Thinking of bidding on property up for taxes at the next tax sale? You may want to reconsider. There are other ways of getting tax property outside of the tax sale, if you decide bidding on property up for taxes isn’t for you.
Tax sale does simplify things. All the properties available are auctioned in the same place. However, the bidding on property up for taxes is very competitive. Most nice properties are bid up close to retail value. You can’t inspect these properties before bidding on them, and often the owners pay them off anyway.
The best thing to do is to avoid bidding on properties up for taxes, and just buy them directly from their owners. But the best time to do this isn’t before tax sale; it’s after – towards the very end of the redemption period.
It’s still perfectly legal to buy these properties from their owners, even after they’ve been “sold”. But most investors don’t realize this.
About 9 months into the redemption period, check and see which properties are still unredeemed (their owners haven’t paid the taxes off). These will be the owners and the properties you want to look at. Tax sale investors’ bidding on property up for taxes at the tax sale will be valuable here too – you can see which of the remaining properties got bids, and that’ll tell you which are more desirable.
Next, contact the owners and offer to buy their property. At this point they’ll be desperate to sell, and willing to negotiate a very low price.
Want to get the property for $200 or less?
Find owners that have decided to “just let the property go,” meaning they have no intention of trying to sell or pay the taxes off. Tell them you’re a new investor and that you’d love the opportunity to try to do something with their property before it’s lost, since they’ve already decided to just let it go. Ask if they’d be willing to take $200 for their time in signing the deed over to you.
You’ll get a lot of “yesses” this way – and it’s the least risky way to invest in tax property. With only $200 invested, even if you are unable to flip to another investor, or pay the taxes off in time, you’ve lost almost nothing if you end up just letting the property go yourself. And it’s the only surefire method for getting property outside the auction for a steep discount.