Getting Your Home Back After a Property Tax Sale in Texas

If you lose your Texas home in a tax sale, you can still get it back by redeeming it. Learn how.

When you don’t pay your property taxes in Texas, the taxing authority can foreclose on your home and sell it to a new owner. You do, however, get the opportunity to save your home both before and after the sale. This is called “redeeming” the home. If you don't redeem, you’ll lose your home permanently.

How Texas Tax Foreclosures Work

If you get behind on your real property taxes in Texas, the taxing authority may initiate a foreclosure by filing a lawsuit in court. The court will enter a judgment and the home will be sold to pay off your tax debt. If no one bids on your home at the sale (or no one bids a sufficient amount), the county gets the home. (To get details on tax foreclosures in Texas, see What Happens If I Don't Pay Property Taxes in Texas.)

Your Right to Redeem Before the Sale

In Texas, you can pay off the overdue amounts to “redeem” the home before the sale takes place. This will release the tax lien that exists on the home and stop the foreclosure (Tex. Tax Code § 33.53).

How much you’ll have to pay to redeem before the sale. To redeem before the sale, you’ll have to pay the amount of the judgment. This will include taxes, interest, penalties, and costs (Tex. Tax Code § § 33.43, 33.48).

Your Right to Redeem After the Sale

Some states, including Texas, give you the right to redeem after the sale and buy your home back. In Texas, there is a two-year redemption period for residential homestead properties and agricultural properties. Other types of properties have a 180-day (six-month) redemption period (Tex. Tax Code § 34.21).

The post-sale redemption period starts when the deed is filed in the county records (Tex. Tax Code § 34.21).

How much you’ll have to pay to redeem if someone buys your home at the sale. To redeem your home from someone who purchases it at the sale, you’ll have to pay:

  • the amount the purchaser bid for the property
  • the amount of the deed recording fee
  • the amount the purchaser paid for taxes, penalties, interest, and costs on the property, and
  • a redemption premium of 25% if you redeem during the first year of the redemption period or 50% if you redeem during the second year of the redemption period (Tex. Tax Code § 34.21).

This means that if you wait until after the sale to redeem, you’ll have to pay more than if you redeemed before the sale.

How much you’ll have to pay to redeem from the county. If the county gets the home at the sale and the property has not been resold, you’ll have to pay the lesser of:

  • the judgment amount, or
  • the fair market value of the property (as specified in the judgment), plus the deed filing fee and costs (Tex. Tax Code § 34.21).

How much you’ll have to pay to redeem if the county has resold the home. If the county got the home at the sale and has since resold it to a new owner, you must pay:

  • the amount the purchaser paid for the property
  • the amount of the deed recording fee
  • the amount the purchaser paid for taxes, penalties, interest, and costs on the property, and
  • a redemption premium of 25% if you redeem during the first year of the redemption period or 50% if you redeem during the second year of the redemption period (Tex. Tax Code § 34.21).

Steps You Can Take to Reduce Your Taxes Before the Tax Foreclosure

Even though you can redeem your home after a Texas tax foreclosure, in most cases, it is better to take action before this happens to try to make your taxes more affordable. For example, before you fall behind in your taxes you could:

How to Find Texas’ Tax Foreclosure Laws

To locate the statutes governing Texas tax foreclosures and your right to redeem the home, go to Chapter 34 § § 34.01 through 34.23 of the Texas Tax Code.

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