumbrances.
What is so important about the legal description of tax delinquent land?
Purchasers of tax delinquent land need to be aware of the problems related to the use of insufficient legal descriptions to describe tax delinquent land. If the legal description is an incomplete description then the sale is subject to being declared invalid if it is challenged.
Arkansas courts review the sufficiency of a legal description by determining whether the tax deed contains a description sufficient to permit the accurate location of the property. Partial descriptions or descriptions that do not provide enough information are generally insufficient.
Location of Property
How can purchasers find out where the property is located?
The Commissioner of State Lands maintains a link to the tax assessor’s property cards online. This can be found under the auction catalog, by clicking on the parcel number. Physical addresses may be listed on the property cards maintained by the assessor.
It may be necessary for prospective purchasers to research public information, such as plat maps within the county assessor’s office. The State Land Surveyor’s Office also maintains a retrieval search online.
During and After the Sale
The Commissioner of State Lands advises buyers to seek legal consultation in order to establish stronger title to properties purchased through a tax sale. The Commissioner cannot guarantee title to these properties.
In most cases, buyers of tax delinquent land will be required to obtain a decree of confirmation and quiet title before title insurance can be issued for the property. Buyers of tax delinquent land should be prepared to incur additional legal expenses in order to gain clear title to the property.
To Confirm and Quiet Title
Establishing a clear title to properties purchased through tax sales is accomplished by filing a Complaint to Confirm and Quiet Title. This is a complex legal process consisting of an action filed with the County Circuit Court where the property is located. Arkansas state law has very specific requirements for these types of actions. Please consult an Arkansas Real Estate attorney who has experience in this area to assist you with confirming your title.
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Published on: Jul 20, 2015
Last updated: January 5, 2018 at 8:39 am
If you have purchased tax delinquent (tax deed) property in Arkansas and need legal assistance to confirm or quiet your title, please contact Deborah at The Hardin Law Firm, PLC.
Call: (501) 247-1830 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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SERVING: Cabot, Beebe, Ward, Searcy, Jacksonville, Lonoke County, White County, Faulkner County, and other central Arkansas areas. We also routinely serve out-of-state property owners, who require representation in Arkansas.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this web site is intended to convey general information. It should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. It is not an offer to represent you, nor is it intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Laws and procedures can and do change. You should consult a real estate attorney licensed in your area.