FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
(1) Are there any pre-registration requirements for participating in the auction?
(2) How is the upset bidding conducted? Do I have to be present to participate in the upset bid auction or is it online? How much is an upset bid?
Auctions take place at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. The property is read out and an opening bid is given, and at that point anyone can bid the property up. There will be a 5% deposit required if you win the bid at the auction. You (or an authorized representative) need to be present in person to make a bid. There is no online bidding capability for tax foreclosure auctions. The final bid at sale remains open for 10 days. During that time, upset bids can be filed.
Upset bids must be filed in person at the Special Proceedings Desk at the Office of the Clerk of Court in the Mecklenburg County Courthouse (3rd Floor) (832 East 4th Street, Charlotte, NC; 704-686-0460). You will need to fill out an Upset Bid form as well as a Certification of Identity. On the forms, the “Plaintiff” is Mecklenburg County. The “Defendant” is the current owner. You’ll also need to list the Case Number. Both the current owner and case number information can be found under the Tax Foreclosure Properties listing on our webpage. Note that unless you have an attorney, you do not need to fill out any section on these forms where it asks for attorney information (NOTE: WE ARE NOT YOUR ATTORNEYS).
The minimum upset bid amount is 5% or $750.00 (whichever is greater). Certified funds or money orders should be made payable to the “Mecklenburg County Clerk of Court”. Cash is also accepted at the Clerk’s office. After 10 days have passed with no new upset bids, the bid is confirmed and the case is ready to be closed. If you do NOT end up being the high bidder, your deposit will be returned to you. If you WIN the bid but fail to close, you risk losing your deposit.
(3) When does the balance need to be paid and what form of payment do you require?
We prefer to close within two weeks of the conclusion of the final upset bid period. Payment will need to be in the form of certified funds, cash, or by wire.
(4) What liens and encumbrances are extinguished by the auction?
All mortgages, deeds of trust, judgments, liens, taxes, etc., will be extinguished as a result of the tax sale. Encumbrances such as easements, rights of way, and restrictions will remain in place. All properties are conveyed in “as is” condition.
(5) What sort of deed will be obtained if I’m the successful bidder?
Property is conveyed through a Commissioner’s Deed, which is a non-warranty deed. In conjunction with the governing statutes and the judgment obtained in the action, the property will pass free and clear of judgments, liens, etc., as described above.
(6) How can I obtain a list of properties that will be available at the next auction?
We update our website frequently. Please check back under the “Tax Foreclosure Properties” tab to see when sale dates are set for particular properties.
(7) How often are the auctions held?
There is no regularly set auction date/time. Each case is unique. When a particular property is in a position to be set for auction, the website will be updated to reflect the date of the sale (at least 20 days prior to the actual sale date).
(8) Can I obtain title insurance on properties purchased through a tax foreclosure?
It depends. The County is not responsible for obtaining a title insurance policy for a purchaser. Purchasers need to hire real estate attorneys to assist them in closings if they wish to obtain title insurance policies, and even then, there is no guarantee that title insurance commitments will be issued. Most title insurance companies are willing to issue a policy that is effective one year from the date of the recording of the Commissioner’s Deed. If you place a bid at an auction, however, you should have no expectation of being able to obtain a title insurance policy at closing. Failure to complete the closing for this (or any) reason will result in the forfeiture of your deposit.
NOTE: Tax Foreclosure Bidder Advisory
It is vital that all tax foreclosure tax sale auctions are free from collusion, bid rigging, and any other activity designed to suppress the final outcome of the auction. The expectation for tax foreclosure auctions is that free and open competition exists in bidding at all times. For the process to work, private individuals and organizations participating in the bidding process must do so independently. When competitors collude, or engage in bid rigging, they are subject to criminal prosecution by the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice, and/or local prosecution. The relevant North Carolina statute is G.S. 75-1, the Unfair Trade Practice Act (UTPA). This can be enforced by individuals; or by the NC Attorney General and the local District Attorney. Civil and criminal penalties are assessed for violations; criminal violations are a felony.