I just purchased a Tax Deed from Brown County Texas. What's next?

14 Replies


I hope you are well.  I was just the winning bid on a tax sale in Brown county TX.  I have paid.  Would anyone be able to offer advice as to the next steps I should take?  The person when I paid was not very helpful and didn't want to answer any of my questions.  Are there steps I can take to make sure they are doing the necessary paperwork?  Only thing I received was a Escrow Receipt that states I paid the taxes, property description, and owner name & address.  Should I get any other documents?  Thank you so much for anyone who can offer me some advice.

Normally it will take about a month to get the deed.

You may want to get insurance.

You may want to check and see if it is occupied and see what the occupant wants to do.

Do they want to stay or go?   Do you want them to stay or go.

You may want to secure the property...for example if it is vacant, change the locks.

If there are any hazardous, safety, or preservation issues that need addressed you can start addressing those.


Then decide what you want to do with the property.  Typically it will be 2 years before you can resale if the buyer is using financing...or if you want to resale for cash and without title insurance if you can find a buyer willing to do that, then you could turn it....but the redemption period would still apply to the new buyer and probably good to add this to the contract.

Of course all this stuff you want to run by your attorney....and get their blessing.

Is there a redemption period where the previous owner can pay you off and recover the property? If so, find out how long that is so you have some idea of how long you'll need to potentially sit on it. The length of the redemption period varies a lot by state. Here in Georgia it's 12 months but I believe it's 24 months in TX.

Originally posted by @Bruce Lynn :

Was Brown County online or did you attend the sale in person?

Thanks for all your tips. I attended in person. Would you know what type of insurance policy to put? I have real reservation about going to the property to talk with the people. It's over an acre and it appears they live in a large camper behind the mobile home associated with the property. You know Texas with guns and whatnot. I was born and raised in Texas.

Side question, do you know if there's any additional process I need to take if there was a death certificate for the last owner of the deed?

I always just go in nice and friendly.....I don't think anyone got shot for being nice and friendly....might not want to surprise people though.   Go in with the positive attitude....hello....I just wanted to check in on you and tell you the good news.....I'm not going to raise your rent for the next six months to $1000/month.....their response will likely be ....$1000 a month, what are you talking about, we only pay $300....bingo...now you know what they're paying, because you want them to pay it to you.   Then act shocked and ask to see their lease....either they don't have one, or if they do, it will tell you the end date.   Now bingo you know if they have a lease or not, lease amount, and the end date, and who it is leased too.   Take pictures of the lease so you have all the info.

If they don't have a lease and you want them to stay and pay you something then get all their info so you can write them a new month to month lease for the next two years and so they know where and when to pay the lease....or if you just want them gone and no income, then you can ask them to leave and if they don't file for eviction.   Be nice and friendly....lots easier to get people to comply when you give them options.  Too often I hear people want to go in guns a blazing and evict people.   Why evict if you can get them to pay rent and perhaps get them to take care of the property?

To me doesn't matter if you have a death certificate?  Almost everyone has heirs that have a right to the property and a right to redeem.  Probably won't, but they have the right...they would just have to do some work to prove it is their property, however it is not theirs today.  It is yours.  No telling who is living there now.  Could be squatters, could be relatives, friends, or who knows.

If you don't want to go knock on their door.....you could do something like fix the gate, or put up no trespassing /POSTED signs.   They may then come talk to you to see what you are doing....or maybe you want to get the property mowed or whatever.  Do something that helps you, but will make them wonder and know you are the owner.

@Brown Malo

Was this a sheriff's tax auction on the courthouse steps?

The county will send you a deed in about a month. You only get a receipt the day of the sale. In Texas there is a redemption period. Two years if owner occupied; six months if not owner occupied. You can check the county tax records, if you see a homestead exemption you are in for two years. You are advised not to make any large improvements during the redemption period. If the previous owner decides to redeem, you will loose the value of improvements. The only exception are repairs to stabilize the property. ie New roof if it is leaking. During the redemption period you can charge rent to whomever is living in the property including homestead owner. If they refuse to pay the county can help fast track the eviction, pre-covid. As others have said, approach the occupant and explain what has happened and go from there.

Originally posted by @Arnie Abramson :

i will be happy to help you.  We go through this every month.   As is usually the case, in Texas there are no short answers to questions.  Always better to converse if possible.  Are you still in Texas or did you go back home? 

I am in Texas.  I need to update my profile.  

If there was a death, there is not an owner (alive) with a homestead exemption. So this means its 6 months before you get a sheriff's deed. That is if they are on top of things. You will probably NOT be able to get a title policy for some time. Maybe owner financing might be the thing to do. Maybe get the heirs, if they live there, to sign a release of right of redemption for $500, $1000 or maybe they will just leave. You never know until you talk with someone at the property.

Personally, I would send them a letter asking the people that are living in the house to contact me. If they do, great. Let them know that you bought the house, but they can stay if they want to rent the home. Otherwise send them a 30 day notice to vacate. If they want to stay, set up a time to bring them a lease and collect some rent.

I agree, go in friendly. If they are not, then you decide to keep being nice or evict immediately. Either way, they are not paying and probably have not been paying for some time otherwise they would NOT have lost the house. I would normally get rid of the people that are in the house.

@Brown Malo

HOA fees will revert to you as of the date of the sale. You may also be responsible for past-due fees if the HOA put a lien on the house. The auction only clears the tax lien. I got stuck with a weed abatement lien. Fortunately I was able to get the city to forgive the lien.

If the property is occupied you can have them pay rent during the redemption period. That is what I did. The current occupant agreed to sign a 6 month lease. At the end of the lease we sold the property back to the renter with owner financing.