California Tax Deeds

Sale Type: Tax Deed Certificates
 Interest Rate: N/A
 Bid Method: Premium Bid
 Redemption Period: N/A
 Sale Date(s): Spring (Varies by County)
 State Statute(s): Div 1, Part 6,7,7.5
 Over-the-Counter: No
 State Website:

California State Overview

California uses a tax deed auction method to collect delinquent real property taxes. Tax sales in California are typically held in the early spring months, but this may vary depending on the particular counties. Registration is required to attend auctions, and must be completed prior to participating in the auction.  Most counties require registration at least 2 weeks or more prior to the date of the auction- and a required deposit is also quite common. The minimum bids are subject to a minimum price requirement, which is determined by the county prior to the sales day.

Many of the counties in California are holding their tax deed auctions on the online bidding site This is good and bad news depending on how you look at tax delinquent real property investing.  Some of the largest tax deed auctions occur in this state in Orange County, San Francisco County, and San Diego County. The L.A. County Tax Deed Sale is one of the most popular auctions in the world.

Most hold their sales in the Springtime, but can be held year round with sale dates being set by the individual county. Investors will need to register prior to the date of the sale. Auctions are conducted through an oral bidding process. The county determines the minimum bid on the properties.

Because of California code (CA GC6254.21), property owner names are usually not disclosed over the phone or on the internet. This may make research more difficult. Many California title companies are available and able to assist with this type of records and parcel data research.

California uses a Premium Bid method. The starting bid includes all delinquent taxes, penalties, and administrative cost and also may include the minimum selling price set by the county. The property is bid up until a high bid has been established. The top bidder receives the deed to the property. There are two other methods which are rarely used, the first is the “Sealed Bid” and second the “Agreement Sale”.

In California, the tax collector or treasurer will sell tax deeds to the winning bidder at the delinquent property tax sale.

  • Tax Sale Type: Tax Deed (Sec. 3708).
  • Contact: Tax collector or treasurer (Sec. 3371).
  • Bid Procedure: Premium bid/highest bidder (Sec. 3693 (a)).
  • Redemption Period: N/A (Sec. 3707).
  • Law: California Revenue and Taxation Code, Division 1, Part 6, “Tax Sales,” Part 7, “Redemption,” and Part 7.5, “Tax Certificates.”

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