Finding Names of Owners BEFORE Tax Foreclosure

18 Replies

Newbie here.

I am interested in finding lists of CURRENT property owners who are delinquent on their taxes.  (Not interested in lists of properties that have already been forecolsed on for tax sales.)

Any tips would be appreciated.


Go to the local county site and look at the upcoming auction list. Those are owners who are delinquent, but they are still the owner until the auction at which point they've lost the house.

In the area I'm in the list comes out about 6 weeks before the sale date.

Thanks.  Any other tips also welcome.

You can go to a title company that can pull all kinds of different lists. 

Cool.  Just Google "title company"?

If I go to a county's website, and find an Advertised List for an upcoming Tax Certificate Sale, how then do I determine what type of properties they are?  For example, does "Residential" mean there is definitely a house on it, or could it be raw land?

Learn to use your county's online sites...recorder/property appraiser, clerk of court, etc.

@Mission Flegg

Interesting post as I am literally working on this exact issue right now.

There is a tax sale in progress in my area.  Like elsewhere, the county posts the list of upcoming items for sale 8 weeks or so before the sale starts.  People either contact the delinquent owners before the items go to sale or ultimately wait for the sale and bid.

I am trying to get ahead of this process.  The county sells a list of all delinquent properties, meaning any properties even one payment past due.  I'll merge this list with owner contact info (gotten from other sites) and build a contact list.  I can then target owners > 3 years past due, giving me a couple years before they go to sale to market to them.  

I have experimented with putting similar data (all tax sale properties) in google earth so I can quickly view by region, with color coded pins to represent the amount of improvement on lots, etc.  It is super handy for quickly viewing areas with delinquent items.  I have to manually check against property radar for initial validation, but hopefully will automate this more.  I have another post on BP with sample data.

I think once I have the actual data from county I can track trends for areas are well and do some deeper analysis, or marry the data with other GIS data (incomes, rent/own, etc) to build a better model.

I'd just contact the prop tax office for the county and ask to speak to someone in data services, and  that you'd like to purchase tax data for current and/or delinquent owners.  It worked for me.

Regarding your other question, in the counties I've looked at the parcel information includes info on whether the property is improved or not.

current properties that are delinquent with their tax's. What?

Are you looking for homeowners with delinquent property taxes? It's five years before the sale. Are you looking for those that are about to go to sale? The delinquent tax issue can be a great indicator of a bigger problem. 

Yeah, looking for lists of property owners delinquent on taxes.  In my case, specifically interested in owners of raw land.  Having trouble deciphering data on county tax collector websites, but that's probably just because I am new at this.

(Lists of properties about to go to auction are of particular interest, because those owners may be more ready to sell, but I may be wrong in assuming that.)

Anyways, any free help tracking down raw land owners delinquent on their taxes is appreciated.

I've gotten as far as finding lists of property owners late on taxes on county websites.  But can't figure out who owns raw land vs land with houses on it.

@Mission Flegg Greetings from another newbie investor in metro Atlanta.  You are interested in raw land, whereas I am interested in house to buy+hold or rehab+flip.  From the various county websites, I open up Zillow and toggle back and forward to get an idea what the property looks like.  This may not be the most efficient way, but it gives me an idea where or not I like the area, schools, price for the building, etc.  Hope this helps a bit!  Good luck!

@Mission Flegg yes. Just google Title Companies. Chicago Title, Ticor,  or First American Title are all big ones that I have my clients use. 

@Jeff Zamora  has got it exactly right.

Key points in the process (varies by state).

1. Homeowner misses tax payment - delinquent. This data is available from the county assessor. Many counties sell a list all you have to do is walk in and ask, others you might have to do a FOIA request, and for some it is online.

2. After five years (typically), the assessor files a Notice of Tax Sale with the county recorder. Often this is done months before the actual auction list is available from the assessor, so watching for them isn't a bad idea as you'll get a head start on what's going to auction vs. those that wait for the list.

3. Assessor starts to advertise the auction, and makes the list available. County may have a partnership with an online auction company - typically **********. Or they may just publish a list on their website, or if its really old school you pick up a paper list at the assessor office.

4. Tax sale is held. 

@Mission Flegg

From an investment perspective, tax liens make good solo 401k and IRA investments.

Has anyone ever used Agentpro247.  Seth Williams recommends it, I'll link the article with how-to video below.  I'm curious if it is worth the cost.

County offices are a great start. From my experience some of them are much friendlier and willing to work with you than others and you may have to spend some time sifting through their data to find the hidden jewels. One option you might want to try is a company called ReboGateway. Their software allows you to search by different "lead" types such as tax defaults, probate, new REO, Divorce, etc... The only draw back is that it is that it is by county and the data you want might not be available in a specific county. In our case Divorce leads were available in Multnomah county (Portland OR) but not in King County (Seattle WA). But give them a call and I'm sure they will let you know if Tax Defaults are available in your area.

I think I'm hearing references to two different things in this thread, and it's important to recognize the differences between each one. In most states, there is a very distinct difference between the "Delinquent Tax Roll" and the "Tax Sale List" - which I think @Jeff Zamora was alluding to above.

