Repairs made during redemption period in Texas

6 Replies

I purchased a home from a sheriff tax sale in texas.  The home was abandoned by the owner.  It's not in a great area so it has been gutted by neighbors that like to take metal to the scrap yard to get a few dollars.  Anyway, the house claims a homestead exemption although the person hasn't lived there in about 4 years. 

My first question is does the homestead rule of 2 years still stand if the property was abandoned?  If not, how do I get it reduced?

My second question is what repairs can be made to make the house livable again.  I know structural but not cosmetic.  However, this will be a complete redo because the electrical and plumbing has been removed.  This is fine because I can bring everything up to code and get the work done cheap.

I don't imagine that the previous owner would ever come back but I want to be on the safe side. 

Thanks for your responses.

Not a question where you want to rely on posters on an internet forum.  Call a lawyer.  Well worth a couple of hundred bucks to be sure of the answer and have recourse to his malpractice insurance if he gives you the wrong answer.

Good point!  Thanks

Originally posted by @Ondrece Love:

I purchased a home from a sheriff tax sale in texas.  The home was abandoned by the owner.  It's not in a great area so it has been gutted by neighbors that like to take metal to the scrap yard to get a few dollars.  Anyway, the house claims a homestead exemption although the person hasn't lived there in about 4 years. 

My first question is does the homestead rule of 2 years still stand if the property was abandoned?  If not, how do I get it reduced?

My second question is what repairs can be made to make the house livable again.  I know structural but not cosmetic.  However, this will be a complete redo because the electrical and plumbing has been removed.  This is fine because I can bring everything up to code and get the work done cheap.

I don't imagine that the previous owner would ever come back but I want to be on the safe side. 

Thanks for your responses.

 First question, is YES. If it homestead regardless of condition or occupancy, they get the full two years. The only way to get it reduced, is find the prior owner offer them some money to sign a quit claim deed on the property.

Your second is a grey area for Dallas (liberal Judges). According to the tax code, you can recover you cost associated with the purchase, upkeep, maintenance of the home and any HOA dues paid. What the code doesn't specify is what exactly the limitations are. So, I would in my opinion try and complete your first desired task of shortening the redemption period by getting a quit claim deed.

Once you obtain that, then you have a guarantee that the prior owner won't file for redemption.  (Note to self: edit my blog post "Winning & Losing @ Texas Tax Auctions.") I tried to cover several scenarios about tax sales, but there is so much ground it will take several posts.

But, thanks for my next blog idea, their are pitfalls if you decide to rehab. Keep every receipt, including those for contractors. Make sure they itemize their receipts. Do not go all out, just do enough to bring the house up to code, and pass inspections. This will save you if you do not get the signed deed.  Then in 2 years go back in and remodel to make the home attractive to buyers. That will be when you put in Granite countertops and hardwood flooring.

Just an FYI, if you only do what is required to bring to code, you should be able to recoup all your money plus the 25 or 50% interest. And prior owners who lost homes to taxes tend to wait until last possible moment to redeem, thinking they have enough money only to find out they don't. 

Richard, thank you for sharing this information.  I'll check out your blog as well.  I'll see if I can catch up to the owner first.  I was told by the firm that managed the foreclosure and sale that they could not locate the owner.  We'll see if I have better luck.  As you mentioned, I'll probably just do the minimum to bring things up to code and worry about the cosmetics later. 

If it was either Linebarger or Perdue, and they couldn't find them; I don't think you will have much luck. They are both really good at tracking down people.

It was Linebarger

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