What is a tax deed sale?
Real property taxes are due each year, and are payable between the months of November of the tax year up to March 31st of the next year. Effective April 1st of each year, any unpaid real property taxes become delinquent property taxes. Each year, the county Tax Collector sells Tax Certificates for delinquent real property taxes on June 1st. The purchaser of a Tax Certificate is referred to as a Certificate-Holder. A Certificate-Holder, after waiting for at least two (2) years, will make application with the Tax Collector for the real property to be sold at public auction in order to be repaid the amount owed to them, plus interest. The Application for Tax Deed file is then transferred to the Clerk of the Circuit Court for processing and subsequent Tax Deed Sale. This process is governed by Title XIV, Ch. 197 of the Florida Statutes, and by FAC 12D-13.060, Florida Department of Revenue.
Frequently Asked Questions
In addition to the Clerk’s website, Tax Deed sales may be advertised in one of several different newspapers in Okaloosa County but are normally published in the Crestview News Bulletin. The Clerk of the Circuit Court is required by Florida Statute to advertise each sale once a week for four consecutive weeks prior to the public auction, Section 197.512(1), F.S. In addition, you can view the legal notice of any pending Tax Deed Sale on this website. You may also visit the Clerk of Circuit Court's office at the Courthouse Annex Extension.
Government liens and judgments (federal, state, county or municipal) survive the issuance of a tax deed and are satisfied to the fullest extent possible with any overbid monies from the sale. Government liens not satisfied in full survive the issuance of a tax deed and will remain against the property. Records can be researched on our Official records
The property owner or mortgage holder may redeem the property from the tax deed sale by paying the amount owed. The total redemption amount is collected/paid to the office of the Tax Collector. (Most of the properties advertised for sale will be redeemed and will not be auctioned.)
According to office policy, as the successful bidder you must remain until the auction is complete and then report to the Deputy Clerk who conducted the sale. You will be required to post a 5% or $200.00, whichever is greater, cash (or certified funds) deposit for each property you purchase. You will be given calculations for your total amount due. This total will include your bid amount plus the fees to record your Tax Deed. The total amount due must be brought back to the Clerk of Court's office no later than 10:00 a.m. of the business day following the sale. (Payment may only be made by cash or certified funds. Our office’s preferred payment method is certified funds.)
In order to participate in the sale, bidders must register on the site to get a Username and Password and place a valid deposit for your bids to be considered.
You will need to place a deposit in the amount of $200.00 or 5%, whichever is higher, (a $200 deposit will be sufficient for up to a $4,000 bid) for each item you anticipate winning at the sale.
If you are the successful bidder for property at a tax deed sale, full payment must be received by the Clerk's Office within 24 hours of the sale. Acceptable forms of payment are a wire transfer, cash, cashier's check or money order.
All properties sold at a tax deed sale qualify under "buyer beware". The purchase of a Tax Deed does not warrant or guarantee clear and marketable title. Note: Most title insurance companies require the property to go through a quiet title action for the property to be able to have title insurance issued on property purchased by Tax Deed. Consult your attorney for more information on Quiet Title actions.
It is highly recommended that you research the property(ies) prior to the sale day in order to understand what you are purchasing at the sale. You may wish to check for additional delinquent taxes and/or current taxes owed, government liens, zoning, restrictive covenants, etc. Remember, tax deed sales are “buyer beware”. Additionally, each sale may not include the current years’ taxes owed, and may not include all delinquent taxes owed. It is the bidder’s responsibility to check with the Tax Collector for information on additional years’ taxes which may due after the sale.
Section 197.542, F.S., states: "Any person, firm, corporation, or county that is the grantee of any tax deed under this law shall be entitled to the immediate possession of the lands described in the deed. If demand for possession is refused, the purchaser may apply to the circuit court for a writ of assistance upon 5 days' notice directed to the person refusing to deliver possession. Upon service of the responsive pleadings, if any, the matter shall proceed as in chancery cases. If the court finds for the applicant, an order shall be issued by the court directing the sheriff to put the grantee in possession of the lands." Consult your attorney for more information on writ of assistance actions.
If the property is not homestead property, the amount of the opening bid equals the total of unpaid taxes and interest, the Tax Collector’s administration fees, the Clerk of Circuit Court administration fees and expenditure fees required by Florida Statute to bring the property to delinquent tax sale. If the property is homestead property, one half of the assessed value from the tax roll is added to the above amounts for the total opening bid amount.
You should have your Tax Deed within 7 to 10 days from the sale date.
Overbid surplus funds are held by this office and are paid to satisfy any government lien(s) to the extent possible. Notices of Surplus Funds are mailed to all interested parties in accordance with ch. 197. After expiration of the claim period, either an assignment of claim priority is determined, and disbursements made, or, if no claims have been received, the funds (or any remaining balance thereof) are transferred to the State of Florida, Department of Revenue. In some cases, if priority is unable to be determined, an "interpleader action" must be brought before the judiciary for a court determination or declaratory judgment. All court costs for processing an interpleader action are debited from the surplus funds. Each online file contains specific overbid surplus fund information. Please review the online file
Tax certificate information can be obtained from the Tax Collector's Office located at 1250 N. Eglin Parkway, Suite 101, Shalimar, FL 32579. The phone number for the Tax Collector’s Delinquent Tax department is 850-651-7604.
SALE OF TAX CERTIFICATES FOR UNPAID TAXES (Section 197.432, F.S.):
Taxes become delinquent April 1st of each year. At that time, the Tax Collector begins preparing the certificate sale. A tax certificate is sold for all taxes not paid by June 1st. A tax certificate is a tax lien against the property. The certificate holder does not have any rights to the property. If no individual purchases a certificate on a piece of property at the June 1st sale, the County assumes the certificate. There are two types of tax certificates: individual and County. The owner or interested party may redeem the certificate at any time by paying to the Tax Collector the delinquent taxes and interest earned by the certificate holder. (Section 197.472, F.S.). The tax certificate has a life of seven years. (Section 197.482, F.S.).
If a certificate is not redeemed, the certificate holder may force the issue by making application for tax deed. A certificate must be two years old to be eligible for tax deed application. (For County held certificates, the Board of County Commissioners makes application for the tax deed). The application process must begin in the Tax Collector's office. The Tax Collector prepares the necessary paper work (which includes Tax Collector's certificate and legal description of property) and forwards it to the Clerk's office. The Clerk's office prepares the legal advertisement for the newspaper, the certified mailing of notices of the pending sale, the civil process to be served by the Sheriff's office, the calculation of the opening bid, answers questions from public, and waits for the sale day. The owner or interested party may redeem right up until the very last minute prior to the sale. All redemptions are made at the Tax Collector’s Office.
Go to Tax Deed Search Tax Deed Surplus List