Frequently Asked Questions - Real Estate Sales
Who handles tax delinquent auctions for the County? The Treasurer determines what properties are to be sold and oversees the process. The Treasurer does retain attorneys to represent the County. The Judge of Circuit Court orders the sale after all legal requirements are satisfied.
Does the county use tax lien certificates or deed certificates? No. Properties sold for delinquent taxes are sold at public auction to highest bidder. No properties are sold “over the counter."
Where are the auctions held? Prior sales have been conducted at the James City County Government Complex at 101-C Mounts Bay Road. Auctions may also be held at the Williamsburg/James City County Courthouse.
What are the terms and conditions? The terms of sale shall be cash, or in alternative, a down payment of not less than 10 percent of the successful bid price, by certified or cashier’s check, with the balance due in ten days, also by certified or cashier’s check. The said real estate shall be sold, “as is”, in gross and not by the acre, and subject to, without limitation, restrictions, conditions, easements, liens or encumbrances of record, possible rights of parties in possession, encroachments, overlaps, gaps and gores, deficiency in quantity, all questions of boundaries, location and acreage which a current and accurate survey would disclose, roadways, environmental and wetland matters, unrecorded easements, matters which would be disclosed by an inspection of the premises, or any other matter of record or not of record. The successful bidder shall deposit the bid price or down payment with the Clerk of the Circuit Court for the City of Williamsburg and James City County, Virginia, and no bond shall be required of the Special Commissioner. Before the Special Commissioner shall deliver a special warranty deed to the successful bidder, he shall report to this Court the result of this sale to be confirmed by the Court if the Court is of the opinion it should be.
What paper is the sale advertised? Virginia Gazette, Daily Press, etc.
How often are tax sales held? On average, in James City County, auctions are held an average of once a year.
When will the next tax lien or deed auction be held and how often are they held? No auction is scheduled at this time.
How and when can we get a list of properties that are going to be available for the next auction? The Treasurer will place your mailing or e-mail address on a list and you will be sent a copy of the auction bulletin at no charge.
How long is the property delinquent before it becomes eligible for the tax sale? Properties must be delinquent two years before bills in equity can be ordered, however, the legal process may take one to two additional years before auction is scheduled for a particular parcel.
What exactly is being bid on? Highest successful bidder will receive deed clear of liens.
Who conducts the auction? Treasurer and/or legal representative will contract with an auction firm.
How is bidding conducted? Bidders must be present to bid on properties. A representative of the bidder may bid; however, the representative must have a legal power of attorney to conduct business on behave of the bidder.
How long is the redemption period of the certificate? What is the interest rate? Not applicable in VA.
What happens once the certificate matures? Not applicable in VA.
What happens to properties that are not sold at the auction? Are they available the next time around, or are they available over-the-counter to purchase at any time? Properties are sold to highest successful bidder. If there is no bidder and taxes are not paid in the interim, property is available at next scheduled auction. To-date, no properties have failed to sell at first auction.
Are there any pre-registration requirements prior to the auction? Interested parties register on day of auction. Citizens wishing to register must be in good standing with the County (i.e. all taxes paid).
Does the county have a website with any helpful resources? Once a property is scheduled
for auction, interested parties can go to this auction website for details about the property.
Are lists of current delinquent properties available? Yes, lists are available in both hardcopy and electronic format. It is recommended that requests be made in writing with the preferred format included. A list of properties delinquent two or more years will include properties not ordered for sale. The list will not identify status of property.
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Please contact us at 757-253-6705, if you were unable to find the answer to your question.