How best are outstanding taxes paid when you agree to pay buyer's taxes?

Hello everyone,

Just wondering: If someone agrees to sell their land under the pretense that I will pay off their outstanding tax bill, what is the best way to do this? One option would be to up the offer price to cover the bill and have them pay it. If one doesnt do this, then do the taxes automatically get transferred to the buyer when the transaction is complete? I was thinking that the seller wouldnt be able to sell if they have outstanding taxes, but maybe that isnt the case. Thanks!


Whoops! I meant to say “seller” in the title (not buyer)

@rmiller1291, assuming that you are closing through a title/escrow company, they will collect the money to pay the taxes from whichever party is designated to pay them (seller or buyer) and will ensure that they are paid before the transfer of title from seller to buyer occurs.

I have not done much in the way of self-closing, so others can correct me if I misstate something, but generally I expect that you, as buyer, would very much want to pay the back taxes to the county, yourself, to ensure that they are actually paid.

I don’t know that this is exactly what you were suggesting, but assuming for a moment that you, as buyer, paid the back tax money to the seller, on the expectation that they would pay the back taxes before you pay them the balance of funds for the purchase and close out the transaction. What’s to stop the seller from walking away with your money and not proceeding with the transaction? Aside from the fact that there are unfortunately plenty of dishonest people in the world, they could also get hit by a bus right after cashing your check for the tax money.

You need to have control over your funds, either directly (if self-closing) or through a qualified unbiased third party (title company), until you know the property is being transferred with taxes made current and clear title.

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@dl7573 I had the same question. Thanks for answering.