Tax Claim Bureau - Judicial Sale Questions and Answers

1.  What is the time/date/location of the next Public Judicial Sale?

The Judicial Sale is conducted in the Commissioners’ Conference Room, Third Floor, Courthouse Annex, Jim Thorpe, Pa., at 10:00 A.M.  (Time, date and location is subject to change)

Annual Sale:  November     *** Contact Bureau for Sale Date ***

  1. Where and when will the sale be advertised?

The sale date is advertised approximately one month prior to sale in the Carbon County Law Journal and The Times News.  The sale is advertised once in each publication.

  1. Is registration required to attend the sale?

Yes.  Registration Forms and Sale Lists are provided approximately one month prior to Judicial Sale date at the current cost of $5.00 in person or $7.00 by mail which includes shipping/handling (This cost is subject to change and may be confirmed by calling the office). Payment should be made payable to the Tax Claim Bureau and mailed to the Carbon County Tax Claim Bureau, Courthouse Annex, P.O. Box 37, Jim Thorpe, Pa., 18229.  Registration will only be accepted until one week prior to sale date without exception.  Please contact the Bureau for the deadline once the sale date is established.

  1. Once I receive the list, where can I obtain additional information on the size and location of the properties?

Information, such as dimensions, acreage, etc., pertinent to the respective property may be obtained through the County Assessment Department (570-325-5254).  The County Mapping Department may provide you with a detailed map reflecting the location of the property at your cost (570-325-8519).  Carbon County Geographical Information System is available at http://carbongis.maps.arcgis.com.  You may wish to contact the Borough or Township Zoning Officer for wetlands information.  Please consult a telephone directory for the telephone number of the Borough or Township Office.

  1. What type of bidding process is used?

Minimum Bids are established for each sale property.  The Bid includes Bureau Costs of record in addition to the Realty Transfer Tax (*), Recording Fee, Deed Preparation and Prothonotary Fee.  Auction bidding may be competitive due to the number of interested buyers.  Properties are sold to the highest Bidder.

* The Transfer Tax is equal to the Assessed Value multiplied by the Common Level Ratio Factor and 2% (1% Taxing Entities - 1% Commonwealth of PA).

  1. Will you allow purchases by mail?

No.  Bidders must attend the Judicial Sale to purchase properties.  However, a party presenting legal evidence of Power of Attorney or limited Power of Attorney on your behalf may purchase properties in your absence.

  1. What type of payment is required for purchase?

Sale payments are strictly Cash, Cashier’s Check, Certified Check or Money Order.  Personal or Business Checks are not acceptable.  If successful, the Purchaser must remit payment in full at the time the property is struck down.  You may not leave the sale proceedings to obtain additional funds.  Also, the Conditions of Sale and Certification Form must be completed at sale for each property purchased.

** Please note that Bidders with recorded real estate tax delinquencies within the County of Carbon are prohibited to purchase properties. **

  1. Will the sale be final?

All sales are final and no refunds will be made after the sale.  There is no redemption period for the former owner following the Judicial Sale.  However, the Bureau has experienced limited objections to Judicial Sales.  All objections are brought before the local Court of Common Pleas for decision.  In the event of litigation, you will need legal representation.

  1. Do I have clear title to the property purchased? 

The Bureau does not provide clear title nor will assist the Purchaser in obtaining clear title to any property purchased at sale.  It is strongly urged that you have a professional examination made of the title.  These properties are offered for sale by the Tax Claim Bureau without any guarantee or warranty whatsoever either as to structures upon the land, liens, title or any other matter.  The Bureau will sell the property as described on the dockets in the Carbon County Tax Claim Bureau and makes no representations or warranties as to the description, or even the existence of the property, nor will it make any survey on a property sold.  Also, the Bureau, its representatives, employees and Solicitor make no representations or warranties as to the state of the property or title.  You must seek your own legal counsel before and following purchase.

  1.  Will all other liens be cleared from the property as a result of the sale?

The Judicial Sale is a free and clear sale.  All back-taxes are divested.  Mortgages, Liens and Encumbrances are divested with the exception of an approximate one-year period prior to sale date.  However, certain Federal and State Liensmay not be divested at Judicial Sale.  For effect of liens or encumbrances specific to Judicial Sale, please consult your attorney or a title professional.

Annually, the Bureau contracts with an Abstract Company to conduct Title Searches for this type of sale.  Please be advised that the Judicial Sale may be contested if the Title Search failed to identify a Lien Holder.  In this case, the Sheriff cannot provide the mandated Personal Service if the Lien Holder is not identified.

  1. Where do I obtain information on liens or mortgages?

Contact the County Prothonotary’s Office, (570) 325-2481, and the County Recorder of Deeds Office, (570) 325-2651, to determine the existence of liens and/or judgments against the property of interest.

  1. Will I receive a document to verify the purchase?

Following the Judicial Sale, you will receive a Deed for the purchased property at a date pre-determined by statute.  In the event of a Mobile Home purchase, you will receive a Bill of Sale.

  1. When will the list of unsold properties be available?

Following the Judicial Sale, unsold properties are placed on a Repository List.  The “new” Repository properties will be available approximately 1-2 months after the Judicial Sale or as noted on the front of the Judicial Sale listing.   Please obtain and refer to the Repository Sale Questions & Answers Sheet for further detail.

  1. Is a copy of the state statutes available for purchase?

No. You can review the Pennsylvania Real Estate Tax Sale Law, Act 542, at any County Law Library in Pennsylvania and request copies at your cost.  Also, you may obtain a copy of the Act through your respective state legislator.

  1. If I have any other questions or legal concerns, may I call the Bureau?

No. All other questions should be directed to an attorney of your choice as Bureau staff cannot give legal advice.

UPDATED 5/4/17