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Michigan

Tax Sale Information

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State Summary

Michigan is a deed state. It was a lien state until 1999 when the state enacted new laws expediting the collection of taxes on delinquent properties. They did away with selling liens to investors. Now when real property is 1-year delinquent in tax payments, the property is “forfeited” to the county treasurer, unless the county “opts out”, in which case the property will revert to the state. The owner has 1 year to redeem the property after which the county (or state) will foreclose on the property and sell it at auction.



Tax foreclosure sales, or “land sales” as they are called in some counties, are conducted by the state treasury department as well as by individual counties. According to state statutes, the tax foreclosure extinguishes most liens, including unpaid tax and special assessment liens, but excludes IRS liens and liens filed by government agencies in relation to the environmental protection act. There is no redemption period after the sale.



In most counties you must register and receive a bid card before the sale. In order to register you must be at least 18 and have a driver’s license or state ID and a social security number. Some counties also require a sizable deposit that is refunded to unsuccessful bidders upon surrender of their bidder cards. Most of the counties now conduct online auctions. But the online sales occur side by side with the actual “in person” county and state auction. You can be at the sale in order to bid; or at least have a representative at the sale or you can participate online.



Forms of payment accepted at all sales are the usual: cash, certified funds, or money order. For counties that have online sales, payment is made by credit card. Properties are sold to the highest bidder and payment must be made the day of the sale. The minimum bid consists of delinquent taxes, interest, penalties, fees due on the property, and the cost of the sale. A quitclaim deed is issued to the purchaser. In some counties the deed is registered before it is delivered to the purchaser. In other counties the purchaser is responsible for registering the deed with the county clerk.



There is a lot of information available online for Michigan tax sales. Michigan tax sale season starts in July through November. There are 83 counties in Michigan so from July through November there is always a tax sale going on almost every week, sometimes a few on the same day.

Summary courtesy of Joanne Musa's State Guide