Metro Detroit County auctions

10 Replies

Any investors with experience in county auctions? Success stories? Failures? Much appreciated. 

Not yet, but I hope to have soon. I have done a lot of research on both the upcoming Oakland and Wayne county auctions. Where are you looking?

Both Wayne and Oakland counties.  Any experience researching deeds? My concern is other liens or second mortgages 

@Sam S. Any update on your experience if you dived in?

Originally posted by @HJ Bercy :

Joshua Woolls same question to you to!

 I bought a property. It was a pretty seamless transaction. It is in a good city, but it was on a major road. Due to a shift in my focus(away from single family and into multifamily) the property is currently for sale. If all goes well, I should see about 15-20k in profit.

Honestly though, most properties in the tax auction seemed to go for more than I thought was reasonable.


I have bought some properties at the Oakland county Tax auction.  The properties I purchased were not that expensive ($10-20K) and needed quite a bit of work.  The process is pretty straight forward.  You register ahead of time, look at the houses on the list, show up on auction day and bid.  It sounds easy, but the hardest part is trying to view the houses ahead of time.  Some of the houses are occupied, so you will need to either evict the current occupants or offer them cash to leave.  

Please read my notes below as to my experiences/opinions of you want to buy some houses at auctions...

1) Some cities have already been inside the properties, so you would need to check with the cities to see of there are any issues/tickets/demolition orders/fees/fines on the houses before you bid on them.  I don't suggest you go the each city with a list of 30 properties...they will not be that helpful.  

2) If you want to sell them or get a mortgage on them (after you already bought them) you will need to get clear the title.  I have used to get a clear title, so I can get a cash out mortgage.  They charge about $1,500 per property.

3) Be prepared to walk into vacant houses with broken pipes and need a lot of work.  Most of my vacant houses have had been winterized in the middle of winter, so the pipes are already broken.  Just because it has a winterized sticker doesn't mean it was done correctly. 

4) The auctions are a cash only (or more order/certified check only).  In Oakland county you have to pay the current years taxes (not required to be on the same day as the auction) before they will send you the deed...actually a "Deed pursuant to Act 123 of 1999"  This goes back to item #2, because most banks/title companies don't like these deeds and won't loan against them or give you title insurance)

5) Make sure you submit a property transfer affidavit after you buy a property within 45 days to avoid the $200 fine.

The process wasn't that complicated, but once you know the whole process it is a good way to get some deals on houses...with some risk.

Hi Rick,

Thanks for the info. Good stuff. I was wondering about this process as well. I'm going to be attending a seminar put on by later this month. 

You said you have to have cash. Can you also use a pre-approval letter for a mortgage , say from a bank or credit union as proof of funds? 


I don't believe you can do that with the tax auctions.  I have bought several properties with the online companies like,,, but I have use cash for these as well.

Sorry I can't help.


Calvin, you have actually bought houses through  The online review of them make them sound like they are scam???

Hi Matthew,

I have'nt bought any yet, just doing my research on the process. Someone who I use to work with mentioned that he bought a property at auction with a pre approval letter. I didnt' think you could. Seems like cash is king at those. 

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