And…Sold! For Unpaid Taxes. Can You Get Your House Back?

Foreclosure, Real Property, Right of Reinstatement, Tax Foreclosure

Not many people like paying their attorney, but nobody like paying taxes. Yet here in Georgia, our local government runs on property taxes. That is the main reason why Georgia law imposes severe penalties for failing to pay them.

In fact, not paying your property taxes could lead you to lose your home in foreclosure. Once that happens, many people want to know if there is any way they can get their home back.

Unpaid Taxes and Foreclosure

When you fail to pay your property taxes, the county tax commissioner automatically gains a lien against your property. Generally, a lien will prevent you from selling your property or borrowing money against it.

Once the tax collector has a lien against your property for the failure to pay taxes, there are two basic ways the tax collector can proceed: by way of nonjudicial foreclosure and sale (i.e., “Tax Sale”) or by judicial foreclosure.

Since nonjudicial foreclosure is faster, easier and cheaper than a judicial foreclosure, most tax sales are conducted by nonjudicial foreclosure.

A nonjudicial foreclosure involves following the statutory requirements for giving notice of the sale and ultimately, having the sheriff sell the property by way of a writ of execution.

Right of Redemption

In theology, “redemption” delivers you from sin. In law, it allows you to “buy back” or “repurchase” your foreclosed-upon home.

Once the property has been sold at a tax sale, in Georgia, the new owner does not automatically “get” the property. The purchaser at a tax sale must wait for 12 months and then must affirmatively act to cut-off your right to “redeem” (or buy back) your home.

Until you receive written notice after the 12 months, that the new purchaser is going to terminate your rights, you have the right to redeem the property. This means that you get at least a year (perhaps a bit more) to reimburse the purchaser for the amount paid at the sale (plus other amounts) and reclaim your home.

If you do not act within the 12 months or within the timeframe set by the notice (generally within 30 days), you will forever lose your right to redeem your home.

Protect Your Rights

If you are facing tax sale foreclosure, contact us. We are experienced real estate attorneys. We handle all aspects of real estate, including foreclosures. We have helped other folks avoid foreclosure, and we can help you, too. To schedule your free phone consultation, call us at: 770-888-7707Don’t wait until you lose your home. Call us today.

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