Getting Your Home Back After a Property Tax Sale in Georgia

You can redeem your home (pay money to get it back) in Georgia if you lose it in a property tax sale.

If you don’t keep up with the property taxes on your Georgia home, you could lose it at a tax sale. After the sale, you will get a chance to buy back the home (called "redeeming" the home) within a certain period of time. If you don't redeem during this period (called a "redemption period"), you’ll lose your opportunity to reclaim it.

Tax Sales in Georgia

In Georgia, any overdue property taxes automatically become a lien on your home. If you don’t pay the amount due, the sheriff may hold a nonjudicial tax sale (the most common type of tax sale in Georgia) and sell the home to a new owner. (For details on the tax sale process in Georgia, see  What Happens If I Don't Pay Property Taxes in Georgia.)

Redeeming Your Home After a Tax Sale in Georgia

After the tax sale, you get 12 months to reimburse the purchaser for the amount paid at the sale (plus other amounts) and reclaim your home. This is the redemption period.

The Purchaser Must Foreclose Your Right of Redemption

To obtain ownership of the home, the purchaser must wait for 12 months after the sale and then foreclose your right of redemption by giving you a written notice that the right to redeem will expire on a certain date. You can redeem up until the expiration date given in the notice (generally around 30 days after the notice). This means that you get at least a year to redeem, perhaps quite a bit longer, depending on when the purchaser from the tax sale decides to take steps to terminate your right of redemption (Ga. Code Ann. § 48-4-46).

How Much You'll Have to Pay to Redeem

To redeem your home, you’ll have to pay:

  • the amount the purchaser paid for the property at the tax sale
  • a premium of 20% for the first year or fraction of a year which has elapsed between the sale date and the redemption date (and 10% for each year or fraction of a year thereafter)
  • any taxes the purchaser paid on the property after the sale, and
  • any special assessments on the property (Ga. Code Ann. § 48-4-42).

If you don’t redeem until more than 30 days after the notice giving the redemption deadline, you also have to pay the sheriff's cost for serving you the notice and publishing the notice in a newspaper (Ga. Code Ann. § 48-4-42).

Reducing Your Tax Liability Before the Sale

While you can redeem your home after a tax sale in Georgia, it is usually a good idea to take action prior to getting behind on your property taxes to make them more affordable. You could, for example:

Georgia’s Tax Sale Laws

To review the statutes that govern redeeming your home after a tax sale in Georgia, go to Title 48, Chapter 4, Article 3, § § 48-4-40 through 48-4-48 of the  Georgia Code.

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