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“For Sale” Signs on Property

Putting “for sale” signs on tax sale properties comes up often. Today, I received a question from someone who had been given a price quote by the State, planned to pay the full quoted price, and would receive a tax deed. Her question was, “Can I immediately put a sign up indicating I will own this property soon, and asking people to contact me if they are interested?”

There are several reasons why she cannot, and SHOULD not, put up such a sign until AFTER she has her deed.

  • It is not her property until she actually receives the tax deed. If she puts up a sign, she is trespassing and could be subject to criminal prosecution.
  • Just because she is willing to pay the quoted price does not mean she will get the deed. Taxpayers sometimes redeem right before the deed is signed by the Governor. That happens because the State is legally obligated to notify the former owner before the tax deed is signed, to give them the chance to redeem before that happens.
  • Shining a spotlight on a good property might cause a vulture investor to buy up the taxpayer’s rights and redeem it from the State. The lady who asked for the price quote will lose her deal. Laying low is the best policy, until she has that deed.

Another person’s “sign” question had to do with posting a property as “No Trespassing” and if that were enough to establish possession. Answer: It is an indication of possession, but is not enough all by itself. If you do not want to get an ejectment order, do as many things as you can to take possession. Rent the property out, even if just for garage sales or growing turnip greens. Put up “For Sale” signs. You don’t have to actually sell it to anyone who asks. Keep the grass cut or the frontage mowed. Put out survey stakes approximately along the property line, every 10 or 12 feet, with orange flagging on them. Put your phone number on a No Trespassing sign. The thing about possession is that it is supposed to alert people there is a “new Sheriff in town” and they should ask questions if they are the former Sheriff.

Remember, if you have a question, you can always write. If it’s something I think might interest other people without giving away any of your tactics or secrets or identify, I might make a blog article about it.

8 thoughts on ““For Sale” Signs on Property

  1. Mrs. Evans, what about the scenario where there is a parcel listed in the state inventory that was originally sold in 2017 (2016 tax) but the tax certificate purchaser has passed away (in year 2) and now the state is now showing the parcel in their inventory? The tax record says tax deed due 5/2020. If I were to wait until then to purchase from the state, would I get a tax deed or because the original purchaser died, would that change things? Would you have to notice both the property owner and the first tax certificate purchaser’s heirs?Thanks for any input!

    1. The only way it got back on the state inventory is if the prior purchaser (or his estate) failed to pay a subsequent year’s taxes. If you buy from the state, you will not get a tax deed, because that three years runs from the most recent tax sale, not from the oldest tax sale. Notice to vacate should be given to the prior deed owner. The prior investor’s heirs should be given notice to vacate if they actually took possession and held it, but not otherwise.

    2. You will get a tax deed 3 years after the most recent tax sale. If you get it now you will get a tax certificate and can surrender it to the Probate Judge after 5/2020 and receive a tax deed. There is a VERY small fee. Tactically, it is sometimes better to get a deed signed by the probate judge rather than signed by the Governor (if you get it from the state) because there are evidence issues involved.

      In a Quiet Title lawsuit, all prior owners AND tax sale owners must be noticed and joined in the lawsuit.

      In an Ejectment lawsuit, only prior deed holders (but not certificate holders) unless a certificate holder has taken physical possession. That’s just my opinion. There is no statute or appellate court guidance. If you can eject all of them easily, go ahead and do it. If not, get just the deed holders.

      Yes, notice will have to be to heirs if the prior owner passed away. Please download my free article about “Who Are the Heirs” in order to figure that out. It’s not as clear cut as people think.

  2. some 1 showed me amended redemption statute that gives possession to proposed redemptioner who pays only probate judge – p.redemptioner gets till end of next tax year to pay 4 improvements – if not paid then p.redemptioner loses right 2 property – if a proposed redemptioner who is not the owner loses their property rghts this way does an owner still get another 3 years to redeem?

    1. Howard, it’s complicated. You know I normally answer all the questions I can, but this is too much to put in a blog comment. I do have 3-hour class that explains ALL of the 2020 tax sale changes (there are many) and tells you how to prepare, how to take advantage of the changes, etc. There are quite a few wrinkles to the redemption changes.It’s at https://taxsales-alabama.com/product/2020/

  3. Hi Denise. I have a tax deed (received November 2019) for land. How do I take possession and can the owner redeem?

    1. It is very fact specific. If you want to call me, we can discuss.

  4. Thank you so much. I will call Wednesday.

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