Picayune family home sold for $236 after housing lot mix-up

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PICAYUNE, Miss. (WLOX) – What’s in a number? Well, when it’s the difference between owning your own house or a vacant lot next door, it’s a lot.

A Picayune family was notified last week that their home had been sold in an overdue tax sale for $236. Now the family is hoping for a solution that will allow them to keep their house, as well as their money.

“Right now I don’t own my home, Viking Investments does,” Tiffany Ingram said.

Viking Investments purchased the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home for a whopping $236 in a delinquent tax sale. But they thought they were buying empty land.

Tiffany Ingram, left, and her mother, Ava Carver, stand outside the Hunters Trace neighborhood home in Picayune that Ingram bought in 2019.(John Fitzhugh)

“I owned the land next to the house and not the land the house was on,” Ingram said.

It appears that the builder, Benchmark Home Builders, built the house on the wrong lot. And since the builder sold the house, the company stopped paying taxes. Ingram, however, was paying taxes on an imaginary house next door.

Pearl River County tax assessor’s records show that there were homes on both lots of the Hunters Trace subdivision, although one was clearly empty.

“They documented there was a house on the vacant lot, and a house, obviously, where my house is,” Ingram said. “Instead of fixing it and saying the house was in the wrong place.”

Meanwhile, the outstanding tax notices were not being given to anyone, and the county put the land up for sale. This brings us to last week.

I walked up to my front door and saw a note sticking out that said Viking Investments and that gave me three days to leave,” Ingram said.

Worse still, the family had recently put the house up for sale and the property snafu scared off five potential buyers.

Ingram gets no answers from the county, the builder, or the investment company that now owns his home.

“They leave me freaking out and feeling like I’m homeless, and I don’t think that’s fair,” Ingram said.

WLOX News Now spoke to the developer and investor who purchased the property. Both assured us that they would find a way to fix the problem without Ingram losing his house or any money.

A Pearl River County official said the tax sale would be canceled, but the land title transfer would be more difficult.

“No one called me and said ‘hey Miss Ingram, this is what we’re doing to fix this. We’re taking care of it, don’t panic. No one contacted me,’ he said. she declared.

We asked the tax assessor to explain how the empty lot was assessed as if there was a house on it, we were referred to the county attorney who did not return our request for comment.

There is even more confusion about what is in the neighborhood. The address on Tiffany Ingram’s mailbox is number 88.

But when the power company came to hook up the power, the worker told her the address was number 80. Now, Ingram says she’s been told her house number should be 78.

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