Ted Thomas Tax Lien Course? - Posted by Ronald * Starr

Posted by Paul_MA on July 11, 2001 at 02:02:29:


The best exit strategy for vacant parcels IS selling them for 50-60% of market value. It is best to have some knowledge of the surrounding market too.

When I first started in tax sales, I bought lots that were 50x100 feet out in the middle of no where for pennies on the dollar. You couldn’t see any houses from these lots because they were surrounded by 25+ acre parcels. I sold a few, but there was generally no market for them. Now I will only buy 2+ acre minimum parcels in rural districts.

And I tried many Dave Del Dotto exit strategys. I tried marketing them in Trinidad, Middle East and Hong Kong before the British lease ended. Never got a single response.

The best idea, if you actively buy houses is to trade the vacant lot at assessed value as the down payment or part of the purchase price.

I was given a lot in Sleepy Hollow Estates, NY that the owner paid $10000 for in 1990. Having a tough time dumping that one, even at $1500!!

Ted Thomas Tax Lien Course? - Posted by Ronald * Starr

Posted by Ronald * Starr on July 10, 2001 at 12:19:21:

From: “Steven Downing” | Block Address | Add to Address Book
I received the following questiong in an E-mail. I see no personal privacy matters here, so will answer in public.

------THE E-MAIL--------*
Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2001 16:59:34 -0400

What do you know about Ted Thomas and his tax lien course. I was looking at getting started that way



I have not seen his course. If you check posts in the archives of this forum and the “Carleton Sheets” forum, you will find other people’s opinion of it. As I recall, they are pretty negative on the course.

Also, the fact that it is advertised on a TV imfomercial is a negative, as far as I am concerned.

The tax sale information I most strongly endorse id John Beck’s “Free and Clear Course,” although it has a lot of typographical errors and other errors in the text. It covers the USA and Canada and USA providences and possessions, I believe. If you search the archives you will find references to where to order it.

The course or courses that I less enthuastically is Roy Stubblefield. He has separate books for each state. I would not recommend buying more than a couple of them. There is a lot of repetition between the different volumes, except for the specific things related to the state, such as the state statutes related to tax sales. If you search his name on the net, you will easily find him.

Good Investing******Ron Starr*********

Run like the wind… - Posted by MatthewC

Posted by MatthewC on July 10, 2001 at 23:41:02:

Ted Thomas? One quote comes to mind, “Run like the wind.”

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.

---------THE E-MAIL*-------*

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

Dear Ron,

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

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**********

Re: Ted Thomas Tax Lien Course? - Posted by Tim_AZ

Posted by Tim_AZ on July 10, 2001 at 14:27:51:

I’ve seen John Beck’s Free & Clear course advertised on an infomercial as well.

Re: Tax sales question [long response] - Posted by Alan Paine in Houston

Posted by Alan Paine in Houston on July 10, 2001 at 20:31:28:

What is your exit strategy on the vacant land? I would love to follow you to see how you do your research on these properties. I know this is not possible, but didn?t John Beck offer bootcamps a few years ago in Texas and Oklahoma? Does he still offer these? Have you considered this?

Thanks for another informative post

Re: Ted Thomas Tax Lien Course? - Posted by Ronald * Starr

Posted by Ronald * Starr on July 10, 2001 at 16:52:37:

Tim AZ----------

Yes, I’ve heard that it has been so advertised. I’ve never seen it myself. This is the only infomercial-adverised material I have ever bought or recommended.

Good Investing and Good Studying*****Ron Starr*******

Re: Ted Thomas Tax Lien Course? - Posted by bob

Posted by bob on July 10, 2001 at 14:48:52:

& the cost is only 39.95 + s&h

Re: Tax sales question [long response] - Posted by Ronald * Starr

Posted by Ronald * Starr on July 10, 2001 at 21:19:12:

Alain Paine in Houston-----------

Thanks for your question. I like to talk about tax sales.

I think, though, that there may be a misunderstanding here. I tried to say that I am NOT buying vacant lands these days at tax auctions. I am buying rental houses. This is my own program.

That does not mean that other people should not buy vacant land at tax auctions. Since that is most of what is sold, you would have a lot more potential purchases. Also, there is a higher probablity that you will get a property for the minimum bid or without being bid up too much.

Good improved properties will tend to get bid up a lot at the tax auctions. In CA, they typically sell for 60-75% of market value. Higher percents are common. In OK, it looks to me, from my limited experience there, that they often sell for about 40-50% of market value. Since I hate to pay 50% of market value for houses, I am buying in OK thsese days.

If you buy vacant land at tax auction, I recommend you pay no more than about 35-40% of market value. You also need to check on the possibility of getting title insurance on the properties and what it will cost for a quiet title action afterward to clear up your title to the point that you can market through the normal retail channels. If you decide to do that.

There are a lot of different ways to sell vacant land after you get it. I can’t enumerate them all. I know that Roy Stubblefield buys at taxsale and pre-taxsale and he sells properties for 50% of market value or less. That makes them move fast. John Beck has sold properties on E-Bay, as I understand it. There are some land auctions on e-bay now, but it looks to me as though they are not very successful. I am not an expert on that.

There are some companies in the Los Angeles CA area that buy tax sale properties then have big public auctions at hotel ballrooms with several hundred attendees. One couple that used to do that make an absolute fortune doing so. I don’t know how the current folks are doing. But they keep at it. I sometimes see one of them doing sales in the San Fran bay area, too. Maybe once or twice a year.

I have no exit strategies on my rental houses. I never have worried about exit strategies when I buy rental properties. I plan to die owning them. Then my heirs will have to deal with questions of exit strategies.

Yes, John Beck did do some training sessions in the field on tax lien buying and tax sale buying. I understand that they were good education and not too badly priced. In February 1990 I convinced him to do the training sessions in Phoenix for the Maricopa County tax certificate sale. We did it together. After that he did it several times more and also went to TX and OK.

However, that was not the first time that he had trained people on tax lien buying in a state distant from where we live, the San Fran Bay Area. He had taught a course on buying MI certificates in Detroit several years earlier. Most of the attendees there were local people. However, I went to the seminar and buying expedition in the MI State Treasurers office, as did a partner of mine from CA. Later I met a couple of other CA folk that took a similar seminar from him. The Phoenix training was the first one where all the participants were from out of that local area, as far as I know.

I have not heard of John doing those boot camps lately. He is busy doing tax sale buying in TX, he told me. However, you could call him up and ask him or his wife Joyce. Their phone number is (510) 523-1267.

I used to take people through the county government offices showing them how to research properties for upcoming foreclosure auctions. I have not done it for tax sales. I’m not ruling out the possibility, but don’t have any plans to do so now. I might be more inclined to write a book. That is probably a more efficient manner of passing on my knowledge to investors.

Good InvestingRon Starr*********

Re: Ted Thomas Tax Lien Course? - Posted by JoeKaiser

Posted by JoeKaiser on July 11, 2001 at 14:33:24:

But . . . you do have to fight off the follow-up telephone solicitors who want you to sign up for the personal training. My favorite line was, “what level of commitment would you interested in . . . $2k to $5k, $5k to $25k, or $25k to $50k” or something like that.

I thought the $50k might be a little too steep for most folks, me included.


Thanks for the clarification - Posted by Alan Paine in Houston

Posted by Alan Paine in Houston on July 10, 2001 at 21:38:13:

Your NOT buying vacant land. That makes more since to me. My question came from the misunderstanding. I was unclear of the best exits with vacant land.

I understand better your method. As always you have giving a better answer than was expected.

If you were to write the book/course I would buy it. Your audience is growing.

Again Thank you for your time and input.

Alan Paine