Description of Parcels for Sale
The parcels in the public auction catalog are organized by county, sale date & time. Each parcel is identified by a sale number & these sale numbers run consecutively throughout this catalog. Within each county, parcels are arranged alphabetically using the record owner’s last name printed in BOLD LETTERS. The next item is the legal description certified by the county collector to the Commissioner of State Lands office. This same legal description will appear on the limited warranty deed. After the legal description, any additional legal claim or lien information attached to the parcel & known by the Commissioner of State Lands is recorded. The last item of information included in each entry is the delinquent tax owed on the parcel. The tax due amount represents the minimum bid required to purchase the parcel and is calculated through the date of sale.
The property listed in the public auction catalog are categorized as: (1) acreage, (2) improvements only, & (3) subdivided lots. Legal descriptions which describe acreage have several components. The first part describes where the parcel is located. Example: N1/2 SW1/4 SE1/4 means the North Half of the Southwest Quarter of the Southeast Quarter. The second part notes the section, township, & range, respectively, where the parcel is located. Example: 8 7N 16W means Section 8 of Township 7 North Range 16 West. The last part of the legal description is the parcel number or the number assigned to the property by the county assessor. If the parcel number is not available or does not exist a “N/A” is noted. The “code” which appears in this section refers to the page & line number where the entry is recorded on the certification in the Commissioner of State Lands office. The last number of the code refers to the original year of delinquency.
Subdivided Lots are also listed in this publication. The description of these lands is characterized by the lot & block number, the addition or subdivision, & or town. The parcel & code number are the same as above.
Improvements Only are structures of some nature which have been assessed as real property while the land on which they are located has been separately assessed for its value. They are usually described by their location on acreage or subdivided lots. The parcel & code number are the same as above. If a property address is listed in a parcel description, it is for informational purposes only. It is not a part of the legal description & therefore should not be relied on to determine the location of the parcel.
Legal descriptions that do not fully describe the property being conveyed can result in a limited warranty deed being declared null & void. A legal description containing the use of the term part or fractional is generally insufficient. Buyers are urged to consider the adequacy of a legal description prior to purchasing a parcel.
Title to tax delinquent property is conveyed from the Commissioner of State Lands by a limited warranty deed. The Commissioner of State Lands cannot & does not insure or warrant that the title conveyed is clear or marketable. In most cases, the purchaser will be required to file a legal proceeding to quiet the title or confirm the title before the title is marketable. Costs of such proceedings should be considered prior to purchasing tax delinquent land.
Per Act 2270 of 2005, title to property sold at a tax sale is marketable if: 1.) the tax deed has been filed for more than fifteen (15) years; 2.) taxes have been paid by the grantee, heirs or successors for more than fifteen (15) years; 3.) no claim of adverse possession has been made; 4.) taxes for which the tax deed were issued were not paid. This law does not prevent tax sale purchasers from filing suit prior to the fifteen (15) years in order to obtain marketable title.
Liens & Mortgages
Arkansas law requires the Commissioner of State Lands to notify all interested parties known by the Commissioner of State Lands of a tax sale. The law defines an interested party as someone who holds title to or interest in the property at the time of certification to the Commissioner of State Lands. Therefore, lienholders whose interest in the property is of record at the time of certification are interested parties & entitled to notice of the sale. In the event the Commissioner of State Lands does not provide proper notice to such lienholders, they then have the right to challenge the tax sale.
The Commissioner of State Lands does not always have access to information identifying lienholders or interested parties. Consequently, proper notice of these parties is not guaranteed. The Commissioner of State Lands urges & recommends that buyers perform their own research as to the existence of such parties & then compare that information to records of notice maintained by the Commissioner of State Lands.
Additionally, liens or encumbrances held by municipalities & improvement districts are most likely not extinguishable even in the case where proper notice has been given.
The Commissioner of State Lands strongly urges prospective purchasers to research all properties at the county level before purchasing. Purchasers should determine the location & size of the parcel & check for liens, mortgages, & other taxes or assessments that may be due, but not collected by this office. The State of Arkansas cannot & does not guarantee title, access, or existence to any property sold through public auction or negotiated sales. Further, all purchasers are urged to conduct independent reviews of property records.
Thirty (30) days after a public auction, parcels offered, but not sold, are available for sale through the Commissioner of State Lands office. You may request a list of properties available for a specific county by writing to the Commissioner of State Lands or by calling the Real Estate Division at 501-324-9422 | Fax: 501-324-9424. The cost is fifty cents ($.50) per page. You will be invoiced for the list when it is mailed to you. The lists are now available on our website at www.cosl.org at no charge. Please click on "Post Auction Sales Lists" on the home page or the “Publications” menu for easy access. The lists are updated daily.
All monies collected in excess of the taxes, penalties, interest, fees & costs may be claimed by the delinquent owners one year after the sale of their property. The former owners must prove they were the owners of the parcel at the time of the sale & sign a deed of release relinquishing their interest & claim to the property. Former owners should contact the Commissioner of State Lands one year after the sale for the appropriate paperwork.
The first $100 for each parcel you purchase must be paid in cash, cashier’s check or money order. The remainder may be paid by personal check or any of the payment methods already listed.