Page loading

2024 Realauction Tax Certificate Sale Auction
Frequently Asked Questions


As a bidder, what is required of me?
It is the responsibility of the bidder to:
1)  Be completely familiar with the pertinent tax certificate sections of the Arizona Statutes and the Tax Certificate Process.
2)  Research each property thoroughly prior to placing a bid.
3)  Conform to all deposit, registration or payment deadlines if applicable.

  All bids placed, whether intentional or not, are the responsibility of the bidder.


What is a Tax Lien?
A tax lien is a security interest on a property for unpaid real estate taxes, assessments, penalties, advertising costs and fees. If a property owner fails to pay the delinquent taxes and fees, the Treasurer must offer a tax certificate for purchase at the tax certificate sale. A tax certificate only represents a tax lien on the property and does not convey or promise to convey ownership of the property.


Where can I find more information about tax liens and certificate auctions?
Delinquent taxes, tax liens and the sale of tax certificates at public auction for unpaid taxes are administered by the County Treasurer and provided for in Title 42, Chapter 18 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.

  It is the bidder's responsibility to know the law governing these sales prior to participating in a tax certificate sale.


I am not a US citizen. Will I still be able to participate in the sale?
Some counties will only accept bidder registrations for U.S. persons or other U.S. entities as defined in IRS Form W-9. For those counties, registrations utilizing an ITIN or foreign registrants requiring IRS Form W-8 or any other non-US registration type will not be accepted.

  Any bidder who knowingly registers improperly shall have their winnings reversed by the Treasurer and the user’s account will be disabled.

Please visit the Bidding Rules page to determine if this county permits the registration of foreign bidding entities.


What equipment and software will I need?
There is no special software or hardware needed. In order to participate, bidders must have a computer with access to the Internet. For those without Internet access, computers will be available for public use at designated locations in the county. only supports the latest two versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. No other web browsers are supported.

Please visit the Bidding Rules page for information regarding public access in this county.


Is training available for the auction software and how do I get it?
Bidder training classes will be held live via the Internet once a week for several weeks prior to the close of the auction. These webinar classes generally last about 2 hours and cover use of the web site only.

Please visit the training page for additional information on upcoming bidder training classes.


What is a batch?
The certificates being advertised are sold individually and in the order they are advertised. However, in order to make the bidding process more manageable, certificates are divided into groups called "batches".


How much does it cost to participate?
Deposits - There is no fee to participate, however, many counties require a deposit equal to a percentage of the total face amount of certificates the bidder anticipates winning.

For example: If a bidder anticipates winning $100,000 in tax certificates and if that county requires a 10% deposit, they must deposit $10,000 with the Treasurer.

Budgets - Some counties do not require a deposit. Instead, the bidder creates a “budget” based on the total face amount of certificates they anticipate winning. The budget must be created before bids can be placed.

  A deposit or budget will limit how much a bidder can win no matter how many bids are placed. Once the bidder has won certificates equal to the amount of their budget or equal to the amount represented by their deposit ($100,000 in the above example) all other bids placed will be ignored.

Please visit the Bidding Rules page for the deposit or budget requirement for this county.


How do I pay for my deposit and certificates purchased?
Payment methods vary for each county and include one or more of the following options:
    1. ACH (electronic check)
    2. Wire transfer
    3. Cash
    4. Cashier’s check
    5. Money order

ACH (Automated Clearing House) - If the county accepts ACH (electronic check) transactions as a deposit or payment method, fund transfers will be made on this web site, using the ACH wizard provided. Bank accounts utilized to create electronic check transactions must allow ACH debits. 

Unless otherwise specified, ACH transactions generated on this site are "one-time" only authorizations. If you are a successful bidder and owe money to the Treasurer, you must initiate a separate ACH transaction, in the time allotted, to make your final payment.

Some counties have adopted an auto-debit policy for final payments whereby bidders complete an ACH pre-authorization form prior to placing bids.  At the close of the sale, successful bidders are automatically debited for their final payment using the bank account information provided in the pre-authorization.

Wire transfers and counter payments - Wire transfers, cash, cashier’s checks and money orders may also be accepted, however, these forms of payment are not processed online and must be delivered to the designated Treasurer's office by the date/time specified.

   It is the bidder’s responsibility to make all deposits and payments in the time specified using the payment method(s) permitted. There will be NO exceptions.

  Some banks charge a handling fee for wire transactions. It is the bidder’s responsibility to add any additional fees (if required) to the amount wired to ensure full payment reaches the Treasurer’s account in the time allotted.

Please visit the Bidding Rules page for the deposit/payment methods permitted and/or the ACH policy utilized in this county.


