Vacant houses not on the market

8 Replies

Why would a home owner pay taxes every year for a property thats is vacant? I live in Newark NJ and there are vacant or abandoned properties all over. One in particular on my street and the house is being taken over by the plants and grass. Im confused as to what motivates people to hold on to these types of properties.

Its entirely possible they arent paying taxes on it and liens are being levied by the town against the property. Either they will eventually sell the house and pay off the liens with some of the proceeds or the town will foreclose on it for unpaid taxes and sell it themselves. More than likely to an investor at an auction.

Who knows?  It could be owned by a wealthy person or a trust, who has someone paying bills on their behalf, and that person simply pays the tax bill each year because they always have paid the bill.  Most likely, no one is paying the tax bill, but someone has been purchasing the tax liens and it will eventually be transferred to the tax lien holder.

@Kuron McGraw as for why an owner would keep a vacant property, you're gonna wind up getting into a long discussion about human psychology, how bad we are at making rational and mathematical decisions, and our tendency towards hoarding. It's actually a pretty interesting phenomena known as the Endowment Effect whereby the mere act of owning something makes it more valuable to that particular individual (and no one else, unless there's celebrity status attached). 

You see it a lot with consignments and auctions. People get offended when someone presents a totally market appropriate offer, because they have all these experiences and emotions tied to these objects and tend to over value them. 

Plus we're really great at imagining all sorts of awesome futures, but never actually making them happen. Not gonna lie, I have a few motorcycles sitting in my garage that I'm going to "get around to fixing one day." Luckily they're not costing me property tax every year!