This information is unique for the State of Pennsylvania. Other states will most likely use other terminology; in other words, if you ask about repository sales outside of Pennsylvania, people might not know what you are talking about.
The State of Pennsylvania conducts three kinds of tax sales in sequence:
Upset Sale – Public oral auction setting – live bidding on site
Judicial Sale – Also a public oral auction – live bidding on site
Repository Sale – This is the third kind of sale for properties that
make it through the first two levels unsold. This sale accepts
mailed-in bids, making it possible to participate from out of state.
To obtain a list of properties for the Repository Sale:
Make contact with the various counties within Pennsylvania with the
exception of Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties, which do not conduct
repository sales. You will find that county government Web sites are not
wide spread in Pennsylvania, so much of your contacting will have to be
on the telephone.
Speak with a person in the “Tax Claim Bureau” of each county.
Enquire about a list of Repository Properties. Occasionally a county will have none. If so, add this county to your calendar to call at a future date. The person you are talking to may be able to tell you when that county will have properties available.
When properties are available, ask about the purchase procedure. At that time you can also find out how can you get a list of these properties? You would like the county to send you a list of the properties if the list is not online. Many times they will expect you to walk in and pick up a list, even thought that might require a 1500 mile journey. Explain that you are out of state and will not be in the area.
If they refuse to email, fax, mail, or make it available online,
offer to send a self addressed stamped envelope.
Ask what arrangements they would make for a handicapped
person (this is Federal law), and point out that although you are
not handicapped, they could still do the same for you.
If they still refuse ask for a department manager (or call back
and ask for a department manager).
GET THE LIST! Don’t take no for an answer.
If the county charges for the list find out how many properties
are available to ensure it is worth the cost. If there is a charge
you will find it isn’t very much.