Texas - Tax sale property questions

Wondered if anyone had an opinion on the following:
I am trying to buy a small lot from a guy and he bought the property at a Sheriff’s Tax sale 6 years ago. He will sell me the lot for around $1K and I am trying to avoid getting Title Insurance which would up my cost considerasbly since he won;t pay for it. I went to court house and Deed is in his name and previous owner before him was first buyer when property was all sub divided and platted in the subdivision years ago.
I guess my question is if anyone thinks this is risky. I am planning on letting him just get a lawyer to issue me Warranty Deed and that is all. The property is on his name only, but he is married. Does anyone think his wife’s name should be on the Deed as well?


Howdy Texex:

If married get wife to sign especially in community property states. Buy a policy if you are concerned. It should be cheap on a $1000 lot. Have you gotten a price from a title company?

If you do not do this at least check the seller for judgments and tax liens etc at the courthouse. Did the seller get a policy when he bought it. If so he would be covered for any prior title defects.

What are your plans for the lot? You could get a policy when you sell after building or ???

With the warranty deed he will warrant that he has clear title but you may have to sue him to collect any defects also. Get him to sign a affidavit also that there are no liens on the land too at time of sale.


Thanks… There is a minimum price on the policies. Getting one will add about $250-300 to price. I know he won’t pay it. He bought property 6 yrs. ago at a County Delinquent tax sale auction. Title should have been cleared then, no need for policy. From what I have read when the County issues a Tax warrant and sells a property it takes precedent over all others and wipes them out upon sale.
I did talk to the County and while the current taxes are not paid yet, there are no other outstanding taxes due.
I mainly want the lot for protection as it adjoins mine.
It will increse my overall value for sure. Because of the prop. shape and building restrictions I don’t believe anyone could build a house on it.
The guy seems to be hedging now, he hasn’t returned my call from 4 days ago. He is either trying to jack up price or hiding something.
Appreciate your comments.


I believe that you may have a couple of misconceptions. The first one is that the lot could not have a house built on it because of the shape of the lot. If the property was subdivided into a lot, then it can be built upon. It might be a very strange shaped house to make it conform to the current city ordinances, but a separate lot can be built upon. I would recommend that you talk to your city zoning official to find out the particulars of the situation.

The other possible misconception might be that the wife will have to sign the deed because the property is in a community property state. I am going out on a limb here because of your handle and assume that you are in Texas. Texas only requires both spouses to sign on a deed if the property is their homestead. Since this lot has no house on it, it cannot be their homestead, therefore his wife would not need to sign the deed.

Personally, I think that I would not worry about the title insurance. If there is a problem with the title, all they are going to pay you is the $1k that you paid for the property. If you cannot afford to lose the $1k then you should not buy the property to start with.


Wilson, Thanks for your comments… Yes I am in Texas.
I suppose that you could build a house on the property, but the deed restrictions have a sq. ft minimum and the city requires at least a one car carport. What I actually mean is that nobody is going to want to build a new house on it alone. I seemed to have scared the guy off since he hasn’t returned my call in 5 days.