We offer two services related to tax deeds: (1) barring the right of redemption and (2) quiet title.
(1) Barring right to redeem. In Georgia, you are entitled to bar the right to redeem any time after one year has passed from the tax sale. Barment notices need to be sent to the owner of the property at the time of the tax sale and to any other party that holds an interest in the property. To identify who needs to get notice, we need to do a title examination. Below are our fees.
Attorney’s fees are a flat fee of $1,000 plus an additional $600 for expenses. Expenses include title search, publication, and sheriff’s service. We don’t know for sure how much expenses are going to be, but the average is around $600. Sometimes expenses are a little more than $600, sometimes a little less. If less than $600, we’ll refund you the difference; if more than $600, we’ll bill you for the difference.
The only exception to the $1,000 flat fee for attorney’s fees quoted above is if the owner of the property at the time of the tax sale was deceased; if so, then there is quite a bit more work involved and we’d need to discuss the particulars of your situation.
(2) Quiet Title Against All the World. This is done after the barment is complete in order to obtain marketable title. A quiet title involves filing a lawsuit in the Superior Court of the county where the property is located. On these, we charge attorney’s fees on an hourly basis. Our hourly fee is $300 per hour and we ask for a $1,500 retainer. This covers five hours of attorney time. Normally, the attorney’s fees are about between $1,500 and $2,500, but because it is a lawsuit, we can’t quote an exact amount. In a quiet title, the court will appoint a special master: a special master is a local attorney who reviews the case and gives a recommendation to the court regarding title. The special master will cost an additional $1,500-2,500 (this amount is approximate). Court costs are an additional $500 (filing fee is approximately $250 and service on each defendant is $50).
(3) Adverse Possession: If you have adversely possessed the property for more than four years, you don’t have to do the first step (barment). Adverse possession means you have openly and continuously possessed the property (i.e, you or a tenant were actually in the property) and no one who owned an interest in the property objected.