Find out if you are in a Tax Deed or Tax Lien State.
A Tax Deed states auctions off real estate when property owners become delinquent on their taxes. A Tax Lien state sells tax certificates to investors when homeowners become delinquent on their property taxes. You can earn anywhere from 1% to more than 18% in some states. In my opinion Tax Deeds are the best investments because you get a deed to the property and you can resell it.
Florida is a Tax Deed and a Tax Lien state. We’ll walk you through the process with this real life example: A Tax Deed was purchased in Florida on a vacant commercial lot for $12,000. The assessed value on the lot was $32,000; the market value was $50-60,000. The prior owner lost the lot due to delinquent taxes.
Start by contacting the person in charge of the Tax Deed sales in your county.
In Florida, it’s the County Courthouse Clerk. Ask about how they conduct their tax sales. Find out what happens if a property goes to the auction and nobody bids on it.
The lot that was purchased in Fort Pierce, FL had been gone to sale and nobody purchased it. It then went on what they call, the List of Lands or Lands Available. Properties on this list can be bought over the counter for the opening bid amount. The opening bid is always the back taxes and whatever fees the court may have incurred as result of the sale. Before the investor purchased the lot they did our homework aka due diligence.
Look closely at the property’s file at the courthouse.
Here you will find the last title search the county purchased from a title company. You can purchase your own title search through a title company as well. You may also find information on any other outstanding liens. Because tax liens are superior to all other liens, all private liens get whipped off at the tax sale. So let’s say there was a mortgage, it gets wiped off. The only liens that stick to the property are federal, state, municipal and county liens. This includes code enforcement. You’ll want to contact code enforcement and make sure there are no outstanding lines. The lot the investor purchased had $12,000 in liens… but code enforcement reduced it to half $6,000 because they were happy someone bought it and cleaned it up and brought it current on taxes – which puts more money in the city’s budget. In addition you’ll want to check the zoning, building requirements, research environmental issues (if you don’t invest in property zoned industrial you shouldn’t have that problem) and find out what property similar to it is selling for. You should always visit the property as well.
Once you feel comfortable with the information you have, you can move forward.
The county will give you a payoff amount to purchase the property. They add interest every month while the property sits on the list. So you’ll have to wait for them to tabulate the interest for your date of purchase. You will be purchasing the property for the back taxes and a small fee. Often times you are buying at 20-30% of the market value.
Let’s say you’d also like to go to the auction as well as buy from the list.
Find out when the next auction is, get a list of properties being auctioned and do the same due diligence as above.
You should also find out what the rules for bidding are and how payment must be made. Most auctions require payment within 24 hours in certified funds. So you must have the money if you are the winning bidder. Auctions give you less time to do the research, but you have more properties to choose from.
Market your property to investment clubs, through realtors, newspaper ads etc.
Most times you can sell the property at a discount without title insurance. If you want to get title insurance, you’ll have to go through a quiet title process. A real estate attorney will handle it and it only cost a small amount. Once your quiet title is complete … usually about 3-6 months you can sell at full retail and make the most bang for your buck. In the case of the property in Fort Pierce, the investor waited until she had a buyer to do the quiet title. The buyer agreed to wait for the quiet title. The investor put a small down payment toward the quiet title; once it was complete the balance was paid at closing to the attorney. In this case the investor put $500 down and once it was complete she paid an additional $1000 at closing. They sold the lot for $49,000. They could have made more but it was their first tax deed and they just didn’t want to be greedy. Once they collected the $49,000 they subtract the costs – 1500 for the quiet title, 6.,000 for the lien, and 12,000 for the tax deed – they made about $30,000, not bad.
You’ll find more information about investing in tax deeds and investing in real estate like these on this website. OneStopLandShop.com
Sandra Edmond is a successful and experienced investor with Ardnas, Inc. Ardnas is an impressive real estate investing company which buys and sells vacant land throughout Florida and the U.S.