Are delinquent tax records worth your time?

2 Replies

I am looking at investing in delinquent properties, I hear there are TONS of ways to get leads. I am struggling to determine weather or not it's worth me pulling a list from the county and then sifting through every single property. Do people do this and is this a an effective way for finding leads? 

It COULD be worth your while...or not.  In other words, it's risky - plain and simple.

The first thing you need to consider is if you are investing in an area where you can't foreclose on a property you've purchased a lien on for 3 years, you will need to upgrade the electric on the property.  That's a really big expense given the cost of copper wire.

If you are looking in to purchasing tax liens, I would encourage you to stay away from the lower priced liens.  Here's my experience:

I invest in liens.  My attorney charges $300 for the first step - sending out a notice to delinquent owners.  Think about that...when you purchase a lien, generally speaking you bid down the interest earned on the lien amount.  If that interest earned is less than $300, then you're already in the hole if you send out a notice and the homeowner turns around and pays off the lien.

I have liens that relate to vacant building lots in locations where the city doesn't generally assess (and issue additional liens) for issues like overgrown grass, snow that isn't shoveled, etc.  I foreclosed on a lien about two weeks ago and I foreclosed on another (according to my attorney) on Friday.  I started the process last February.  I will not have title until the court releases certified documents to the county treasurer and the property is deeded over to me (probably at least another month).  That's almost four years from start to finish.  You have to honestly ask yourself if you have patience to withstand that cycle.

If you're lucky enough to find a property where they are about to face foreclosure, and are still living in the property (this is not common) you have to understand that generally, these are folks that can't afford to pay their property taxes, let alone keep the property maintained and up to date.

There are some deals to be had.  There's a lot of disappointment to be had in the process (you need to manage your expectations).  It is NOT a get rich quick endeavor.

@Ed E.   too funny and great points.. me my attention span would not allow it.. I bought some liens in the mid 2000s and promptly forgot I even bought them.. there went 10k plus my time to travel there eat and get a hotel room  LOL...

for me personally I only want to bid on what I can get a deed on right away so tax deed states..

Liens are far to complicated for my little brain and take to long.. but  I know some folks kill it with those but they are far more organized than I am I suppose.. Plus I can just make a loan and make 12 to 15% and call it a day.

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here