How Does A Short Sale Work

How does a short sale work?  Let’s define a short sale. Short sales are when lenders are willing to take less than is owed on a property due to owner economic and market conditions.

A bank will not approve a short sale for anybody. There are some conditions that must be met first.

  • The owner of the property must be behind on their mortgage payments.
  • The owner must have economic hardship (they can’t afford the payments anymore)
  • The current market value of the home must be less than the amount owed on the home.

Banks all have their own criteria that they follow, but the above list represents the basic criteria all banks use.  Even if a seller meets the above requirements, it still does not guarantee the bank will allow a short sale.

Banks that are struggling will often do all they legally can to collect all of the money that is owed.  This often results in the bank losing more than they would have lost with a short sale, but you can’t blame them for trying.

There is a misconception about short sales that since it is not a foreclosure the owner’s credit will not be damaged. This is not true.  The owner’s credit will suffer and they will not be able to get another mortgage for at least two years.

Other false information many borrowers are given by real estate agents in an effort to secure the listing is that they will not be responsible for the difference in what was owed and the amount the bank collected through the sale of the home.

The owner will be obligated to pay the difference unless the bank agrees in writing to forgive them of the responsibility.

If you are going through a short sale, make sure you understand what you are getting into. For more information about short sales visit

The Dark Side Of Tax Deed Investing

dark-deedIn most cases, owners have abandoned the properties that are coming up on the tax deed auction list.  Occasionally there will be someone that does not want to lose their home and will not leave voluntarily.  This can be a problem for investors looking to flip the property, especially out of state investors.

Before purchasing a property, it is essential to find out if the property is occupied or not.  If it is occupied, there is potential for a problem.  If it is vacant, there is less of a chance there will be an issue.

This is different for tax liens.  With tax liens, one of your requirements should be that it is occupied, but cause you want to be paid.

If you do purchase a property that is occupied, whether by the owner or a squatter, do not try to remove them yourself.  Contact the local sheriff’s department to find out the procedures for evicting them.  Usually notice must be served and then the Police can physically remove them.

Is some cases the occupant may be an elderly person with no family and no place to go.  If this is the case, try to work something out with them.  Allowing them to rent the property may be an option, but if they couldn’t pay there taxes, they probably won’t be able to pay the rent.

As an investor you will be made the villain if photographs of police dragging an elderly person from there former home make their way to the media.

Another dark side of tax deed investing can also happen at tax lien auctions.  Some investors can bully other bidders.  They find pleasure in bidding up items even if they have no intention of buying them.

They may also attempt to intimidate other bidders and keep them from bidding on the properties they want.  If you are buying the property to live in or develop, let the investors that are buying several properties know that you want the property to own and not as an investment. They will often refrain from bidding.  I know I do, unless there is a small number of properties and I need it to make the trip worth it.  They rarely will show the same consideration for other investors however.

At one auction another investor approached me and threaten to bid up all the properties I wanted unless I let him get two that he wanted.  I really didn’t appreciate the threat since I  had already won 25+ properties before he came to me so I was happy with the results up to that point.  Not bidding on two when they were all the same to me wouldn’t have made a difference.  It just happened that the two properties he wanted, weren’t on my list of properties I wanted.  I was tempted to bid on his anyway because of the threat.  If he then bid on mine, I was going to let him have them since I knew he didn’t want them.

I decided not to be spiteful and just bid on the properties I wanted and everyone was happy.

For the most part, tax deed and tax lien investing is fun and profitable, but there may be instances that can take the pleasure and profit from the experience.  Do your research and most of the problems will be avoided.

If you are ready to start investing in tax deeds or tax liens, visit for more information.

What To Avoid With Tax Liens

avoid-tax-liensWhat to avoid with tax liens.  Tax liens are created when a property owner fails to pay their property taxes.  The county places a lien on the property for taxes owed plus fees and interest.  The county will often auction the liens off to investors in order to get the back taxes paid quickly.

You may already know how profitable tax liens can be to a investor, but they can also be a nightmare if you are not careful with your due diligence.  Here are just a few things to check before purchasing a tax lien.

Is the lien coming from the county or state or is it coming from a third-party.  If you are purchasing the tax lien directly from the county then you can be assured that it is a legal lien.  Counties do not do the research for you.  You will still need to find out what other liens on are the title before purchasing the liens.

