Currently Sonoma County California does not sell tax lien certificates. Sonoma County sells tax deed properties at the Sonoma County tax sale auction which is held annually during the month of August each year.
Sonoma County relies on the revenue generated from real estate property taxes to fund daily services. Unpaid real estate taxes creates a serious cash-flow problem for Sonoma County.
The sale of tax deed properties at the Sonoma County tax sale auction generates the revenue Sonoma County needs to continue to fund important government services like police protection, public schooling, and emergency medical services.
When you buy Sonoma County tax deed properties you are helping the community. The money you pay to purchase these tax deed properties generates the much needed revenue Sonoma County needs to pay for essential public services.
The first half of real estate property taxes are due on November 1 and are delinquent after December 10th of each year. The second half of real estate property taxes are due on February 1 of the following year and are delinquent after April 10th of that year.
On or before June 8th, the Sonoma County tax collector will post a notice of impending default for failure to pay property taxes on real estate for which taxes have not been paid in full by the close of business on June 30th.
At 12:01 a.m. on July 1st, the taxes, assessments, penalties,and costs on real property which have not been paid shall by operation of law be declared in default.
On or before September 8th, the Sonoma County tax collector will publish in a newspaper of general circulation an affidavit stating that real estate on which the taxes, assessments, penalties, and costs have not been fully paid are in default.
After the property has become tax defaulted, five years or more, or three years or more in the case of nonresidential commercial property, the Sonoma County tax collector shall have the power to sell and shall attempt to sell all or any portion of tax-defaulted property that has not been redeemed.
Tax Sale List
Approximately 21 days prior to the date of the Sonoma County tax sale the Sonoma County tax collector will publish the notice of intended sale once a week for three successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation published in the city of Santa Rosa and in a newspaper of general circulation published in the judicial district of Sonoma County.
The Sonoma County tax sale list will include the following:
- The date, time, and place of the intended tax sale, including the web address if the tax sale is a public Internet auction. The locations of computer workstations that are available to the public and instructions on accessing the public auction and submitting bids if the intended sale is conducted via the Internet or other electronic media. A description of the property to be sold. The name of the last assessee of the property. The minimum acceptable bid of the property to be sold. A statement that if the property is not redeemed before the close of business on the last business day prior to the date of the sale, the right of redemption will cease. A statement that if the property is sold, parties of interest, as defined in Section 4675, have the right to file a claim with the county for any proceeds from the sale which are in excess of the liens and costs required to be paid from the proceeds. A statement that if excess proceeds result from the sale, notice will be given to parties of interest, pursuant to law. A statement that if the parcel remains unsold after the tax sale, the date, time, and location of any subsequent sale. If applicable, that a deposit is required as a condition to submit bids on the property. If applicable, a statement that, for any property purchased by a credit transaction, the right of redemption will revive if full payment is not received by the tax collector prior to the close of business on the date, as specified by the tax collector under Section 3693.1, that full payment is due.
You can obtain a copy of the Sonoma County tax sale list from the Sonoma County tax collector. In addition, a digital copy of the tax sale list may also be available for immediate download on the Sonoma County tax collector's website.
Tax Sale Registration
Anyone wishing to bid must register before the Sonoma County California tax sale. Contact the Sonoma County California Tax Collector for registration instructions and requirements. Generally, there is no charge for registration.
While there is no charge to register prospective bidders may be required to post a deposit preceding the Sonoma County tax sale.
Registration requirements specify that bidders must supply the Sonoma County California Tax Collector's office with a completed Bidder's Card, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification (IRS Form W-9 or W-8BEN).
Upon successfully meeting the registration requirements the Sonoma County Tax Collector's office will assign each bidder a number to identify each bidder when purchasing tax deed properties from Sonoma County.
