Getting Your Home Back After a Property Tax Sale in Texas

If you lose your home due to delinquent Texas property taxes, you can get the property 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 the property both before and after the sale by redeeming it.

If you don't redeem, though, you’ll lose the place permanently.

How Property Tax Sales Work in Texas

After you become delinquent on your real property taxes in Texas, the taxing authority gets a lien on your home. It may then initiate a foreclosure by filing a lawsuit in court. The court will enter a judgment, and the property will be sold to a new owner. The proceeds from the sale pay off your tax debt.

If no one bids on your property at the sale—or no one bids a sufficient amount—the county generally gets the home. (To get details on tax foreclosures in Texas, see What Happens If I Don't Pay Property Taxes in Texas.)

How to Stop a Property Tax Sale: Redeem Before the Sale

In Texas, you can pay off the overdue amounts to "redeem" the home before the sale takes place. To redeem, you’ll have to pay the amount of the judgment, including taxes, interest, penalties, and costs. (Tex. Tax Code §§ 33.43, 33.48).

Redeeming will release the tax lien that exists on the property and stop the foreclosure. (Tex. Tax Code § 33.53).

How to Redeem the Property After a Tax Sale

Most states also let you redeem your home—that is, pay a specific amount to regain title—following a tax sale. How much you'll have to pay and how much time you have to do so varies by state.

Here’s a summary of the post-sale redemption laws in Texas.

How to Redeem If Someone Buys the Home at the Sale

In Texas, if someone purchases the home at the tax foreclosure sale, the redemption period is generally two years. This redemption period applies to residential homestead properties and land designated for agricultural use when the suit was filed. (Other types of properties have a 180-day 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).

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. You’ll also have to pay 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).

So, if you wait until after the sale to redeem, you’ll have to pay more than if you redeemed beforehand.

How to Redeem If the County Gets the Property

If the home doesn’t sell at the tax sale, it will be "struck-off" to the county, which means the county gets the property. The county will then try to sell the home to a new owner.

To redeem after the county gets the home at the sale—but hasn’t yet resold the property to a new owner—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 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 deed recording fee, and the amount the purchaser paid for taxes, penalties, interest, and costs on the property. Again, you’ll also have to pay 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).

How to Avoid a Property Tax Lien in the First Place

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 instance, before you fall behind in your taxes, you could:

  • research whether you meet the qualifications for a property tax abatement (like if you’re 65 years of age or older or you’re a disabled veteran, and you occupy the home as a residence homestead) (Tex. Tax Code § 33.06), or
  • challenge the assessed value of your home (if you think it’s incorrect) to reduce the amount of taxes you have to pay.

Getting Help

If you’re facing a property tax foreclosure in Texas—or you need help redeeming your property—consider talking to a foreclosure lawyer or a real estate lawyer.

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