Purchasing liens from the county are the cheapest way to buy a tax lien in most cases.  There are some investors that purchase liens at auctions then resell the liens to investors and charge a premium for their work.  This can be beneficial to the investor.  Most third party companies do proper due diligence before purchasing any lien.  If you are interested from purchasing a tax lien this way the research should already need to be done, but don’t take their word for it.  Always check with the county and make sure the lien they are selling you is legitimate and also check the other liens they say are there.

Unfortunately there are dishonest people out there trying to prey on new investors.  If you do your own research, you should avoid in fraud.

In most cases the purpose of buying a tax lien is to get the interest.  If you want to ensure that you will get your money back, always make certain there is a mortgage on the property.  If there is a mortgage you can be sure the bank will pay off your lien before losing their investment.  Following this strategy can help you get your investment back in a matter of months, and in some cases days, rather than years.

One of the most important items to look for in a tax lien property is occupation.  You want the property to be occupied because if it is occupied and well kept with a mortgage, odds are the owner will not want to lose their property over taxes.

Once you learn what to avoid with tax liens, you will be better prepared to start making money off of your investments with peace of mind.  Not everything will always go smoothly, but learning what to avoid will help keep your investment safe and lower the risk of loss drastically.

To learn more about what to avoid and what to look for when investing in tax liens, visit

Is Tax Sale Investing Right For Me?

is-tax-investing-for-youIs tax sale investing right for me?  That is a question you should be asking yourself before you begin investing in tax properties at auctions.  Investing can be risky and isn’t for everyone.  Here are a few things to consider before you start investing in tax deeds or tax liens.

Do you have time to put into researching properties?

It can take several hours to do proper research for one property.  Are you committed to spending that much time finding, researching, and purchasing properties at tax auctions?  Not all properties will take hours depending on availability of the information.  If you can find all the information on the Internet then the time could be cut significantly.

Along with the time it will require to research the properties comes the time it will take to make money from the property.  If you are purchasing a tax deed, you will need to sell the property or rent it before you make money.  If you are buying a tax lien, the owner has to pay off the lien or you have to foreclose before you make money.  It will take patience and doesn’t happen overnight.  This is not a get rich quick strategy.

Do you have the necessary funds?

Purchasing tax deeds or tax liens requires money.  Do you have the money you need not only to pay your bid amount, but also transfer fees and any other fees the auction requires?  If you plan to travel you will also need funds set aside for airfare, car rental, food, etc.  If there are association fees or you are borrowing money, you will need to have funds to cover carrying costs if applicable.

What is your exit strategy?

Before you purchase a property you will need to know what you will do with it.  You always need an exit strategy before you enter.  It is similar to a maze. If you are trying to find your way through a maze, you need to know where the exit is located so you can better make your way in that direction.

And the most important question…

Why do you want to invest in Tax Properties?

This question is important, because if the answer is “because I want to make a lot of money”  you probably won’t succeed with tax sales.  If you want to have the freedom to spend more time with your family or you want a better life than you have now, you might do well with tax sales.  It all depends on how bad you want it and why you want it.

Answer these questions and see if it is something you can do.  It is possible for you to do it, but are you truly willing to put in the time and money it will take to be successful.

To learn more about investing in tax delinquent properties visit

How Much Money Do Counties Make At Tax Auctions

How much money do counties make at tax auctions?county-profit-tax-sale

The amount of money counties make at a single auction depend on the number of properties and the number of bidders.  When counties publish a press release about home much money the will raise at a tax auction, the numbers are usually based on every property selling for the minimum bid.

Every property certainly can sell at an auction, but it is optimistic to think that over 3,000 properties will go.

On October 5, Beaufort County, SC will hold its tax sale.  They have about 3,600 properties as of today and stand to make $5 million if they all sell.  That is a lot of money the county is missing out on in delinquent property taxes.  They probably will not sell them all because of the number available, but they will recoup a lot of the delinquent tax money from the sale.

Cass County, MI just held one of two tax auctions and sold all 26 properties and made $247,500 with 17 more properties coming up for sale in about a week.

The money doesn’t always go directly to the county directly.  The money is often divided up between the  school district, municipalities, and the county.  They all use the property tax money to function so the tax sales are important to them.

