Frequently Asked Questions:
Where and when will the upset sale be advertised?
The sale date is advertised at least 30 days prior to the sale in The Luzerne Legal Register and two newspapers of general circulation in Luzerne County. The sale is advertised once in each publication.
Is registration required to attend the sale?
Once the list of properties is made available, where can I obtain additional information on the size and the location of the properties?
Information, such as dimensions, acreages, etc., pertinent to respective property can be obtained through the County Assessment Office. The County Mapping Department can provide you with a detailed map reflecting the location of the property at your cost. You may wish to contact the Borough, or Township Zoning Officer for wetlands information. Please consult a telephone directory for the telephone number of the Borough or Township Office.
What type of bidding process is used?
Minimum Bids are established for each sale property. The Bid includes current and delinquent Real Estate Taxes, associated Penalties, Interest and Costs, in addition to the Realty Transfer Taxes (*), Recording Fee, Deed Preparation and Prothonotary Fee, as well as any other fees incurred. Auction bidding may be competitive due to number of interested buyers. Properties are sold to the highest Bidder.
* The Transfer Tax is equal to the Assessed Value multiplied by the Common Level Ratio Factor and 2% (2 1/2% for Kingston Borough and 3% for Wilkes-Barre City).
Will you allow bids by mail?
No. Bidders must attend the Upset Tax Sale to purchase properties.
What types of payment are required for purchase?
Sale payments from bidders may be in Cash, Cashier's Check, Certified Check or Money Order. Bid payments must be in full by 2:00 PM the day of the sale.
Will the sale be final?
All sales are final and no refunds will be made after the sale. Following the Upset Tax Sale, the former owner has a thirty day period during which to contest the sale. If contested, the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas will render a decision on the ownership of the property. In the event of litigation, as with the entire process, the Bureau recommends bidders consult legal counsel.
Do I have clear title to the property purchased?
The Bureau conveys its taxable interest. The Bureau does not provide clear title nor will assist the Purchaser in obtaining clear title to any property purchased at sale. It is strongly urged that you have a professional examination made of the title. These properties are offered for sale by the Bureau without any guarantee or warranty whatsoever either as to structure upon the land, liens, title or any other matter. The Bureau will sell the property as described on the dockets in the Bureau and makes no representations or warranties as to the description, or even existence of the property, nor will it make any survey on a property sold. Also, the Bureau, its representatives, employees and Solicitor make no representations or warranties as to the state of the property or title. You must seek your own legal counsel before and following purchase.
Will all other liens be cleared for the property as a result of the sale?
The Upset Tax Sale is held for the satisfaction of current and back-taxes of record. Mortgages, liens and encumbrances are not divested by this type of sale. As Purchaser, you are responsible for all liens of record. Consequently, you must conduct your own Title Search prior to purchase. The Judicial sale is a "free and clear sale", but certain liens are recognized in that sale order per the Act.
Where do I obtain information on liens or mortgages?
Contact the Luzerne County Prothonotary's Office and the Luzerne County Recorder of Deeds Office to determine the existence of liens and or judgments against the property of interest.
Will I receive a document to verify the purchase?
Following the Tax Sale, you will receive a Deed for the purchased property at a date predetermined by statute.
Is a copy of the state statutes available for purchase?
Not from the Bureau. You can review the Pennsylvania Real Estate Tax Sale Law, Act 542, at any County Law Library in Pennsylvania and request copies at your cost. Also, you may obtain a copy of the Act through your respective state legislator. You should consult with legal counsel at every stage of the process.
If I have any other questions or legal concerns, may I call the Bureau?
Bureau Staff cannot give legal advice. All legal questions should be directed to an attorney of your choice.