Judicial Sales Frequently Asked Questions
How can I obtain a listing of properties?
Lists of judicial tax sale properties to be auctioned are posted on this web site. Lists are usually available about a month prior to the auction. Lists are published in legal section of The Roanoke Times in advance of the auction date.
When and where are tax auctions advertised?
Judicial tax sale auctions are required to be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation. Advertisements will be placed in The Roanoke Times as well as in the Legal Notice Section.
When and where are the auctions held?
Judicial tax sale auctions are usually conducted at the Roanoke County Courthouse or at the Roanoke County Administration Center, 5204 Bernard Drive, Roanoke, VA 24018. However, auctions may be held at other locations as announced on this website. The exact date, time, and location of the auction will be listed on our website prior to the auction.
How often are auctions held?
Auctions are held as soon as a sizeable collection of properties have been deemed administratively compliant with the legal requirements for sale in the State of Virginia. Usually auctions are scheduled when the legal process for judicial tax sale has been completed on at least 15 - 25 properties. Dates vary, so check our website for notice of upcoming auctions.
Is payment in full required on the day of the auction?
Terms of sale may be posted on our website, or on the website of, or in published brochure of, the auction company. These conditions may change periodically, and we advise you to please read the Terms of Sale for each auction carefully.
How can I keep my property from being sold?
Payment in full of all charges which include but are not limited to, taxes, penalties, interest, court cost, auction cost, and advertising fees, or by entering into an approved payment plan agreement. An active payment plan agreement, where no default has been made, will halt judicial tax sale proceedings.
How long does the judicial tax sale process take and when can I expect my property to be sold?
In general, the judicial tax sale process takes approximately 6 to 12 months from referral of the account to removal from the Court’s docket. The length of time between referral of the account and sale of the property depends on many factors and cannot be determined in advance of the auction. All properties will be advertised prior to an auction. Owners have until 5:00 p.m. on the date prior to the auction to redeem the property.
What are the starting bid prices of properties?
There are no requirements for starting bids nor are there any set amounts for opening bids. The beginning bid is determined by the auctioneer and is not based on any outstanding amount owed against the property such as taxes or liens. The starting bid generally reflects the assessed value of the property.
If I purchase a property at a judicial tax sale, can the owner come back later and reclaim the property?
No, property owners have until 5:00 p.m. of the day before the auction to redeem the property by paying delinquent taxes, legal fees, and assessments. Successful bidders at the auction obtain title to the property and the prior owner has no legal claim on the property.
The Property is sold in gross and not by the acre and is sold free of all claims of any creditor, person, or entity, including those claims of beneficiaries under any deed of trust or mortgage, as provided by Va. Code Ann. § 58.1-3967 (1950, as amended), but subject to all objections, rights, reservations, leases, covenants, conditions, restrictions, easements, encroachments, overlaps, overhangs, deficiency in quantity, all questions of boundaries, location and acreage which a current and accurate survey would disclose, roadways, unrecorded easements, and any other matter, recorded or unrecorded, as may lawfully affect the property or which would be disclosed by an inspection and accurate survey of the premises. No warranty is made as to the insurability of title.
However, all sales are final as certified by the court. Any person aggrieved by the sale would have to petition the court for release. We cannot provide any legal advice regarding this matter, except to advise you to seek your own legal counsel if you are unsure about the redemption period applicable to the property.
How do I find out the results of an auction, including which properties were sold to whom and for what amount?
The information is public record and can be found in the records of the local Circuit Court Clerk’s Office. The information is contained in the Decree of Confirmation.
Who can purchase property at a judicial tax sale?
The auctions are held open to the public. Anyone can bid on a property. Bidders may include adjacent property owners, neighborhood organizations, Community Development Corporations, investors or other interested parties. Bidders are encouraged to have all real estate taxes, personal property taxes, business license fees, meals taxes, lodgings or admissions taxes, whether as an individual, company, corporation or partnership, paid in full. In order to qualify as a bidder you must register with the Auction Company, not the County. Registration usually opens at least an hour prior to an auction.
How do I qualify as a bidder at the auction?
To qualify as a bidder at the auction you must register with the Auction Company. You are encouraged to contact the Auction company directly for any additional requirements.
What is the bidding process?
The bidding begins with the minimum bid amount, which usually begins at the assessed or appraised value, and bidding increases according to the bids received, in incremental amounts. All sales are made to the highest bidder. The auctioneer also records the name of the second highest bidder and in the event the highest bidder defaults, the property may be offered to the second highest bidder.