How much money counties make at tax sales is far less than if each property sold at market value, but they would rather sell it quick for what is owed rather then spend six months or more trying to sell each property individually for more money.  They want the property back on the tax roll.

To learn how you can invest in tax sales visit

How To Purchase Tax Lien Certificates

How to purchase tax lien certificates.  Learning how to purchase tax lien certificates can take sometax-lien-certificates time to learn, but can be a very rewarding investment.  The process varies from state to state, but the basics are the same.

The first step is learning where to look for tax lien certificates.  There are two types of tax lien certificates available for investors to purchase.  The first type is through a tax lien auction.

Tax lien auctions are usually held once a year in a particular county.  The auctions are advertised in the local newspaper and on the county website if the county has a website.  If you are unsure where to look for the list of upcoming tax certificates, contact the county tax collector or county treasurer and they should be able to tell you where you can find the list.

More and more counties are choosing to hold online tax auctions rather than physical auctions at the courthouse.  This means that more investors have the opportunity to invest in tax certificates across the country without leaving home.

The downside to online tax lien auctions is more investors turn out for the auctions making them competitive.  The interest rates are often bid down significantly.

The best deals can be found at live auctions where fewer investors are willing to travel and in counties that do not have a website.  Most investors pass on counties that do not have a website, because there are plenty of other counties that have websites to make research easier.  This means that you could potentially be the only investor at an auction if you travel to a physical auction.

Before bidding on an auction whether it be physical or virtual, always read the auction rules and requirements.  In some cases you will need a form signed by the county before you can bid.  This means you need to prepare well in advance.

Some auctions also require deposits for each lien you want to bid on before the auction begins.  It is important to know the rules before starting.  It is also a good idea to talk to the tax collector about the auction to be sure you know all the fees involved and the rules, even if it is printed online.

The other type of tax lien certificate available to purchase are the county held certificates.  These are liens that did not receive any bids during the auction.  They usually can be purchased for the cost of the lien and fees and you often will receive  the maximum interest return.

The reason the certificates did not receive any bids could be for a number of reasons.  The county may have held a physical auction and didn’t have a large turn out. Or the lien may be for vacant land which has a lower possibility of redemption than a home would have.  What ever the case may be, you would still want to do your before buying the lien.

Learning how to purchase tax lien certificates can be fun and rewarding.  There is no other investment like it that is virtually risk free.  To learn more about how to purchase tax lien certificates visit

Which Is Better – Tax Liens Or Tax Deeds?

Which is better between tax liens or tax deeds?  That is a common question when people learn about tax sales.  They are the two different types of sales.

Tax liens are created when property owners fail to pay their property taxes. The county wants to get their money and sending notices to the owner isn’t working.  They turn to investors for help.  They will place a tax lien on the property if the investor is willing to pay off the taxes owed.  The county even offers interest to be more appealing to investors.

The interest rate on tax liens can vary from 5% up to 36% annually which spikes investors interest.  Many of the counties offer the interest as a flat rate regardless if the owner pays off the lien the next day or in 12 months.

Tax liens, if researched properly, can be virtually risk free investments because your investment is secured with real estate and takes precedence over voluntary liens such as a mortgage.  Because of this, if you find a property with a mortgage and the home owner does not pay off your lien within the redemption period, you can foreclose on the property and the bank most likely will pay off your lien.

Many investors favor tax liens because of the security and guaranteed returns.

Tax deeds on the other hand are also popular.  A tax deed is like a tax lien in the sense that the county wants their money, but they want to get it every year and not have to go through the process year in and year out.  Because of this, the county will give you a deed to the property if you pay the taxes and fees for the property.

Investors like the tax deed auction because they get ownership of the property unlike the tax lien.  It is a great way to build a real estate portfolio at deeply discounted prices.

In order to find out which one is best for you, you will need to decide what you want out of the auction.  If you want a return on your money, both provide a way to do that.  If you don’t want to deal with cleaning, fixing, or selling properties then tax liens would be an excellent choice.  If you want to buy and hold property, then tax deeds would be your best choice.

There are many steps that will help you understand tax delinquent auctions better.  We recommend for tax sale education.

