If you’ve purchased a tax deed in Georgia, how do you obtain a clear tax deed title, i.e., marketable title? That’s a question we get frequently. First and foremost, following a tax sale, you need to bar the right of redemption of the owner who didn’t pay taxes and any party who holds an interest in the property. We have covered this topic in other blogs on this website. But what about after you’ve barred the right to redeem? Are you able to put up a for sale sign and sell the property?
Generally, the answer is no if there’s a non-judicial tax sale on the property within the past 20 years. In other words, most title insurance companies won’t title insure such properties. So what do you do? There are generally three ways to obtain full title or what is known as “marketable title.”
The first way is to adversely possess the property for more than four years. Adversely possessing means taking full possession of the property in a manner that is (i) hostile (against the right of the true owner and without permission); (ii) actual (exercising control over the property); (iii) exclusive; (iv) open and notorious (using the property as the real owner would, without hiding occupancy); and (v) continuous.
The second way is to get a quitclaim deed from the owner who didn’t pay taxes and any party with an interest in the property.
The third way is to file a quiet title action in the Superior Court where the property is located. In such a lawsuit, the owner who didn’t pay taxes and any party with an interest in the property are named and allowed to object. A special master is appointed and ultimately the cour will issue an order clearing title. The order is recorded on the public record and the process is complete.
Please call us with any questions regarding tax deeds or the above methods of obtaining marketable title.