Have Tax Deed to an Abandoned Property, What's Next?

10 Replies

First time tax deed holder here, I recently purchased a tax deed to a property from the State of Alabama. There is a abandoned house on the property. Is there a certain period before I can access the property? Can I enter the home? Can I cut the grass and trim the hedges? What are my next steps in getting a title for the house?

Thank you,

Did you buy it at auction or did you buy it as an over the counter sale?  Often properties that are sold over the counter have already gone through the redemption period.

I would suggest that you go to county courthouse and ask them these questions.  

But as I understand it, you are required to safeguard the property, even during the redemption period.  This means you will need to keep the grass mowed.  Since the property is abandoned you will also need to keep the windows and doors boarded up during the redemption period if one exists on that piece of property.

I was looking into an over the counter sale here in Tarrant County.  I discovered that homeless people had torn the boarding off the back door and was living in the house.  They are totally trashed the interior of the house, knocked holes in the walls and stolen all the fixtures and copper piping.

If the property does have a remaining redemption period I would not do any repairs to the house until it expires. If the ex-owners redeem the property you can normally recover your costs for safeguarding the house. But you normally will not receive the costs on any repairs you make to house during this period.

But as I stated, I would go to the county courthouse and inquire as to the status of that property as to redemption period and what you are required to do during this period.

Alabama has somewhat unique laws with tax deeds.

Denise Evans knows this stuff cold, I can’t tag her....I believe she does have some you tube stuff on this, should be easy to find, or do a colleague request to her....she is Very helpful to newbies at this.  But, if in redemption period, and if redeemed, the previous owner Does have to pay you for certain improvements like preservation, but not necessarily rehab. 

It would be well advised to talk to someone and learn Exactly what the rules are, even if you need to pay a local attorney for an hour or so of time.

@Edward Seward Thank you, good information. It is an over the counter sale will the State of Alabama Revenue. The county courthouse had a tax auction. Nobody purchased it, so the county sent it to the State of Alabama. The tax lien has been there for 6 years. As for the abandoned house, some of the windows are broken and front door is open. Grass is waist high.

Then I would mow the grass before the city or county mows it and charges you for the mowing.  I would also buy some plywood to cover the broken windows and the doors.  

When I was talking about repairs I was referring to rehab type repairs.  Any repair that can be demonstrated to fall under safe guarding the property should be repaid by the home owner if he redeems the property.

I would follow Wayne's advice and ask Denise Evans.

@Donta' Collins , I wanted to do the same thing that you have just done. I would love to chat with you about how you did it. I went to the State of Alabama website and asked for the price of a property that they had for 10 years and did not hear back from them. Let's become colleagues so that I can learn from you.


If abandoned, can take possession immediately unless tax sale was void. Void tax sales happen when auction name is not name of real owner. Example include real owner died before auction or got foreclosed on or sold before auction. I am THE expert on Alabama tax sales. Happy to provide answers to other questions if needed.