When does the auction start and end? How does the auction work?
The auction web site generally opens for registration, deposits, research and preliminary bidding approximately 3-4 weeks prior to the official auction date. The day of the auction, as each batch closes, preliminary bids are submitted and made official.

The auction officially begins when the certificates in batch 1 are awarded. Each subsequent batch will close every 30-60 minutes (depending on the county) until the last batch closes when the auction ends.

If you are monitoring the site on the day of the sale, you will be able to see what you have purchased at the end of each batch and may adjust your bids on any batches that have not closed.

Please visit the Bidding Rules page for the auction dates and times in this county.


How does the bidding work?
Auction participants enter their lowest acceptable bid for a certificate. Valid bids may be entered between 0 and 16% in 1% increments.

At the close of each batch, the auction software evaluates all bids with a valid budget/deposit and the certificate is awarded to the bidder with the lowest interest rate bid.

  It is the bidder’s responsibility to research properties prior to placing bids.

  Certificates with a 0% interest rate bid do not accrue interest.


What is a direct bid auction? What is a proxy bid auction?
Direct bid auction - Auction participants place the lowest acceptable bid for a tax certificate, and if you are the lowest bidder, you will be awarded the certificate at the interest rate you bid.

Proxy bid auction - Auction participants enter their lowest acceptable bid for a tax certificate. The auction system then checks all other bids and enters a bid on your behalf at 1% less than the next lowest bidder. The system stops entering bids on your behalf when you either win the auction or your lowest acceptable bid is reached.
Note: In some counties, if a 0% bid is placed, it does not use the proxy bidding system and the bid will be entered as a direct bid at 0% interest.

Please visit the Bidding Rules page to determine if direct or proxy bidding is utilized and how 0% bids are handled in this county.


What happens if I exhaust my budget/deposit while I still have active bids?
Any bids remaining after your deposit/budget is exhausted will be ignored. Deposits must be authorized on the web site no later than the deposit due date/time specified.


Can I have more than one bidding account?  Can I register multiple bidding entities?
Primary accounts - Upon registration, a single bidder account or "Primary" account is created for each User. This is typically all you will need to become a bidder and participate in one of the tax certificate sales. Most counties will allow users to register and manage multiple Primary accounts.

Single Simultaneous Bidding Entity - Some counties have adopted a Single Simultaneous Bidding Entity rule which states that each User (bidding entity) shall register only once for the purpose of bidding on or purchasing tax certificates, AND, shall not have a financial, legal or contractual relationship with any other bidder (bidding entity) registered in that county.

Sub-accounts - In some counties, users may add additional accounts under their Primary. These are known as Sub-accounts and allow one buyer to easily administer multiple bidder accounts.  If the county permits them, they may be added using the Sub-account tool provided. All deposit, budget and bid actions performed by the Primary will be automatically replicated to all sub-accounts associated with that account.

Please visit the Bidding Rules page to determine if to determine if multiple bidder accounts or sub-accounts are permitted in this county.


What is a rollup?
At the end of an auction, all certificates won by sub-accounts are electronically assigned to the primary account. This transfer is known as a rollup.

Note: Some counties charge a fee per certificate for this transfer which will be added to the amount due to the Treasurer.

Please visit the Bidding Rules page to determine if rollups are used and, if so, if a fee per certificate is charged in this county.


Can other participants see my bids?


What happens in case of a tie bid?
A tie is created when two or more primary accounts bid the same interest rate.  In the case of a tie, a winning bidder will be selected at random by the auction software.


What happens if I don’t pay for successful bids?
If the successful bidder fails to pay for certificates purchased for any reason, the deposit (where applicable) shall be forfeited, all bids will be cancelled and future bidding privileges may be revoked.

  All bids placed, intentional or not, are the responsibility of the bidder.


What happens to leftover deposit money?
Deposit money is used to pay for certificates won.

Any deposit money not credited toward winning bids will be returned to the bidder approximately two (2) weeks after the close of the auction.

For deposits made via ACH, refunds will be credited to the most recent bank account utilized to make a successful funds transfer. For all other forms of deposit, the county typically issue will a paper refund check, mailed to the address associated with the bidder’s auction account.


What happens to unsold certificates?
Certificates that were not sold during the auction are struck to the county. These county-held certificates will become available for purchase once the auction is closed and balanced. Some counties may offer their county-held certificates for sale online on this web site. 

Please contact Customer Service for additional information on over-the-counter purchases of certificates in this county.


How do I get started?
Click here to register. The step by step wizard will guide you through the registration process in just a few minutes.


How do I contact Customer Service?
Click here for Customer Service.