Tax sales question [long response] - Posted by Ronald * Starr
Posted by Ronald * Starr on July 10, 2001 at 16:48:35:
I received this e-mail and post it for general consideration, seeing no problem with personal privacy.
Reply-to: "Alan Kreglow"
From: “Alan Kreglow” | Block Address | Add to Address Book
Subject: How do you find properties to bid on in tax sales?
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2001 10:23:59 -0500
I noticed you mentioned in a recent post on CREOnline that you bid at tax sales.
“As I’ve said before, bidding at the tax sales is my kind of negotiation.
When I see your postings, I feel good. You’re not some crazy. You give good advice. And let me give you some advice – don’t bid against me at a tax sale.”
How do you find properties to bid on in tax sales? Do you just bid on properties in your local area, or do you travel around to tax sales in different states?
I have looked into tax sales as a source of bargain properties, but I was stopped by the relative non-availability of things to bid on locally here in Iowa and the problem of researching properties at a distance seemed a bit daunting.
– Alan Kreglow
First, I hope you understand that the “advice” I gave was intended to be humorous. Anybody has the right to bid against me at any tax sale.
Most of the properties that come up to the tax sales that I attend are vacant land or lots. At the sales these days I only buy houses which I think I can rent.
It is easy to get a list of the properties which are scheduled for a tax sale, from the treasurer’s/tax collector’s office–maybe even on the internet–or from the newspaper advertisement. If the assessor’s/appraiser’s office has an online site, one can pull up the properties from the list and eliminate the ones one does not want to bid upon.
I recommend seeing all properties before bidding upon them. That means a trip to the county prior to the sale. After seeing the properties and eliminating ones you don’t want to bid upon, you may want to go into more in-depth research in the county or city records and more. Zoning, planning, nuisance abatement, environmental health, utilities, etc.
Then bid at the sale.
If there are no records online, I recommend that you plan to go to the county early enough to do your research before the sale. You will soon learn how long it takes you to do research if the list is 20 properties lone, 50 properties, or 300. Then you can plan accordingly.
I have been to tax auctions in only a few states: CA, OR, WA, NV, TX, OK. I have bought certificaters in MI, AZ, WY, and OK. I am now concentrating my buying in CA, where I live, and OK, where I can get rent houses at what seem to me to be cheap prices.
Yes, I would not expect there to be very many good properties at any one sale. I recommend that you get as many sale lists as you can and work only those counties that seem promising. You might also work a county which is near a promising county, just because it is convenient. After a while, you are likely to find some counties to be better than others.
However, you can never tell when there will be a good deal in a county which has previously shown little promise. This year the Grady County, OK, tax resale had only 6 properties, none of which where houses–so I did not attend. Only one bidder showed up, so that bidder got three properties at the minimum bid. Perhaps the other three were not very good. When I attended that sale two years ago, there were about 12 properties on the sale and only one house – which I bought after competitive bidding.
Good InvestingRon Starr**********