Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) for
Hanover County Delinquent Real Estate Auctions
Q: When is a delinquent parcel eligible for auction?
A: VA Code § 58.1-3965 currently authorizes Virginia localities to initiate
the sale of tax delinquent property on December 31 following the second anniversary
of the date on which such taxes have become due. For example, a parcel with
delinquent 2006 real estate taxes is eligible for auction on January 1, 2009.
Q. If I pay the delinquent taxes on a property, do I have legal
ownership of that property?
A. No, there is no such provision under Virginia law.
Q: Does Hanover County sell real estate tax lien certificates?
A. No, Virginia law does not allow this. This process is used in
many other states, but is not authorized in Virginia.
Q: How can I obtain a listing of properties?
A. Lists of tax sale properties to be auctioned are posted on our
web site. Lists are usually not available until three weeks prior
to the auction. Lists are published in legal section of Herald-Progress
in advance of the auction date. You may also sign up for a free
e-mail notification by emailing the Hanover County Treasurer’s
Collection Division at email@example.com. As soon
as the list of properties is finalized and an auction date is
determined, the information is posted on this website and e-mails
will be sent to those on our auction notification list.
Q. Who can purchase property at a tax sale?
A. The auctions are open to the general public. Anyone can bid
on a property.
You must be present at the auction to participate. Bids via mail,
telephone, or the internet will not be accepted.
Q. Do I need to be a Virginia resident to purchase real estate?
Q: How often are auctions held?
A. Auctions are held as soon as enough properties are ready through
the legal process for auction. Usually auctions are scheduled
when the legal process for tax sale has been completed on 10
to 25 properties. Dates vary, so check this web-site for notice
of upcoming auctions.
Q. Where are the auctions held?
A. The auctions are held on the steps of Hanover County’s
Circuit Court in the Hanover County Government Complex. Any change
of venue will be noted on the tax sale announcements.
Q. What types of properties are sold at auction?
A. All types of properties are sold at a tax sale. This includes
vacant lots, vacant buildings, residential parcels, commercial
parcels, and manufacturing parcels as well as occupied buildings.
Q. What happens on the day of the auction (procedures, etc.)?
A. The sale works like a typical auction – highest bidder
wins the property. The highest bidder normally must pay 25% of
the bid price on the day of the auction.
Q. What are the starting bid prices of properties?
A. There are no requirements for starting bids nor are there any
set amounts for opening bids. The beginning bidding is determined
by the auctioneer and is "not" based on any outstanding
amount owed against the property such as taxes or liens. The
starting bid generally reflects the assessed value of the property.
Buyers often find good deals at these auctions, but the final
sales price must be high enough that the judge will approve the
Q: How do I pay for my public auction properties and when is the
A: All payments for tax sale properties must be made in the form
of cash or certified bank funds. Specific times and arrangements
for payment can be made directly with the appropriate attorney
who is handling the tax sale case. Payment must be received in
full prior to court confirmation in order to allow the sale to
be finalized and the new deed recorded.
Q. Are there other expenses involved in addition to the purchase
A. At the closing, you will pay the remaining 75% due for the property
purchased. Purchaser is responsible for all costs associated with
any title insurance purchased for the property. Purchaser is also
responsible for all costs required for recording the deed for the
property and all future real estate taxes on the property, however,
all delinquent taxes are paid in full. In addition, the buyer may
be charged a 10% buyer’s premium that is added to the total
bid price for each parcel to cover fees associated with the auction.
Q: If I purchase property through the tax sale, am I required
to pay the delinquent taxes?
A. No, the property sells for the amount of the highest bid. The
court orders the property sold free of liens and encumbrances.
The purchaser gets a special warranty deed.
Q: If I purchase a property at a tax sale, can the owner
come back later and reclaim the property?
A. No, property owners have until 5:00 p.m. of the day before the
auction to redeem the property by paying delinquent taxes, legal
fees, and assessments. Successful bidders at the auction obtain
title to the property and the prior owner has no legal claim on
The Property is sold in gross and not by the acre and is sold
free of all claims of any creditor, person, or entity, including
those claims of beneficiaries under any deed of trust or mortgage,
as provided by Va. Code Ann. § 58.1-3967 (1950, as amended),
but subject to all objections, rights, reservations, leases, covenants,
conditions, restrictions, easements, encroachments, overlaps, overhangs,
deficiency in quantity, all questions of boundaries, location and
acreage which a current and accurate survey would disclose, roadways,
unrecorded easements, and any other matter, recorded or unrecorded,
as may lawfully affect the property or which would be disclosed
by an inspection and accurate survey of the premises. No warranty
is made as to the insurability of title.
It is strongly recommended that tax sale purchasers hire an attorney
or title agency to check the title of the property and obtain title
insurance. The purchaser has 30 days from the date of the sale
to review the title and report any title defects.
Q. How quickly can a new deed be recorded?
A. Once all payments have been received and sale is confirmed by
the court, your new deed will recorded by Hanover County. Buyers
are required to pay the recordation cost and recording taxes. Each
bidder will receive a letter prior to closing stating the exact
cost of all fees. A copy of the new deed will be mailed to the
buyer after it has been recorded.
Q. If I purchase a property at a tax sale, when will I receive
title to the property?
A. The sale of each parcel of property is subject to county and
court approval. It is possible that a purchase could be denied
based on the bid price being substantially lower than the value
of the property. Usually bidders receive title within 6 to 8 weeks
after the tax sale.
Q. Can the property be deeded to my spouse/partner/family member?
A. Yes, the deed can be written to an individual, husband and wife,
or corporation. Purchaser must indicate to the Special Commissioner
who will be the owner of the property.
Q. I want to know if a parcel has delinquent real estate taxes.
How can I find out?
A. Real estate taxes are public record and can be researched by
using the Treasurer’s Office e-Gov services on the County’s
Real estate accounts can be searched by street name or Parcel