Tax Deed Frequently Asked Questions

1What are Lands Available for Taxes?
Lands Available for Taxes are tax deed applications that were made by the County but not purchased at a Tax Deed Sale. After 90 days, any person or governmental unit may purchase the land for the opening bid, plus omitted years taxes, as cited in Florida Administrative Code 12D-13.064(3). It is recommended that you review the file prior to purchasing. The tax deed files may be viewed using the “Tax Deed Search” portion of the website. Total purchase price will consists of the original opening bid, additional taxes due, recording fees, indexing fees and documentary stamp tax. When the funds are received, a Tax Deed is then prepared and recorded in the Official Records.
2Are all properties inhabitable and/or buildable?
NO. You MUST do your research! It is imperative that anyone interested in participating in the tax deed sale conduct extensive research including a full title and lien search prior to bidding on any properties. Otherwise, you could end up with a drainage ditch, a sign, condemned property, a stairwell, a heap of junk, a small strip of nothing, etc.
3What are surplus funds?
A tax deed sale surplus occurs when a tax deed sale for a particular property results in the final selling price being higher than the opening bid amount. The excess money is classified as the tax deed sale surplus.
4What happens to property that is not purchased at the tax deed sale?
If there are no bids at the auction, the opening bid is the successful bid and the tax deed is awarded to the applicant.
5How do I know if a property has been redeemed before the sale date?
The status of properties scheduled for sale will be updated as soon as possible. Every effort is made to keep this information current. However, to check for last minute redemptions, you may contact a Tax Deed Clerk at (904)819-3632.
6What does it mean for an owner to redeem a tax deed property?
To redeem a tax deed property means that the owner pays all current and delinquent taxes to the Tax Collector’s Office and the property will no longer be going to sale.
7Where can I find information regarding the sale of tax certificates?
Tax certificate information can be obtained from the St. Johns County Tax Collector’s Office.
8What if I am the highest bidder and I then choose not to purchase the property for any reason?
If full payment is not made within 24 hours after the time of the sale, your deposit will be forfeited. Additionally, if you are the high bidder and refuse to honor your bid for any reason, you may be barred from participating in St. Johns County tax deed sales.
9If I am the highest bidder at a sale, how long do I have to pay for the property?
If you are the successful bidder for property at a tax deed sale, full payment must be received by the Clerk’s Office within 24 hours after the time of sale. Accepted forms of payment are cash and certified funds.
10How do I find out if there are any liens or encumbrances on a property being sold at a tax deed sale?
An ownership and encumbrance report for each certificate is found in the tax deed file on our website. However, the Clerk’s Office is not responsible for any discrepancies or omissions on this report and it is the responsibility of the buyer to research the property that he/she is interested in purchasing. Tax Deeds are sold AS IS on a BUYER BEWARE basis. Properties may be subject to additional taxes and/or liens.
11What if I need additional information regarding a property being sold at a tax deed sale?

For additional information regarding a property being sold, refer to the below links to complete your research.

Property Appraiser’s website

Tax Collector’s website

Public Access terminals are also available for use in the Clerk of Courts Recording Department.

12Is there a deposit required to bid on property at a tax deed sale?
No. A deposit of $200 or 5% of the winning bid, whichever is greater, is required after the sale for each sale you are the successful bidder on. Accepted forms of payment are cash and certified funds.
13Do I have to register with the Clerk’s Office before the sale?
No. To participate in a Tax Deed Sale, arrive at the courthouse 15 minutes before the auction is scheduled to begin.
14Are the tax deed sales advertised in a newspaper?
Yes. Tax Deed Sales are advertised in The St. Augustine Record.
15What is an opening bid?
An opening bid is the amount needed to settle taxes on the property plus any fees associated with the sale and interest.
16When is the tax deed sale held?
Tax Deed Sales are generally held several times per month on Wednesdays at 12:00 noon. Check the online website, Tax Deed Sales, for specific dates
17Where is the tax deed sale held?
Tax deed sales are held at the Richard O. Watson Judicial Center, 4010 Lewis Speedway, St. Augustine, Florida 32084.
18Who conducts the tax deed sale?
A Deputy Clerk employed by the Clerk of Courts Office conducts the sale in accordance with Florida Statute 197.
19Does the winning bidder of the tax deed get clear title to the property?
Upon winning the bid, the new owner of the Tax Deed may not automatically have clear title to the property. Additional taxes, as well as, liens on the property may be due and would become the responsibility of the new owner. It is imperative that anyone interested in participating in the Tax Deed sale conduct extensive research prior to bidding on any properties.
20What is a Tax Deed Sale?
A tax deed sale is a public auction where property is sold to the highest bidder to recover delinquent taxes.
Once notice has been given to everyone, the Clerk of the Circuit Court holds a Tax Deed Sale (Auction) to determine the new property owner.
The Bidding begins with the amount the Tax Certificate holder invested in the property plus the interest accrued and fees. If the Tax Certificate holder is outbid, the Tax Certificate holder will be reimbursed.
The winning bidder purchases the deed to the property and becomes the new property owner.
21What is A Tax Deed Application?
A Tax Certificate may be held for a minimum of two years, but not more than seven years. At any time between the second and seventh year, the Tax Certificate holder may request the sale of the property to satisfy the Tax Certificate. This request is called a Tax Deed Application.
The Tax Collector certifies the Tax Deed Application and works with the Clerk of the Circuit Court who sets a sale date, notifies the Tax Certificate holder, the property owner, and all lien holders, and the sale is held in accordance with Florida Statutes.
22What is a Tax Lien Certificate?
When a property owner fails to pay their yearly required real estate taxes, the County Tax Collector issues a Tax Certificate to the highest bidder to recoup lost tax income. The Tax Certificate investor is essentially making a loan to the property owner and in return receives a percentage rate of return annually on Tax Certificates that redeem early.