So I am interested in trying to buy homes with delinquent taxes. But is there a list or something out there rather than just telling my local tax assessor each address I want to look up?
What state are you in?
@Jonathan Ahle Every state and even every county work differently. Some will give you a list of the people with delinquent taxes. You might want to figure out how to limit this info though. Big counties might have 1000s of properties. You might be able to tell/ask the person you're getting the list from to limit the list to homes, or people past due 2-3-4 years, or properties with values $50,000-$100,000 or some other limitations. This is probably not every day request for them. Some will give it to you, some want to sell it to you. Some people are helpful, some are not. Some may give you the whole file on thumb drive so you can shift and sort and prepare mailings. Some counties are excellent about collecting taxes, so there may not be any delinquents. Some are horrible and may not have collected for 20-30 years. Talked to one assessor yesterday about a property that had not paid taxes since 2003 and while there is a legal description, no one seems to know where the property is exactly. 10 acres not on their mapping system. Small county and she was super helpful and responsible for mapping. So I tell her I'll come by on Monday and see if we can go through their paper files to figure out where it is and she was super friendly and said that would be great and gave me her hours. She was only person in the office on Friday. Other counties are not friendly or helpful at all....as they get bigger they seem less friendly. They may force you to go through Freedom of Information request.
Depending on where you are there may be some kind of 3rd party subscription service that would source and provide you the information for a fee. We used to have a company in Texas called foreclosure listing service for example that for about $35/month or something like that would provide some data that was helpful. I don't think they had delinquent lists, but someone might have that, especially for bigger counties. Even if you can get it for free, it might be helpful to get it from a subscription service if that is available to save you time and effort. Depends on if you have more time or more money.
Probably helpful here if you post what state you are in or working in and maybe even which county. Every place is different so being more specific helps as there are state/county specific experts here who can probably guide you with a better answer.
The tax assessor should be able to give you a delinquent tax roll on a disc. It may be in a format that (depending on your computer skills) you'll have to have a programmer covert it to a file format you can use with Excel.
If you are knocking on delinquent doors, I would remind you that 99% of the time a hardship has or is taking place in their life. Always remember the human element and be empathetic.
If they are up for auction, I would not recommend trying to wholesale their home unless you're 100% sure you can find a buyer or buy it yourself. If they lose their home because you're playing them, you could easily have major problems on your hands. If nothing else, you'd have to live with being that kind of person.
Also, if you don't know how to run a title search, I would recommend learning so you don't waste you time all the way up to closing and get a surprise. I've found delinquents carry a lot of baggage (judgements and federal tax liens) that can prevent the deal from happening. However, if they have multiple properties you can try and short the liens by contacting the person/entity owed. If you think they'll tell you about their baggage and be honest, you'll be sadly mistaken a few days before closing.
@Jeff G. I’m in Arkansas
@Bruce Lynn I’m in Arkansas and I live and looking in Randolph county. It’s a small county. The ladies at the assessor office told me that they didn’t have a list and that the only way is to look it up address by address. I just find it very hard to believe that they wouldn’t keep something like delinquent taxes organized in some way.
Does she look up the records or do you?
@Jonathan Ahle the properties available for purchase with delinquent taxes can be found on the Commissioner of State Lands website, COSL.org
They also post the list of the upcoming tax auctions.
It can be hit or miss with the assessor's office. I was lucky that the lady who works in my county was very nice and passed along a lot of information. When I went out and found a property that did not have the building on it I would let her know and she appreciated it. It has gotten to the point where she is helping me with delinquent mobile home listings and sent me a pdf with all the properties listed by date. I have quickly learned that having a positive relationship with the assessors office can pay off.
There is a lot of information about the Commissioner's tax deed sales online. The auctions start April 2nd, and run through mid September. You can see the dates here:
Right now, this is just a list of county names and dates.
However, check back in a few weeks, and they will start adding LINKS to the county names. When you click on the link, it will take you to a listing of all the properties for that county that are scheduled for auction.
Or, just google "tax deed properties Arkansas."
@Jeff G, how do you run a title search?
First and foremost, I am not a real estate lawyer, nor am I a title professional either. I am simply a guy like you who can't spend thousands of dollars a month to research title a bunch of deals. If I'm really going to make a move on a property, I am going to either close with title insurance, or I am going to pay a title company research it - period.
To ensure I don't lead you in the wrong direction, I would like to clarify that I only have knowledge and understanding of how title works in Texas. For all I know, accessible public information to research title may differ from state to state, and I would be willing to bet that law regarding what sticks and falls off vary from state to state. What I mean by something "sticks" regards something such as a federal tax lien, a judgement, or even to know if they have taken out a home equity loan. If you buy a property in Texas that is pre-foreclosure, for the most part you will be responsible for either paying in entirety the liens or shorting liens if you have leverage. Also, if the owner has equity in the property, they can use that equity to extinguish the liens at closing - for the most part.
Why I Search Title:
My goal when researching is to find out (or get the closest guess) to what they actually have to pay to sell a property. I can cut through deals that are obviously are a waste of effort to buy before auction. Essentially, I want to run a quick search (5 minutes on average per property) and see what's really going on. I don't mean to be harsh when I say this, but delinquent taxes more times than not, have baggage where they have not handled other responsibilities. I'm not saying they are bad people, they often times are having difficulties in their life. That's not always the case, it also could be a honest oversight.
How to Search:
Whatever county you are in, Google "Title Search X County". Most counties around here have a third party website where you can enter the enter the names to search title. The basic search is simple here. You find the names associated with the property (deed and/or deed of trust) and with a little understanding lending basics you can determine a good starting point to check their name with. A title search in Texas, is really researching the names, not the property - for the most part. In Tarrant County Texas, it's on this website: tcrecordsonline.com. A few other counties in Texas it can be found on a third party website like this: countygovernmentrecords.com
Just make sure wherever you are running title from is recommended from the Counties website in which you are searching. I could see how you could easily end up on some third party website that doesn't have legit data.
I recommend taking a class on title in your state, of even paying a local title company to teach you the basics of "what is what" if you have the cash to do so. It’s simple for the most part, but it took me a substantial amount of time to gain an understanding of what I was seeing. I didn't even know what a deed was when I first started learning all of this, seriously! Then when I saw thing like assignment, or appointment, it was really throwing me for a loop. It can be as easy as entering some info and it spits it out on a silver platter. However, that is a service that a title company could do for you - for a price.
@Jeff G. Thanks for your reply, Jeff. I see there’s a lot to learn about title. I will search given the criteria you suggested. Thank you!
Originally posted by @Ben Gabin :
@Jeff G, how do you run a title search?
If you have a relationship with a title company, they will often run it for you for free. Implicit is the promise to use them about 6-12x a year to close though...
@Ronald Rohde Thanks for the insider tip ;-)
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