Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Certificate of Purchase?

A Certificate of Purchase is a recorded tax lien that is attached to a property with two or more years of delinquent taxes. It is not a deed and does not transfer ownership. It can later be converted to a Collector's Deed after all of the requirements of RSMo 140.405 have been met.

What is a Collector's Deed?

A Collector's Deed is a deed written and recorded by the County Collector to transfer ownership of a property with two or more years of delinquent taxes to the holder of a Certificate of Purchase for that property.

Does a Collector's Deed convey a clear title?

No. A Collector's Deed is similar to a Quit Claim Deed. You will need to speak to an attorney or title company to determine the steps to obtain a clear title.

Can I enter a property before obtaining a Collector's Deed?

No. Until a Collector's Deed is recorded, you have no claim to the property and could be charged with criminal trespassing. The only exception is when you are posting a Notice of Right of Redemption on the property as allowed by RSMo 140.195.

Can I evict the owner or change the locks before I get a Collector's Deed?

No. Until a Collector's Deed is recorded, you have no claim to the property and cannot in any way prevent the current owner or inhabitants from utilizing it.

What happens to my money if a property is redeemed?

If the current owner redeems their property, you will receive a full refund plus 10% interest on the delinquent taxes paid and 8% interest on any subsequent taxes paid. Everything except the over-surplus amount is refunded by the Collector. Any over-surplus amount is refunded separately by the County Clerk.

Can I be reimbursed for attorney fees if a property is redeemed?

No, there are no provisions in RSMo Chapter 140 allowing attorney fees to be added to the refundable costs of sale.

Can I pay by wire transfer?

No. The full amount of your bid must be paid by cash, check, cashier's check, money order, or credit/debit card by 4:30 P.M. on the day of the sale.

Will you accept a Letter of Guarantee from my bank?

No. Payment in full must be received by 4:30 P.M. on the day of the sale.

What happens if I decide not to pay?

You will be charged with 25% of the bid amount by the County Prosecutor.

What if I decide not to get a Collector's Deed?

Your Certificate of Purchase will automatically expire 18 months after the date of the tax sale. We will refund your prepaid deed recording fee, but the other costs (including over-surplus) will not be refunded. To recoup your costs, you can sell your Certifcate of Purchase to someone else.

What if I have lost my Certificate of Purchase?

You can obtain a certified copy from the Recorder of Deeds for $2 or an uncertified copy from the Collector for free. You are not required to present your Certificate of Purchase to the Collector in order to get a deed, because we keep the original.

What if I decide not to attend the sale after pre-registering?

Nothing. We ask that you notify us if you decide not to attend, but it is not required.

What if I am late to the sale?

You can still check in and enter the courtroom after the sale has started, but you might miss an opportunity to bid on a parcel you are interested in.

Can I keep vehicles or other items that are on the property after getting a Collector’s Deed?

A Collector’s Deed only covers the land and any structures assessed as part of that land. You will need to speak to a lawyer about what to do with any other items. Boat docks are personal property and are not covered by a Collector's Deed.

What happens if I die before a Collector's Deed is issued?

Your heirs can continue the purchase process and receive a Collector's Deed, or the executor of your estate can assign the Certificate of Purchase to someone else and have a Collector's Deed issued to that person. (RSMo 140.430)

Can I assign my Certificate of Purchase to a minor?

No, the assignee must meet the same requirements as a purchaser, i.e. they must be 18 years of age or older. However, after being issued a Collector’s Deed, you can record a Beneficiary Deed that, upon your death, will transfer the property to the minor when they turn 18. The Collector’s Office cannot write a Beneficiary Deed for you.