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Bidder Registration Minimum Bid Sheet for 2013

San Juan County Treasurer Real Property Tax Foreclosure Sales (RCW 84.64.050)

There are different types of property sold at Treasurer's sales. This web page offers general information on real property tax foreclosure sales.


Anyone considering buying property at a Treasurer's Tax Foreclosure sale should be aware THERE ARE RISKS. When selling parcels, the county conveys interest it is legally capable of transferring, unless otherwise noted. The county does not guarantee or provide warranty as to the extent of a particular interest. The county makes NO guarantees whatsoever on parcels sold at a Treasurer's Tax Foreclosure sale.

The following statement applies to all Treasurer's real property Tax Foreclosure sales: This is a "BUYER BEWARE" sale. Parcels are offered on an "as is, where is" basis. The county makes no representation of warranty, expressed or implied, as to the condition of title to any property, to the physical condition of any property or it's fitness for any use or purpose.


What is tax foreclosure?

When real property taxes become three years delinquent, the county Treasurer begins foreclosure action. A Certificate of Delinquency is filed with the county Superior Court. At this point, in addition to taxes, penalty and interest, foreclosure costs begin to accrue and increase monthly thereafter (RCW 84.64.050).

Prior to the sale, a title search is conducted for each parcel, chargeable to the owner of record in the Certificate of Delinquency. As required by law, all parties with recorded interest are sent notification in the form of a Notice and Summons that is published in a local newspaper per RCW84.64.050.

The Treasurer receives a tax judgment and order of sale from the court foreclosing on the tax lien, authorizing the sale of the parcel. Parcels included in the tax foreclosure process can be redeemed by the owner(s) of record in the Certificate of Delinquency or paid by any party with a recorded interest, up until the close of business on the day before the sale; thus removing the parcel from the sale. Tax foreclosure sales are usually held once a year.

Can prior owners redeem their property after foreclosure?
Prior owners have no rights to the property after foreclosure, UNLESS they were a minor or declared legally incompetent. Minors and those legally incompetent have the right to redeem the parcel any time within three years from the date of the foreclosure sale. If they do so, they must pay the sale amount, plus interest and penalty on the tax amount, if any. Any improvements made by the new owner would be reimbursed to the new owner by the prior owner upon prior owner's redemption (RCW84.64.070).

What happens to other liens on the property?
Normally, liens other than the Treasurer's real property tax lien on foreclosed property are not extinguished at our foreclosure sale. The IRS has a 120-day redemption period. If prior lien holders attempt to collect on their liens after the property has been foreclosed, it is entirely up to the new owner to defend against these claims (RCW84.64.080).

What happens to the excess proceeds?
If a parcel is sold at a foreclosure auction for more than the amount owing, the previous record title owner can claim the surplus money. This is the party who held title on the day the Certificate of Delinquency was filed. The previous record title owner has up to three years from the date of the sale to claim the excess proceeds (RCW84.64.080).


How long does it take to get a deed?
A deed will be issued within sixty days of the date of the sale. Tax deeds are issued for parcels purchased at public auction tax foreclosure sales. Tax deeds, quit claim deeds, etc. provide the purchaser no guarantees. There can be a clouded title or other problems the county is unaware of and not responsible for to the purchaser.


Thorough research on all potential purchases is essential. It is important to complete any research prior to the day of the sale. There are definite risks when buying tax foreclosure properties. Warning: even the most diligent research efforts may not uncover or reveal all difficulties or unexpected problems.

Where is the best place to begin?
In addition to the minimum bid sheet, the Treasurer's office will provide as much information as it has available. Title reports, maps, appraisal sheets and tax information are some items to assist in your research. The Treasurer's office, though, is only a starting point. Sometimes information available may be minimal. It is up to the buyer to pursue other resources.

Other Resources
Questions about buildability, zoning, use restrictions and controls, etc. should be looked into prior to any purchase. City and county engineering, building, code and planning departments are good places to obtain information.

Title Insurance
Some title companies do not provide title insurance for up to ten years from the date of sale. Policies may vary with each title company. If you are planning to build, title insurance may be important to you. San Juan County does not provide title insurance.

Many parcels have local improvements or special assessments that may need to be paid. You may be able to determine these by contacting the district or association servicing the parcel. The County Treasurer may collect some assessments. To avoid expensive surprises, these need to be determined before the sale.

Local Ordinances
Property may be subject to easements or use restrictions, as well as zoning or other land use controls. All property is sold subject to applicable town and/or county ordinances. It is the responsibility of the buyer to determine their existence.

Community Association Dues
All property is sold subject to restrictive covenants, if any, allowing for imposition of community association fees. It would be prudent to contact the association for a schedule of outstanding and future fees, if any.

All utility easements and other easements three years and older are unaffected by tax foreclosure. Easements are listed on the title search report and will be on record at the county auditor's office.

Physical Inspection of Property
It is strongly recommended prospective buyers visit all property sites. Determine exactly what is offered for sale. Is there access to the parcel? Can you accurately identify property boundary lines? Is the parcel being used by neighbors? These are just a few items you may want to ascertain.

If there are improvements on the parcel, do they go with the land? How are they currently being used? What is their condition?


Minimum bid sheets are available at the Treasurer's office after the Certificate of Delinquency is filed. All bidders/agents must register and be present at the public auction. Pre-registration at the Treasurer's office is usually available one week prior to the auction or arrive at least 30 minutes early on the day of the sale to register to bid at the auction. No changes to the registration can be made after the sale. There is no registration fee.

A copy of the terms of sale are provided at registration. Each bidder will be required to read and sign a copy of the terms of sale before being issued a bidder number card. A bidder number card is required to bid at the sale.

Only cash, cashier's checks and money orders payable in US$ to "San Juan County Treasurer" are acceptable tender. Absolutely no personal checks and no business checks will be accepted. The auctioneer announces the minimum bid for each parcel. The minimum bid includes all unpaid property taxes, interest, penalty, applicable foreclosure costs and assessments normally collected by the county Treasurer. Bids are made in increments of no less than $50.00.

These are oral auctions. To bid, you must hold up your issued bidder card and call out the bid amount. Each parcel is sold to the highest bidder. When a bid has been accepted, the successful bidder must immediately step forward and pay in full. No time is allowed for bidders to leave the sale to get funds and return, no matter how quickly this might be accomplished. Along with the bid amount, in some cases, payment of a deed fee and advertising costs may be required. These amounts will be announced in the opening statement at the beginning of the sale.

If full payment is not made as required, the parcel is immediately re-auctioned at the minimum bid. A successful bidder who does not pay will not be permitted to bid on this parcel or subsequent parcels at the auction.

Requests for information may be made in person or via any mail media. For a response to written requests, a stamped, self-addressed envelope is required.

For current year bid sheet, please e-mail your request to treasurer@sanjuanco.com or send a stamped self-addressed envelope to San Juan County Treasurer, Attention: Foreclosure, PO Box 639, Friday Harbor, WA, 98250.

The sale is normally held annually in November at the San Juan Community Theater, adjacent to the Courthouse. Register in advance or on the day of sale between 10:00 am and 11:00 am. The sale may be continued from time to time and from place to place.

The ferry schedule is available online from the State of Washington and changes periodically. We do not allow for travel delays so please plan ahead

The Treasurer's Certificate of Delinquency is filed with the San Juan County Clerk in June. The Notice & Summons for parcels that have not been redeemed will be published in the legal notices of the County's designated legal newspaper. The property against which judgment is rendered will be sold unless redeemed prior to the close of the business day before the day of sale.