Not sure what state or county you refer to..., all are different. Here is what is going on with Pierce County Washington...my area:
Properties in foreclosure may only be purchased from the County at the annual foreclosure auction held in December of each year. A minimum bid will be solicited for each parcel. This bid must include all taxes, interest, penalties and foreclosure costs. The auction is verbal and full payment is due at the time of successful bid. In 2007, there will no longer be a 30-minute grace period. Be aware that some states may allow the former owner up to one year to "reclaim" their property by paying you the money back you spent to purchase it. Yeah I know.., that sucks.
Acceptable forms of payment are cash or cashier's check only, made payable to Pierce County. If you present a cashier's check that is greater than the amount of your bid, a refund of the difference will be mailed within 10 business days.
The successful bidder will receive a Treasurer's Deed without any expressed or implied warranty. Recording fees of $51 will be collected at the time of purchase. If the item purchased is land and a manufactured home package, an additional fee in the amount of $24 will be collected. Additional forms for the Department of Licensing will also need to be completed.
Jon..., Pierce County does not warrant any property suitable for any use, nor do they make any claims regarding easements, covenants or restrictions. Legal descriptions provided are for tax purposes only. So buyer beware. I have seen where after a sale a lein poped up, it can happen.
All parcels are sold 'whereas' and 'as is' without representation or warranty, expressed or implied. All sales are final. Potential purchasers should seek the advice of a real estate attorney if additional information is needed. Also a qualified Licensed Real Estate Agent can help, you can actually hire a Buyers Agent for a fee in some states to assist you.
Pierce County does NOT issue Tax Lien Certificates as Washington State is NOT a Tax Lien state. Also there is a LOT more info on the county website....such as how to pay and other details. Cool...??? :)
Hope this has helped,