Property Tax Liens In North Carolina

Property Tax Liens In North Carolina

North Carolina is a deed state.

The minimum bid is the amount owed (delinquent taxes, penalties, interest and cost of sale). If you purchase a deed at a North Carolina tax sale it is subject to an “upset bid”. This continues for 10 days after the tax commissioner files the sale.

During this time anyone may place a competitive bid if it is over 10% of the original bid. If this happens the court will resell the deed to the higher bidder.

Most North Carolina counties use law firms to conduct their tax foreclosure sales. Their tax sale lists normally provide only the parcel number and owners name.

The physical address of the property is not usually provided. It is up to the investor to know what they are bidding on.

There are 3 different types of tax sales in North Carolina. “Foreclosure Sales” are sales of properties due to delinquent tax liens.

The County opens bidding at the amount equal to taxes plus legal costs. Anyone may offer an amount over the County’s bid. You then obtain ownership upon completion of a 10 day upset bid period. “County Auction” parcels are properties that were not sold at the foreclosure sale. These were deeded to the county. These parcels are offered at auction. If no one offers a bid at this auction, these properties become “Surplus Properties.”

Property Tax Liens In North CarolinaThese parcels may be purchased directly from the County by submitting a written offer.

You must be present to bid at the foreclosure sale or County auction. Surplus properties can be bid through the mail; however, upset bids must be made in person. Cash, money orders or certified funds are accepted as payment.

Foreclosure Sales require a deposit as per the notice of sale (5% – 20% of the highest bid) on the day of the sale with final payment within 30 days after the completion of the 10 day upset 50 bid period. Foreclosure upset bids require a 5% increase over the last bid, with a minimum increase of $750.

County auctions require a 5% deposit with the final payment in 10 days after approval of the bid by the county commissioners. County auction sales are final and are not subject to upset bids.

Surplus property bids are subject to upset bids and payment is due in full within 10 days after completion of the 10-day upset period. Surplus property upset bids must be increased by 10% of the first $1,000 and 5% of the balance of the most current bid.

For foreclosure sales, a commissioner’s deed will be issued. Unless otherwise stated in the notice of sale, all other liens, with the exception of current year taxes, if applicable, will be eliminated when the commissioner’s deed has been issued and recorded.

A quitclaim deed will be issued for county auction and surplus properties. To find contact information for tax sales, go to the county webpage and click the “departments” link, then look for tax office, tax department, or tax administration.

Then click on the tax collection link and look for tax foreclosure sales or tax foreclosures. You can also get the link to the tax collectors web site and the tax sale lists at