Those with a mortgage typically have an escrow account that sets aside funds for their property taxes. When you finally pay off the principal balance on your mortgage, you may not realize that you have to set aside funds for your annual property tax obligations. When the bill comes due, you may not have the money in savings to pay it.
On the other hand, there are also scenarios where people have the resources to cover their tax obligations, but medical issues or international work opportunities leave them unable to resolve their own financial matters for some time. Usually, the state only acts after someone has become at least two years delinquent in tax payments based on their status on the last day of the year.
There are countless scenarios where otherwise responsible adults could find themselves at risk of losing their primary residence through a tax sale. If your home has already gone up for tax sale, can you still protect your interest in the property?
Owners have the right of redemption
Many counties in Pennsylvania call tax sales upset sales. The state sends notice, and owners have the option of paying their taxes in full to prevent the sale of their homes. Property owners should also receive notice advising them of the property’s sale after the upset sale.
It may seem hopeless when you open the mail and see the notice that local authorities recently sold your property at a tax sale. However, if you follow the right steps, you can potentially redeem the property.
The person who paid the tax bills and other costs at the upset sale won’t be the full owner until you fail to redeem the property. You have up to nine months after the sale to pay off the amount owed and redeem your property.
That window of time exists specifically to give you, the owner who fell behind on their taxes, an opportunity to fully redeem the property. Redemption after a tax sale will require that you pay the full amount due and a little bit extra to the individual who made the purchase at the tax sale. The state requires that the owner pay 10% interest on the price. You must deposit the funds in an escrow account and file a petition with the courts.
Provided that you properly follow this process, you can protect your interest in your home despite falling behind on taxes and having the local government list the property for sale to recover those tax payments. Learning more about what protects your investment in your primary residence will help you fight back when facing the loss of a property due to a tax sale.