Bidders are REQUIRED to PRE-REGISTER IN PERSON with the Tax Claim Bureau at 399 Stadium Drive, 3rd floor, Sunbury, PA. Registration deadline is 4:00 pm ten days prior to the scheduled sale date. A non-refundable registration fee of $50.00 per bidder will be charged for each sale registration.

1. UPSET SALE – This sale is held every September. At least one year’s taxes or a portion thereof, must be delinquent for a period of almost 2 years. Properties are sold subject to whatever liens and encumbrances are against the property, with the exception of those liens (state or federal tax liens, municipal liens, and corporate liens) which we are mandated to include in the Upset Price. The list for the Upset Sale is published in the News Item, the Daily Item, the Milton Standard, and the Northumberland County Legal Journal, at least thirty days prior to the sale. Any property whose taxes are paid in full prior to the time of sale will not be offered for sale.

2. PRIVATE SALE – Any property exposed to, but not sold at Upset Sale is available for purchase through a private sale. A bid must be submitted in writing to the Northumberland County Tax Claims Bureau which will be forwarded to the Commissioners for consideration. By amendment to the Real Estate Tax Sale Law we may not sell property to anyone having delinquent taxes on any property they own in Northumberland County or having municipal bills outstanding for one year. Private Sales are done on a limited basis so that we can concentrate on preparing Judicial Sales. Private sales are also Buyer Beware situations, as properties are sold subject to all liens and encumbrances. We strongly recommend that potential purchasers have a title search done prior to submitting a bid. Private Sale bids will be submitted for approval by the Commissioners on a quarterly basis. This policy allows bidders to share advertising expenses. The approximate time frame for completion of a Private Sale is 3 – 6 months, barring objections to the sale, which would extend the time frame.

3. JUDICIAL SALE – These are “ free and clear ” sales; however, the Tax Claim Bureau NEVER guarantees title to any property sold by us, at any type of sale. The advantage of this type of sale, from the purchaser’s viewpoint, is that the properties are sold free and clear of liens and encumbrances, to the best of our ability. A Judicial Sale requires a tremendous amount of work, including, but not limited to, a title search, a petition presented to the Court of Common Pleas, and Sheriff’s service on all owners and lien holders. Judicial Sales are not held by any set schedule but must be held at least once a year. Although these types of sales are advertised as “free and clear”, it is highly recommended that a title search by done by any potential buyer.
Pennsylvania Real Estate Tax Sale Law (section 616) Mandatory Judicial Sale—If within the period of ten (10) months after the date of the scheduled upset sale, the bureau has not filed a petition for a judicial sale under section 610 or the property has not been sold at a private sale, the bureau shall, within the next immediately following two (2) months, file a petition for judicial sale of the property in the manner set forth in section 610.


4. REPOSITORY SALE – Any property unsold at Judicial Sale may be sold at a repository sale without further notice to the property owner. We are required to give the municipality and school district an opportunity to object to the purchase, if they have reason to do so. To the best of our ability, these properties are also sold “free and clear” of all tax and municipal claims, mortgages, liens, and charges and estates of whatsoever kind. As always, CAVEAT EMPTOR (BUYER BEWARE) applies. The advantages to a Repository sale are that the sale price, rather than the assessed value, determines the amount of transfer tax, and the sale price becomes the fair market value of the property until it is changed as part of a county-wide reassessment, sold or improved.

A sale date will be announced pending approval of the municipality and school district in the location of each property.  The sale will be published in the local news papers but lists will only be available on line or may be purchased for $10.00 in our office.

Minimum bid is $500.00 for lots and houses and $300.00 for mobile homes.  The approximate time frame for completion of a Repository Sale is generally 6 to 8 weeks. Payment in full is due the day of the sale and does not include recording or transfer fees. 

Once a property has gone through the Repository sale, it will be available through “SEALED BID”. Minimum bid for a “sealed bid” will be $100.00.  Please use a Repository Offer form and submit your bid to the Tax Claim Bureau.  Please mark “SEALED BID-REPOSITORY” on the outside of the envelope.   All sealed bids must be accompanied by a certified check or money order for the amount of the bid.  All bids will be time stamped upon receipt and will be reviewed on the last day of each quarter.  Deposits from unsuccessful bidders will be refunded within two weeks of review.

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