Getting Started in Tax Liens Investing

Investing in tax liens and tax deed certificates is an obscure and unconventional way of entering the real estate market. Lots of people enter the tax lien business and come out successful but there are even more who fail with their tax lien investments – needless to say, investing in tax liens is not for newbies.

How does it work?

When you bid on a home with an attached lien, you’re not really bidding for the property but instead you’re bidding to pay for the tax due. You’re entering as a third party who will settle the obligation to the taxing authority. In exchange of the payment you’ve made, the taxing authority will issue a tax deed certificate in your favour. Tax deed certificates entitle the holder to demand payment from the owner of the property whose lien the holder paid. The owner of the property will now be indebted to the investor/holder of the deed for the amount of the lien plus any interest accrued. Generally, tax deed certificates carry an interest rate that ranges from 3 percent to as much as 36 percent per annum.

Do your homework prior to auction day

It is important for an investor, regardless of industry, to always do some research prior to bidding. For those who are into tax lien investing, it is advisable to inspect some of the property to be auctioned. Most taxing authorities and courthouses release a list of properties that will be part of the auction so it’s not very difficult to inspect properties prior to auction day.

You should also verify the real estate properties you’re going to visit. There have been instances where the initial list of properties provided by the taxing authority do not reflect the available properties on auction day. Oftentimes, the tax lien has already been paid by the owner prior to auction day.

Interest rates differ from state to state, so it would be wise to verify in advance the exact rate of interest on tax liens offered by your state’s taxing authority.

Some tips on how to make money off tax liens

If you are really serious about investing in tax liens, you need to arm yourself with accurate and timely information on the real estate market. You can also survey some of your state’s taxing agencies and courthouses to get information on future and upcoming auctions.

You need to also learn about your responsibilities and limitations as a tax lien holder. For example in the state of Illinois, you only have four months to notify the property owner that you hold a tax deed certificate against their property.

It is also ideal to build a long-term professional relationship with several banks, in case you plan to leverage your investments and build a portfolio of real estate properties with delinquent tax liens. Hiring a real estate agent will also help you in a lot of ways but it’s not really necessary unless you already have a large portfolio of real estate properties.

How to Avoid Mistakes at Tax Deed Auctions

How to Avoid Mistakes at Tax Deed Auctions

If you plan to invest in property, you have to gather all the information around it and be prepared when you get to the actual auction. There are many people at the tax deed auctions, and a lot of them have not done their home work about the properties, and they cannot expect to get great deals out of it. It is very risky if investors don’t research. Use the following tips in order to reduce the risks when investing at tax deed auctions.

Detailed research

Get as much information as you can before bidding at a tax deed auction and avoid potentially costly issues. You can get valuable info while inspecting the neighborhood and the actual property in order to determine the real value. You probably won’t be able to see the interior of the property, but you can visit the county assessor’s office and obtain information such as: the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and other rooms, and total square footage of the real estate and other specifics.

It is important to see the property yourself because while some homes look good on paper, when you see the property in reality, it can be a total disaster. Is not that the intention of the organizers of the auction is to lie, but sometimes when a house is unoccupied for a longer period, it can get vandalized. Sometimes the county even demolishes the real estate for safety reasons.

Another case is when a property owner does not have available resources to properly care for the property and you could end up with an unusable real estate that with extensive repairs and upgrades to its structure to be done before you’ll be able to rent it or sold it.

You can hire real estate lawyer for a title search which will reveal if the home has other liens that need to be addressed in order for you to gain clear title to the property.

Less risk with residential properties

When investing in tax deeds, you either invest in a residential or in a commercial property. Beginners in tax deed investing should choose residential properties because they come with less risk. The best choice is to go with land improved with a structure or just land only. There is bigger competition for the improved residential properties. Even so, it is your best option.

Get to know the bidding process

You should get to know all the specifics of the bidding process in the area where the property you are bidding on is located. Different states have different rules. Some of them start the bidding with a minimum amount from where investors bid the price up and the one that is willing to pay the most price wins. Other states require you to bid the interest rate of the property down and now the lowest interest rate will win the auction.

Once you get all your facts straight, enter the bidding arena and get yourself a good deal!

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