If you’ve lost your home to a tax sale in Missouri, you may be able to reclaim your property by “redeeming” it. (To redeem, you have to catch up on the delinquent taxes plus various other amounts.) However, if you miss the deadline to redeem, you won’t get another chance to get your home back in this manner.
In parts of Missouri, the county collector will sell your home at a public auction to the highest bidder if you become delinquent on your real property taxes. (To get details on tax sales in Missouri, see What Happens If I Don't Pay Property Taxes in Missouri.)
If you lose your home to this type of tax sale in Missouri, you typically get some time in which to reclaim it, by paying a certain amount (Mo. Ann. Stat. § 140.340). This is called “redeeming” the home. (The time frame during which you can redeem is called a “redemption period.") If you don’t redeem, the purchaser from the auction can get a deed (title) to your home (Mo. Ann. Stat. § § 140.405, 140.420).
General right to redeem. In Missouri, you can ordinarily reclaim your home within one year after the tax sale and up until the purchaser gets the deed to your home -- so long as the home sells on the collector's first or second sale attempt (Mo. Ann. Stat. § 140.340; Wetmore v. Berger, 188 S.W.2d 949 (Mo. 1945)).
Your right to redeem if the home doesn’t sell at a first or second tax sale. If the home doesn’t sell at a first or second sale, then the collector will attempt to sell it at a third tax sale. When the home sells at a third tax sale, you get 90 days to redeem the home (Mo. Ann. Stat. § 140.250).
No right to redeem after a subsequent sale. If no one buys the property at the first, second, or third tax sale, but it does sell at a subsequent offering, there is no redemption period (Mo. Ann. Stat. § 140.250).
Some homeowners get additional time to redeem. Minors, people who are incapacitated, and disabled persons may redeem the home within one year after the disability ends (Mo. Ann. Stat. § 140.350). This means that if you have a mental or physical disability that prevents you from managing your finances, you get a year in which to redeem once the disability is cured. For example, if your home is sold at a tax sale while you're in a coma, then you'll be able to redeem in the one-year period after you wake up.
After the sale, you’ll receive notice about your right to redeem.
When you’ll get notice if a purchaser buys the home at a first or second tax sale. Before the purchaser requests a deed to your home, and at least 90 days before the redemption period expires, the purchaser must send you a notice by first class and certified mail about your right to redeem (Mo. Ann. Stat. § 140.405; Sneil, LLC v. Tybe Learning Center, Inc., 370 S.W.3d 562 (Mo. banc 2012)).
When you’ll get notice if a purchaser buys the home at a third sale. If the property was sold at a third sale, the purchaser must send the redemption notice within 45 days of the sale. The 90-day redemption period begins when the purchaser mails this notice (Mo. Ann. Stat. § 140.405).
You can redeem the home by paying the county collector:
While Missouri law often permits a former owner to redeem a home after a tax sale, it is usually smart to take action before you fall behind in your property taxes, to make them more affordable. For example, you could:
To read the statutes that discuss property tax sales and redeeming your home after such a sale in Missouri, go to Title X, Chapter 140 of the Missouri Revised Statutes.