Tax Lien House Auctions

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Recently I came across a house auction for tax liens, Does anyone know how this works in New York State? 

Can you stop by the house and offer to pay the back taxes on the property and then take ownership?

Can you legally purchase the property for back taxes before it goes to auction and then rent the property to those who are still living thier?

Thanks for the help


@Joe Farrance tax sale laws vary tremendously from state to state. I don't know exactly how it works in NY.  I can tel you it is not as simple as pay the back taxes and you become the owner. 

If a property is going to tax auction you can buy it from the current owner before the auction. The owner is likely to want more than just the back taxes. They may have mortgage so the price has to be enough to cover the mortgage and the taxes. You cannot buy it from the city or county before the auction as they don't own it. 

The other option is buy the tax lien or tax deed at the auction. However these auctions can be very competitive. You are about as likely to get a good house for just the taxes as you are to buy one lottery ticket and win a Million dollars.