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BTO429

Property taxes

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I am not a real estate attorney at all, I need to know if property taxes have to be paid before a house can be sold.

 

I bought a farm on a short sale from Freddie Mac in may of 2010. I got a letter from the county auditors office saying I owe property taxes. I went to talk to them and they showed me where 560 dollars in taxes were not paid for 2009, before I bought the place. I paid them to keep the property out of a sheriffs sale.

 

Can I file suit over this?

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Usually property taxes are checked as part of a title search.  It probably depends on state law but it's possible that unpaid property taxes have a special status even if a formal lien hasn't been filed.

 

Your recourse would be against any Owners Title Insurance, or whoever gave you a clear title opinion.  If, because this was a short sale (perhaps you paid cash?), you wound up without Owners Title Insurance or didn't get a title opinion, you would need to look at what the Deed and representations in the sale contract were to go back to the seller (Freddie Mac).

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@VADebtor is correct.  A property can be sold even with unpaid mortgages against the property.  That's why you always want to do a title search before buying a property and buy title insurance.  

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Yes I paid cash? I will have to look over what little paper work IO do have, it wasn't but a few pages.

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If You got a quitclaim deed with no representations that the property was "free and clear" you're probably out of luck.  It might be wise to have the title searched to see if there are any other undisclosed liabilities tied to the property.  This would be similar to buying a car "as is".

 

If you have a warranty deed or the contract represents clear title then you should have recourse against the seller.

 

The deed terms are the ones I've encountered in Maine and Texas, they may be described differently in your state.

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If You got a quitclaim deed with no representations that the property was "free and clear" you're probably out of luck.  

Even if you got such a representation with a quitclaim, you're probably still out of luck if there is a lien against the title.  

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If he had a purchase and sale contract that made a representation, even with a quitclaim deed, he might have recourse against the seller under that contract.

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Are you willing to sue the seller to recoup the taxes?  If so, send the threat letter.  Maybe he will cough it up.  You know how debt collectors work.  You know which methods are legal.

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