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Tax Sale Auction Investing

Investing in property through tax sale auctions represents a sound investment opportunity. The first step in making money off of these homes is learning about the process and exactly how the properties are offered at such steep discounts.

When homeowners get into difficult financial times, larger bills are some of the first that they skip. When property taxes come due, many choose to ignore them. However, the government is not known for its leniency when it comes to those who do not pay their bills, and properties that have back taxes on them will be sold to pay back that money. Investors can take advantage of a tax sale to get a home or other property at far below the normal retail price.

Before a tax sale, the home’s owner is given plenty of notice and numerous opportunities to pay back what is owed, but in some situations, the distressed homeowner simply cannot redeem the property. in this case, the county government must step in and attempt to collect what is owed in a different way, usually through an auction.

Investors benefit from these auctions by purchasing properties at a huge discount. In these auctions, the county places the property for sale with a starting bid equal to the bill owed on it. Investors bid on the right to own the lien or a special tax deed on the home. If the homeowner decides to repay the debt, the investor receives the principal as well as any interest the state or city government charges. This turns into a nice profit in some areas.

More often, however, the homeowner will not be able to redeem the property by paying the bill. In this case, after a set period of time, the investor who won the property at the tax sale can then foreclose on the property and take it completely. This turns into a very profitable situation, because the investor has ownership of a property while only paying the back taxes on it. The investor can then use the property as his or her own home or turn around and sell it at or below market value for a potentially huge profit. Either way, as long as the bidding does not go to high during the auction, investors find these homes to be solid investment opportunities.

The rules governing a tax sale are typically drawn by the county governments. In some areas, homeowners do not get the chance to redeem the property, but rather the home itself, not a lien or special deed, is what is auctioned off for the price of the back taxes. If you are interested in this investment venue, take the time to research the laws and regulations in your area. Understanding the process completely at the beginning is essential to maximizing your investment potential.

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Tax Sale Auctions can be confusing. To simplify the process, CivicSource provides online auctions. For information see

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