PA Tax Upset Sale: Can I sell/assign my winning bid?

3 Replies

I made my first upset tax sale purchase 2 weeks ago in Columbia County PA. A nice 1.1 acre wooded lot with a creek right off the highway (with a fire-damaged house) for $3500.  It came with a $4500 PA public assistance lien and a $12.5k judicial lien.  Before you congratulate me, know that I am a reluctant real estate investor -- I only attended and bid on the property because I am the judgment creditor on the $12.5k lien. I had been tipped off about the sale by some investors who tried to low-ball purchase my lien prior to the sale.  My hope was that someone else would buy the lot at the sale with my lien intact and pay me off.  When that didn't happen, I bid knowing that my lien had pushed out the other bidders at this sale but would be worthless at the next tax sale. 

So since the sale I have already had two offers that would get me back my outlay plus a good chunk of the $12.5k.  I wouldn't mind flipping this without actually taking title.  I know that a successful bidder at a sheriff's sale can assign his winning bid to a 3rd party and the Sheriff will amend the bill of sale so the title can be transferred directly from the foreclosure defendant to the assignee.  Do they allow this for tax claim sales -- can I sell/assign my bid & purchase receipt to another party and avoid owning this property myself?  Or would I have to wait until I have title recorded in my name to sell and transfer the property?

@Alex Wilson

Good question. I'm not sure. It's common for a buyer to sell the property to another buyer after the tax sale. Can't say I've dealt with an assignment situation after a tax sale. It might be legally doable but getting the Tax Claim Bureau to actually do it is another matter. 

Any thoughts @David Krulac ?

Disclaimer: While I’m an attorney licensed to practice in PA, I’m not your attorney. What I wrote above does not create an attorney/client relationship between us. I wrote the above for informational purposes. Do not rely on it for legal advice. Always consult with your attorney before you rely on the above information.

Update. There was no statutory provision that allowed me to assign my winning bid to a 3rd party.  The Tax Claim Bureau will only issue deed in my name.  Only then can I deed it to someone else.  I should have guessed the folks writing the statutes would make sure nobody bypasses paying real estate transfer taxes.  So a year later and no deed yet.  Apparently there was a Petition to Set Aside Tax Sale on one of the properties (not mine, thankfully) and it is the policy of Columbia County to wait until all cases from a tax sale are resolved before obtaining a blanket court Order to transfer all properties sold.  There was a motion hearing yesterday for that Order to be issued, hopefully there were no objections and it will not be long now.

Our gov working at its finest. 

Are you saying prior to the tax sale, you had not been notified from the county?  Was you lien on the land records prior to the foreclosure?