How To Buy A Property Before The Tax Auction

How to buy a property before the tax auction.  Many people are wondering how to buy a tax defaultedtax-deed-auctions property before the tax auction.  With tax sales growing in popularity, many investors are asking the question, “How can I buy a tax delinquent property before it is sold at the auction?”

The answer to that question is simple,  but complex.   The simple answer is to contact the owner of the property and have them agree to sign the deed over to you in exchange for you paying off the taxes.  This can be done with a quitclaim deed. That sounds simple enough, right?

Before you decide to approach the owner of a property you need to know if there are any liens against the property that you will be responsible for.  If the property is sold at a tax auction, most liens will be removed, but if you buy the property outside of the auction all liens will stay with the property.

The county recorder will have the information you need about which liens, if any, are against the property you are interested in purchasing.  A title company will also be able to find this information for you and is often the best option since they research the properties chain of title to be sure which liens are there at the time of the title search.

If there are no liens against the property other than the taxes, you can pay to get the taxes current and file your Quitclaim deed for usually less than what you would have paid at the auction.

This process can be more time consuming than your regular research because of the time involved with contacting and negotiating with the current delinquent property owner.  I don’t recommend following this process unless there is a piece of property that is showing interest from multiple parties.

For more information on Tax deed sales and how to follow the process correctly, visit

Which Liens Are Removed At A Tax Sale?

Which liens are removed at a tax sale? If you are serious about investing in tax sale properties, then it is important to know which liens are removed at a tax sale.  It varies from state to state, but it is easier to list the liens that are not removed.  Any federal lien on the property is not removed at a tax sale.

This would include IRS liens and government liens.  When investigating the property always check the current liens on the property before purchasing.    This doesn’t necessarily mean that all other liens will be erased at the time of purchase from the tax auction.

For example, in Pennsylvania any lien that is filed after the judicial sale is not removed when you purchase from the repository sale.  This means that a Property Owner’s Association may have a lien on the property that is removed, but they can file another lien once the tax foreclosure proceedings have begun that will stay through tax auction.

This is why it is important to call the county and the owner’s association if there is one on every property.  Be sure to write down the date, time, name of the person, and what was said.  It may be good to even record those conversations so you will have them as a reference.

In Arkansas I called with the same questions three times, spoke with two separate people, and received three different answers.   This is why it is  a good idea to take notes and call more than once.

To find out exactly which liens are removed at a tax sale, call the county and speak to the person that oversees tax auctions.  Don’t just call once, call at least twice on different days.

For quality education on tax foreclosure sales visit,

What To Do With Your Tax Auction Purchase

What to do with your tax auction purchase.  After you buy a deed or a lien, you may be wondering what to do with your tax auction purchase.  If you purchased a tax deed, that answer is pretty simple.  You either sell the property, develop it, if it is a home you could  fix it up and rent it out, or live in it.

There are a handful of companies that buy tax deed properties in bulk and sell them to investors way below market value.  This was a profitable venture when real estate prices where on the rise, but with the downturn in the economy properties aren’t selling as much as they were before.

The companies that would buy several tax deeds, or Land Banks,  would often sell on eBay or offer training on how to buy the properties, but the real goal is to sell land to investors.  There was a prominent company that followed this type of strategy.  They sold a training course that briefly went over the tax deed and tax lien process, but they didn’t teach a person how to find, research, buy, or sell tax properties. Their goal was to overwhelm the investor so they would buy land from the company rather than buy land from the tax auction.

If you purchase a tax lien there is more you can do than wait until it is redeemed or foreclose.  Those are the more obvious choices, but following the same principle as with tax deeds you can actually sell your lien to somebody else.

You can find tax liens for sale on eBay and other sites, but what a few investors will do is form investment clubs.  In these “clubs” they offer the members discounts on tax liens and sometimes tax deeds.  The club organizers will purchase the liens and then sell them to their members advertising risk free investing.

This strategy is transparent because the club members know the organizer buys the liens cheaper, but they do all the leg work.  In most cases, they aren’t trying to sell them education that is intended to overwhelm them so they will give up on learning to do it on their own and buy from the organizer.

If you are ambitious there is a lot of money to be made in reselling tax properties after you purchase them.  However, there is also a lot of money to be made by holding the liens you buy and waiting for them to be redeemed.

For education on how to really buy and sell tax deeds and tax liens visit

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