Delinquent Tax Roll: This list contains all the properties in a given county that have missed at least one tax payment (as per @Sean OToole 's outline), but these properties have not yet been seized by the county in tax foreclosure (i.e. - in California, I believe property taxes can go delinquent for up to 5 years before they're taken by the county). 

Tax Sale List: This list contains all the properties that have gone through the entire waiting period and have been seized in tax foreclosure. These properties are now being held by the county, awaiting the next tax sale / auction date, at which point the county will sell these tax deeds (or in some states, a tax lien) to recoup their lost tax revenue.

With the Delinquent Tax Roll (IF you're able to get your hands on the county's list), you can contact the private owners and in many cases, you can structure offers to buy these properties directly from them at a massive discount. This is possible because these individual owners still hold the deed and can control their property.

With a Tax Sale List, the only way to buy these properties is at the county tax sale. There are good deals to be found at the county tax sale too, but at this point in the process, there is a much higher likelihood that you'll have the added burden of more competitors in the market, which could potentially kill any deals you could have gotten ahead of time, if you had just bought these properties directly from their respective owners. 

The county's annual tax sale is a very public, commonly known event, and it tends to draw in a lot of eyeballs and competition. As a result, most people are very familiar with the Tax Sale List, because this is what most people are thinking about when they talk about tax lien and tax deed investing

The county's delinquent tax roll on the other hand, is not a very well known source of information, because most people don't know about it and/or how it can be used to find deals (I've found that most county workers don't even know how to generate it, which is part of why it's challenging to obtain this list in some  areas).

All things considered, I've always felt that the Delinquent Tax Roll is definitely the list you want to get. It contains the properties that are still controlled by their respective owners, which allows you to get in and start making offers before the whole world knows about the opportunity. It's a great way to fly "under the radar", because it basically eliminates all of the competitors you would be fighting with at the tax sale. If you can get to these people while they still own their property, you'll have much more time and flexibility in terms of what kinds of offers can be made, and what they'll be willing to accept.

@Mission Flegg

Core Logic ( First American Title )does custom tax defaulted lists for mailing in 3500 counties in the county.  But its expensive.

We do this for a living so here is my advice:

1) Get a good tax roll list from the county or from Core Logic which contains mailer info.

2) Get a tax sale list directly from the county.  Only APNs are needed.

3) Make sure the APN scheme is exactly the same (this is imperative)

Run a duplicate program in Excel, Access (I've written a program that automates this process.  Ask me if you need it). 

This process is just enough work to keep everyone out of this business.

When you are done you will have a perfect tax defaulted list.  Send them offers (not colored letters or post cards) that say something like this.  I will solve this problem for you for $100.00.  I will make it all go away for you.  Where should I send the check?

You will get between a 5 - 25% response (5-25 responses for every 100 letters you send out).

MY ADVICE: Learn (and love) to process data and you will make millions in real estate.

There are 26,387,452+ tax defaulted properties in the US at the moment.

If you are using unrelated third parties to send out mailers at any step of the way(except printing & stuffing), you are kicking the can down the road.  It's the difference between the men and the boys for real estate acquisitions.

The learning curve is rough up front, but it will become your career if you want it to be.

@Seth Williams , you rock as always.  Your input is perfect.

Here's the tax sales in Florida Next Month:

LandAcademy Presents: Tax Sales in Florida September 2015

These are Tax Deed Sales meaning the highest bidder owns the property.

State Jurisdiction Type Date Parcels

FL Hillsborough County DEED 09/24/15 17

FL Bay DEED 09/22/15 3

FL Dixie DEED 09/22/15 2

FL Hillsborough County DEED 09/17/15 25

FL Hillsborough County DEED 09/10/15 23

FL Sarasota DEED 09/09/15 2

FL Bay DEED 09/08/15 5

FL Dixie DEED 09/08/15 2

FL Hillsborough County DEED 09/03/15 16

FL Bay DEED 09/01/15 12

FL Lake DEED 09/01/15 18

FL Sarasota DEED 09/01/15 8

@Jeff Zamora

@Kyle Parks

@Torey Seward

@Sean OToole

@Margaret B.

@Mike Osterman

@Matt Devincenzo

@Wayne Brooks

Dude, @Jack Butala - that actually sounds like a pretty brilliant approach! I can tell you've been doing this longer than most. :) Your expertise is quite evident.

One point to clarify though (just to make sure I'm understanding you right), in your second point above, when you said:

"2) Get a tax sale list directly from the county. Only APNs are needed."

Do you actually mean the delinquent tax roll (i.e. - per my definition in the post above)? It seems like you'd want a list of the properties that are still owned directly by their private owners, rather than the ones that have already been seized by the county in tax foreclosure (i.e. - tax sale list). Would you agree, or did I misunderstand somehow?

Also, just out of curiosity - when you say to get the list data from CoreLogic... I think ListSource pulls all of its data from CoreLogic - doesn't it? Assuming so, do you think this would be an easier way to get the data rather than working through a title company? Seems like it would be easier to control the process with a hands-on service rather than relying on a third party to plug in the right list parameters. What do you think?

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