Currently, the Sonoma County Tax Collector's office require's each bidder to place a deposit of
$5,000. In addition, the Sonoma County Tax Collector's office advises bidders to arrange for their deposits early to make sure they are eligible to bid. Furthermore, the Sonoma County Tax Collector's office will not be registering bidders nor accepting bids and all questions will be directed to the county tax sale auction website.
Tax Sale Time and Location
The Sonoma County California tax sale in an online tax sale auction and is held annually during the month of August. Contact the Sonoma County Tax Collector's Office to verify the time and location of the Sonoma County tax sale.
In accordance with California law the Sonoma County Tax Collector will commence the public auction of properties for which the taxes, interest, and fees have not been paid and continue's from day to day until each property is sold to satisfy the taxes, interest, costs, and charges.
Tax Sale Bidding Process
In accordance with California law the Sonoma County Tax Collector must sell tax delinquent properties to the highest bidder at the public tax sale auction.
Currently, the Sonoma County Tax Collector utilizes a Premium Bid Method to auction tax delinquent properties.
Premium Bid Method. In a public oral bid tax sale where Sonoma County California is utilizing the Premium Bid Method the winning bidder at the Sonoma County California tax sale is the bidder who pays the largest amount in excess of the delinquent taxes, delinquent interest, and fees. The excess amount shall be credited to the county general fund.
Tax Sale Payment
Payment is due on or before the close of the tax sale auction. The deposit shall be applied toward the purchase price of the property. Failure on the part of the successful bidder to consummate the sale on or before the close of the tax sale auction shall result in the forfeiture of the deposit and all rights he or she may have with respect to that property. Upon forfeiture the right of redemption shall revive.
Unsold properties that receive no bids and remaining unsold may be re-offered within a 90-day period.
On receiving the full purchase price, the Sonoma County Tax Collector shall, without charge, execute a deed to the purchaser.
Upon execution the Sonoma County Tax Collector shall immediately record the deed with the county recorder and pay the recording fees. Recording of the deed shall constitute delivery thereof to the grantee named in the deed.
The deed conveys title to the purchaser free of all encumbrances of any kind existing before the sale, except for any special assessments, easements (which always run with any property upon conveyance), and possibly an IRS lien. In most cases, none of these items is present, so the property may be acquired for as little as the back taxes (bidding permit).
According to California law the former owner or any lien holder has one year from the date of receiving notice of the tax sale or the date when the tax deed was recorded, whichever is later, to challenge the validity of the tax sale. It may not be possible to obtain a guaranty of clear title from a title company in addition title companies may not issue their policy of title insurance on property that was purchased through a tax sale, unless a quiet title action has been successfully pursued in the courts, or quit claim deeds are acquired from the former owner and every lien holder.
Tax Sale Warnings and Pitfalls
While it is possible to obtain real estate for a fraction of its market value with Sonoma County tax sale properties it is important to keep in mind it is also possible to incur a substantial loss. Buyer beware, Sonoma County auctions all types of properties at the Sonoma County tax sale auction including residential, retail, agricultural, condemned, waste, vacant, industrial and the like.
As with all investments, there is always an element of risk. Even though the tax sale process is written into California law, and are regulated by California law, there is a chance of losing part or all of your investment. You must always try to get the best education and practice safe investing, no matter which investment vehicle you choose.
The City Planning and Zoning Department (for properties within a city boundary) where the property is located and the Sonoma County Department of Planning and Community Development (for properties not within a city boundary) can help you determine what use you can make of a tax sale property before you purchase it.
Examine the Sonoma County Recorder's records for any recorded easements on a property. The Sonoma County Recorder can help you determine what liens (if any) may be associated with the property.
You can determine the general geographic location of tax sale properties by using the Sonoma County Assessor plat maps which are available from the Sonoma County Assessor's Office.
Sonoma County California Tax Sale Discussion
Below you will find a collection of the latest user questions and comments relating to the sale of tax lien certificates and tax deed properties in Sonoma County California.
Type your question or comment using the form below:
Cities located in Sonoma County California