Resources for CA tax deed investors & research?

13 Replies

I plan to get my feet wet investing in Tax Deed properties this season.  I've been doing quite a bit of research on county sale sites, the internet, and on Youtube. It seems like most "pros" on Youtube either are not familiar with California, or specifically dealing with other areas (e.g. Florida). As example, one guy incorrectly mentioned there is a redemption period of 3 years for CA tax deeds. Even on this forum someone mentioned that parties can bring forward a complaint for 7 years in CA (again, I believe this to be incorrect).  

Does anyone happen to know what CA code specifically deals with CA Tax Deeds, and related issues like HOA liens, IRS, liens, etc.

Hey Jay,

Be careful trying to learn about tax deed sales from YouTube as they can be very state-specific.  What gets wiped out in a tax deed auction in one state, may not get wiped out in another.

The California Code that deals with tax deeds falls under the Revenue & Taxation Code (Division 1).

In answer to your other questions, in California, the right to redeem (pay the taxes owed) on a property ceases at the close of business on the last business day PRIOR to the tax sale.  So after the tax sale, there is no more right of redemption.

Also, tax deed sales in California convey title to the purchaser free of all prior encumbrances (i.e. mortgage liens, judgment creditors, HOA liens, etc.) with a few exceptions (most notably IRS liens).

Keep in mind that the former owner or any lien holder has one year from the date of receiving notice of the tax sale, or the date of recording of the tax deed, whichever is later, to challenge the validity of the tax sale.  (A common reason for challenging the sale could be that they weren't properly notified, or notified at all.)  That's not to say they'll be successful if they do challenge it, but it's something to keep in mind if you're going to do any major improvements or try to sell the property within the first year after acquiring it.

Best of luck in your venture!

Hi @Jay Gray

Investing in California tax sales is becoming in general not very profitable anymore unless you do it in some of the less populated counties. It was great until about a year ago, but there is too much competition now. I have pretty much stopped doing it.

@Jesus Lara  After the annual sales, most counties make their sale prices public for the period of time up until the county sets up for their next sale. This is the practice for B4A managed auctions, and they seem to manage auctions for most of the Northern California counties I'm interested in.  

Long sentence short, I'm not seeing that at all based on 2013 sales data - I saw lots of deals. Many of the properties going for the tax amount, or just slightly more. Seemed like one bidder just conceded to another if they showed interest. Maybe things are different in So Cal.  

Jay,

You are right; I only have experience in Southern California, mainly LA, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Competition here is fierce, sometimes pushing prices above market. I think Kern or Imperial counties are still good options.

For what it's worth, OC has their last 4 years of sales results online:

http://ttc.ocgov.com/proptax/pta

I suppose some interesting information in there. It does seem like people bid them up (especially the units that look like they may be condos or something).  The lot at 829 MIRAMAR ST in LAGUNA BEACH looks interesting -- it's at the outskirts of of a neighborhood with $1-$2million homes, but looks like you might need an easement or something to get to the property, that is if it is even buildable.  Somebody apparently thought the lot was worth $125k though - which was about 6x the tax due.

Orange Co. CA seems to have had 14 sales in in 2014.  By contrast, Sacramento County currently has 292 of its initial 369 listings remaining with under a month left until the tax sale.  

It's all a learning experience to me though. I'm very curious to see how many of these will wind up getting paid and removed from the auction. Aside from some general looks at the houses in Google streetview, I'm limiting the amount of research I do on any specific unit(s) until the last few days before the sale.

I agree with @Jesus Lara . I only participate in Riverside County, and have done so pretty consistently for past 10 years. I usually still find one deal where I see values that others don't, usually in raw land. BUT, I starting two years ago, I began to see manyj, possibly even most, "successful" bidders paying more than they would have paid if the thing were listed on MLS. So be careful. One bidder paid $30k for a lot in an area I have been collecting lots for an average of $5k. Needless to say, 9 years later she has been unable to sell for anything close to break even, even though she was marketing it during the greatest boom some of us may ever see (2005-2007).

Riverside seems to be a little sloppier than other counties in terms of sale details, but they're all out there in various publications if you search by APN, and past sales  here:

https://www.countytreasurer.org/TaxCollector/TaxSa...

They also seem to do these quarterly & have a lot of re-offers of the same odd property. 

I was checking one out as example... 2815 Mulberry St. in Riverside (209222016-6).  It's a weird flag lot off an alley street off Mulberry. 

I would assume that these are situations where you might be weary of "Adverse Possession" claims since either neighbor may attempt to claim a slice of the land as their own.  Still, I think that's a situation where you could go in and talk to the neighbors, tell them you bought the land and don't mind if they park a car, boat, etc. on the land while you're not using it - but ask them to sign a contract for usage. I'd think in most cases the people would be all smiles to see that you're willing to formalize letting them use the land (when you're actually protecting yourself from future AP claim)

Interesting the minimum bid was $10.4k and no bid. 

I planning to stay away from oddities like the above and commercially zones properties where they may issues with previous land use. Initially, I'm going to look at single family homes in some less desirable areas and see how it goes. 

Originally posted by @Jay Gray :

Riverside seems to be a little sloppier than other counties in terms of sale details, but they're all out there in various publications if you search by APN, and past sales  here:

https://www.countytreasurer.org/TaxCollector/TaxSa...

They also seem to do these quarterly & have a lot of re-offers of the same odd property. 

I was checking one out as example... 2815 Mulberry St. in Riverside (209222016-6).  It's a weird flag lot off an alley street off Mulberry. 

I would assume that these are situations where you might be weary of "Adverse Possession" claims since either neighbor may attempt to claim a slice of the land as their own.  Still, I think that's a situation where you could go in and talk to the neighbors, tell them you bought the land and don't mind if they park a car, boat, etc. on the land while you're not using it - but ask them to sign a contract for usage. I'd think in most cases the people would be all smiles to see that you're willing to formalize letting them use the land (when you're actually protecting yourself from future AP claim)

Interesting the minimum bid was $10.4k and no bid. 

I planning to stay away from oddities like the above and commercially zones properties where they may issues with previous land use. Initially, I'm going to look at single family homes in some less desirable areas and see how it goes. 

 I think you are confusing adverse possession with prescriptive easement. 

@Rick Harmon in this imaginary scenario I meant adverse possession but I honestly don't working experience of either.  I was thinking of a scenario where you went to go claim your recently purchased property and throw up a fence and discovered the neighbor has apparently long since claimed the location as their own parking numerous cars and other belongings there. You show them the title and they spit on your shoes and tell you to get off their property (technically your property, maybe) and take your girly man papers with you. 

After looking at "prescriptive easement", it appears that paths and triggers to both are similar - but have different goals or results. In adverse possession it seems they could lay claim to the actual property as their own, in prescriptive easement, they may be laying claim to a certain usage of the property, but not ownership. Is that correct?

Yep. Kudos for doing your homework beyond asking for someone in BP to guess!

I've never had someone spit on my shoes and tell me what I can do with my girly man papers. Probably because I'm a big guy. 

Also, because I use attorney's process services to serve papers over attorney letterhead. 

When they meet me in person, it's too late in the game. 

@Jay Gray ,


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Raymond

@Raymond B.  Thanks. I'm not sure what happened up there, I'm fairly web savvy.

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