If I purchase a property at a judicial tax sale, do I have to pay the back taxes?
No, the purchaser does not have to pay any back taxes or city assessments. The property is sold free and clear of taxes and nuisance abatement liens, and legal fees. The purchaser pays the bidder's premium, high bid price, and the cost of recording the deed at the Roanoke County Circuit Court Clerk's Office.
If I purchase a property which is encumbered by a mortgage, taxes or weed abatement liens, am I responsible for these debts?
No. As part of the judicial tax sale proceedings, all parties of interest are notified of pending litigation to sell the property for delinquent real estate taxes. Virginia law permits the property to be transferred free and clear of any such encumbrances to the purchaser upon the confirmation of the sale by the Court.
If I purchase a property at a judicial tax sale, will I receive title to the property?
The sale of each parcel of property is subject to county and court approval. It is possible that a purchase could be denied based on the bid price being substantially lower than the value of the property. Usually bidders receive title within six to eight weeks after the judicial tax sale.
What types of properties are sold at auction?
All types of properties are sold at a judicial tax sale. This includes vacant lots, vacant buildings, residential parcels, commercial parcels, and manufacturing parcels as well as occupied buildings. Zoning information can be found by entering the property address on the Roanoke County TaxView application.
How do I find more information about the properties being offered at an auction?
In most cases, the tax maps and assessment information can be obtained online using the Roanoke County TaxView application.
The Real Estate Valuation department can provide information on the property’s assessment while the Code Enforcement, Building Inspections or Zoning Departments may provide additional information about the property. The information contained in the Notice of Sale is sufficient to conduct a search for information. All properties are sold “as is” and “where is". All bidders at the auction are responsible for their own due diligence prior to bidding.
What qualifies a property for judicial tax sale?
According to State and County code, proceedings may be instituted to sell a property when any taxes on the real estate are delinquent on December 31 following the second anniversary date on which such taxes have become due. See 58.1-3965 et. seq. of the Code of Virginia.
If I pay the delinquent taxes on a property, do I have legal ownership of that property?
No, there is no such provision under Virginia law.
Does the County sell real estate tax lien certificates?
No, Virginia law does not allow this. This process is used in many other states, but is not authorized in Virginia.
How can I get a list of all tax delinquent properties subject to sale in Roanoke County?
Lists of properties subject to the judicial tax sale are posted on this web site once a year in either January or February after the notice is published in the local newspaper. In addition, lists of properties with delinquent real estate taxes that are to be auctioned are published in the local newspaper prior to a judicial tax sale.
What is the minimum bid I should expect to pay?
All sales are required to be confirmed by the court. The Special Commissioner of sale will report on the overall bidding of the property, the assessed values of the property, the outstanding taxes due, and the bid amount received for the property at the auction. The bid should bear some relation to the value of the property. In the event the bid amount is unreasonable in relation to the approximate value of the property or substantially below the minimum bid, the Special Commissioner and or County may recommend that the sale not be approved. Additionally, the Court may decide not to approve the sale on its own, or may determine that the property should be resold.
Does Roanoke County offer a financing program or discounts?
No. Purchasers or bidders are required to secure their own funding.
What happens to the properties that are not sold at the auction?
If the properties do not sell at the auction or if confirmation of the sale has been denied by the Court, the property may be advertised added to our next auction proceedings.
If I purchase property at an auction and later become dissatisfied with the property, can I cancel my bid and get a refund of the deposit or purchase price?
Once the sale is confirmed by the Court, you become the legal owner of the property and the funds paid are not refundable. If prior to confirmation of sale, you become dissatisfied with the property, you will not be entitled to a refund of your deposit and you may be responsible for additional cost. The second highest bidder may be contacted and the property may be sold to that bidder or the property may be resold at a second auction, subject to the Court’s discretion.
What type of deed do I receive following confirmation of the sale?
A Special Commissioner’s Deed, a type of special warranty deed, will be available at the local Circuit Court Clerk’s Office for recordation. You are responsible for any recordation fees.
Will I be able to get title insurance on a property I purchase at an auction?
Roanoke County cannot guarantee that title insurance will be available, since underwriting practices vary from one company to the next with regards to judicial tax sale property. If the availability of title insurance is important to you, you are urged to explore the matter further with a title company prior to bidding.
For Further Information
Please contact the Roanoke County Treasurer's Office via email
or by calling (540) 772-2056.