Property Sale Frequently Asked Questions

The Hamilton County Real Property Office conducts an annual sale of back-tax and surplus properties. Bidders should read and follow all bidding instructions and should understand that Hamilton County makes no warranties as to the status of the title to these properties.

8 Frequently Asked Questions regarding property sale

How do you get a copy of the list of available property?
If you would like a copy of our annual sale list, please call us at (423) 209-6444 and request that a copy be mailed to you. Your name and address will be added to our mailing list. The list becomes available in late January of each year. You may also pick up a copy of the list in our office located at 123 East 7th Street in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Or you may see the complete list published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press several weeks prior to the sale.

How do you bid on the properties?
A complete set of bidding instructions and a bid form will be available on our website in Mid-January 2003. The bid process starts when our office begins accepting sealed bids. The bids are opened in public and a high bidder is established. You or a Representative must be present at the Bid Opening and Bid-Off. The high bidder and the amount of the bid are published in the legal notices of The Chattanooga Times Free Press. Anyone seeing the legal notice has ten days from the date it is published to submit a Letter of Intent to increase the bid by at least 10% and participate in the final Bid-Off. The entire bid process is outlined in the bid packet that will be mailed to you after your name is placed on our mailing list.

What type of property is sold by the Real Property Office?
The majority of the property in our sale is unimproved, vacant property. Any parcel with a structure is noted on your list by an "S" in the left hand column.

How does Hamilton County acquire the property listed for sale?
The property sold by the Hamilton County Real Property Office has been through the Clerk & Master's sale for nonpayment of taxes and was not sold at that time. The County then holds the property for the duration of the one-year redemption period. If the former owner(s) have not redeemed the property after one year, the property is added to the list of property to be sold by the Real Property Office the following January.

What happens to any property not sold at the Real Property sale?
Not every parcel sells each year. Sometimes a parcel may go through several sales before it is purchased. Each year our office visits the site and determines if the property could be used by the County, City or municipality for a public purpose such as a park, ambulance station, or community project. If there are structures on the property that are depreciating the value significantly, the structures may be demolished to increase the probability that the property will be sold during the next Real Property sale.

How do I know if property near mine is for sale through the Real Property sale?
The Real Property Office also attempts to notify any adjoining owners if a property adjacent to his or hers is scheduled to be sold.

How does Hamilton County convey the property to me?
After the sale has been finalized and the balance on the property has been paid in full, Hamilton County will record a quitclaim deed conveying the county's interest in the property to the new owner. To obtain a warranty deed, which carries the guarantee of a clear title, the new owner would need to file a suit to quiet the title with the Chancery Court. A list of area title attorneys and title companies that may be able to advise you about "quiet-title action" is available from the Real Property Office upon request.

Does Hamilton County finance the purchase of any property?
Hamilton County does not finance the purchase of any property.

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