Foreclosure FAQ

Where do I find a list of foreclosure properties?

Starting in mid-November we will have a foreclosure list available in our office and online.  In addition, a list will be published in the Wenatchee World newspaper sometime in the fall after all our title reports are completed and we know the names of all interested parties that must be listed in Notice and Summons. 
If you obtain a list from us, keep in mind that the list will need to be periodically updated leading up to the auction date as properties will need to be deleted for accounts that have been paid since your list was printed.  Parcels may be redeemed from foreclosure at any time up to the day before the auction, thus we do not know what will be in the sale until the morning of the auction.

Is there a mailing list for foreclosure properties?

We do not maintain a mailing list to notify people of each year's tax foreclosures.  For those who wish a listing of foreclosure properties, please view the list online or send a request along with a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Treasurer’s Office.

Can prior owners redeem their property after it is foreclosed upon?

Prior owners have no rights to the property after foreclosure, UNLESS they were a minor or legally incompetent.  Minors and legal incompetents have the right to redeem anytime within three years from the date of the foreclosure sale.  If they do so, they must pay the amount which the property sold for, plus interest on the tax amount.  If there were any improvements made by the new owner, those would also be paid for. (RCW 84.64.070)

How does the auction work?

Minimum bid sheets are available at the Treasurer’s office prior to the auction.  We accept only cash, cashier’s checks, and money orders.  Absolutely no personal or business checks will be accepted.  Those wishing to bid must be present or have a representative present at the auction.  This is an open, oral auction; not a sealed bid auction.  Bidding cannot be done by phone or mail.

The auctioneer announces the minimum bid for each parcel.  The minimum bid includes all unpaid taxes, costs, interest, and assessments.  However, it will be only those assessments that are normally collected by the County Treasurer. 

Bids are made in increments of $50 or more.  Each parcel is sold to the highest bidder.  When we accept a bid, the successful bidder has 30 minutes at the close of the sale to make any payment to the County Treasurer.  Along with the bid amount, a deed fee, recording fee, and sometimes, advertising fees must be paid.  We will announce these amounts in the opening statement at the beginning of the sale.  If full payment is not made as required, the parcel is re-auctioned at the minimum bid.  A successful bidder who does not pay will not be allowed to bid on any other parcels at the auction.

How long does it take to get a deed after the auction?

We will issue a deed within thirty to sixty days of the date of sale. Deeds are forwarded to the Chelan County Auditor's office for recording and mailed to the address provided in the bidder registration.  Treasurers' deeds provide the purchaser no guarantees.  There can be clouded title or other problems which the county is neither aware of, nor responsible for, that will become the responsibility of the purchaser.

What happens to all of the property liens?

The county can make no guarantees that prior liens will be extinguished.  If prior lien holders attempt to collect on their liens after the property has been foreclosed upon, it is entirely up to the new owner to defend against these claims. (RCW 84.64.080)  Do not count on buying a house at foreclosure auction.  Normally, owners of improved properties subject to tax foreclosure will raise the money to redeem the property before the sale; often at the last minute.  Most houses that are foreclosed upon have delinquent loans held by banks, mortgage companies, or other lenders.  There is no department within the county that has information on these lending agency foreclosures.

What happens to the excess proceeds?

If we sell a parcel at a foreclosure auction for more than the amount owing, the previous record title owner can claim the surplus money.  This is the party who held title on the day that we filed the Certificate of Delinquency.  They have up to three years from the date of the sale to make their claim. (RCW 84.64.080)

What does tax-title mean?

Parcels offered for auction at tax foreclosure sales, but not bid upon, are deeded to the county.  These parcels are "Tax-Title Properties."  Most of these parcels are of little value which is why they did not sell at the auction in the first place.  Many of these properties are "dangling strips" or "isolated triangles."  The former are usually narrow strips, anywhere from a few inches to a few feet wide, that were left over because of an error in a legal description, a survey, a platting error, or a mis-measurement by the Assessor's office.  The triangles generally are created when a street or highway cuts through a lot leaving a small isolated triangle cut off from the rest of the lot or block.  They may still be purchased from the county, but through a different process.  Tax-Title properties are subject to the same risks as tax foreclosure properties