Randy Saunders is an attorney with Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, and has practiced law within the tax sales space for many years. He is highly knowledgeable about all aspects of tax lien sales in West Virginia, as well as a few other states. His team at the law firm works in tax sales law across the USA, giving him broad insight, and he has co-authored several white papers, including one focused on the nuances of West Virginia tax sales.
West Virginia Tax Sales
There are 55 counties in West Virginia, and in each of those the local sheriff sells the tax liens at auction. Tax lien sales in West Virginia are all held between October 14 and November 23 of each year and are live auctions at the courthouse. Winning bidders have to pay for their purchases in full by the close of business that day, and a post-sale notice is required by the sheriff’s office within one month of the sale. (**Tax Sale Resources Update--West Virginia has changed their law and lien sales are no longer required to be held between October and November of each year. More to come.)
Redemption Period in West Virginia
After August 31st and before October 31st in the year after the sale the purchaser must make a list of everyone entitled to notification. West Virginia is becoming increasingly strict about notification compliance, so when making notifications, make sure all the addresses of those notified are correct, to protect you in case a challenge arises. During the 18-months following the sale, the property owner or others who receive notice may redeem the property. If redemption occurs, the tax certificate purchaser is entitled to “the amount of taxes, charges due on the date of sale, all other taxes paid on the property, any reasonable expenses incurred from January 1 of the year following the sheriff’s sale up to $500, and interest calculated at 12% per annum on this total amount.”
Taking Ownership if a Property Isn’t Redeemed
If they don’t redeem, the lien certificate owner must request the tax deed from the county if they want to secure ownership for themselves. As long as required notifications have been made and the lien certificate holder has met other statutory requirements, they can typically also complete the process of quieting the title to make it eligible for title insurance within about eight to 12 months.
Learn More about West Virginia Tax Liens
There are many steps involved in the tax certificate process in West Virginia, and as always, due diligence on the part of the investor is essential. Download the full white paper by Randy Saunders about the West Virginia tax sale process, which not only covers tax liens but also includes expert information about tax deed sales. Listen to the full, in-depth podcast interview Brian Seidensticker recorded with Saunders for more detailed information.