Most local government websites list details of upcoming tax lien auctions. These will typically be found on either the county auditor’s website or that of the county sheriff.
Also known as tax lien sales, these auction lists normally provide not only the date of auction and the properties, but also the deposit required for bidding, and the amount of the specific tax owed. This number will provide you an idea of the likely opening and winning bid. Keep in mind that interest and fees normally accrue daily, so the original number you view will likely rise on a daily basis.
In addition to websites, local authorities will usually publish upcoming tax lien auctions in local newspapers and occasionally regional publications. Those searching for tax sale auctions in their local communities may also visit the tax office, sheriff’s office, or auditor’s office in the county courthouse and view the list of upcoming auctions posted in those facilities. If possible, this is the best way to check for updates regularly as property owners may pay their tax liability at any time previous to the auction and yank the property from the auction block.
Research Tax Lien Sales
Tax lien properties available for sale are sold “as-is” and normally are not available for inspection prior to the auction. It is necessary for you to conduct due diligence on your own, while also estimating factors like the age of the property, neighborhood, and any changes in zoning, etc. that are pending and likely to affect the future value of the land and/or structure.
Tax Auction Buyer Requirements
It is crucial that you pay close attention to the buyer requirements demanded by the local government and adhere to those rules and procedures exactly. You may find it necessary to register with the local tax entity previous to the sale and you’ll have to discover their specific requirements concerning the deposit, like whether it must be in cash, money order, or cashier’s check.
Make sure you are fully aware of all the rules of the tax lien sale, including the length of time that the property owner may legally claim to pay the tax amount and penalties back to you and thus retain ownership of the property. Also, different municipalities and tax entities will vary in the amount of time they allow you to pay your bid in full to the government, so if cash flow is a potential hindrance to you, smart planning is of the utmost importance.
Whether you attend the auction in-person or by proxy, smart buyers establish a maximum bid for all properties they’re interested in BEFORE the auction and adhere to that strictly. Make a list, write it down, take it with you, and stay disciplined.
Smart & Disciplined
You should have already ascertained the true value of the property through research, so do not allow yourself to get caught up in the “competition” of an auction bidding war and overpay for the land and/or building.
While it’s entirely possible that you’ll be able to take possession of the property relatively soon, be flexible and understand that your plans may be delayed. An angry (former) landowner may refuse to leave the property, forcing you to initiate eviction proceedings, a legal action that could take anywhere from a month to 60 days or more.
Searching for tax lien properties for sale can be a profitable way to engage in the business of real estate and find exceptional bargains. But, like most things, it can be a competitive arena and demands research and attention to detail.