Mobe Ratings – A tax lien is a charge taken against property owners who fail to pay their property tax. If a property owner does not pay their taxes in a given period of time, this debt can be put up for auction where investors can purchase the lien.
When you win the lien bid in an auction, you pay the government in exchange for the lien, thus transferring all the risks and rewards of the lien to you. When you own a lien certificate, the property owner is expected to pay you the entire value of the lien, plus interest that can be as high as 36%. That is what makes it profitable.
If you are considering investing and tax liens seem like a unique opportunity for you, follow this guide to help simplify the process and choose investment deals that will return a good profit.
1. Understand Tax Liens
Most things work out better when you know what you’re doing. Read about tax liens extensively. Speak with the county treasury or tax office to find out how your area lists liens for sale, the process in buying one, and the risks or rewards that comes with purchasing a lien.
2. Understand the Laws of Your Potential Investment Area
Investigate the laws of the area you want to purchase in. Visit the county website and read their real estate laws, or call the county executive office for more information.
Find out when and how the county places tax liens to avoid buying illegal liens. Focus your efforts in specific areas. It saves you time in learning the rules and laws of multiple jurisdictions.
3. Find Liens for Purchase
Ask the county tax office about getting a list of liens that will be sold in the next auction. This gives you an opportunity to research the property in advance and plan for your investment.
Counties may also sell leftover liens outside of auctions. Typically, leftover liens were not sold because they were a bad investment, so research them very carefully before you invest. Find out why they never made sale, the risks that come with it, legal limitations, and the interest you stand to make. Be wary of these types of liens and only buy them when you are fully satisfied and convinced you can make a substantial profit.
4. Purchase the Lien
Once you’ve decided to proceed with purchasing liens, prepare a shortlist of properties you are interested in and have an exact figure of what you are willing to bid. Your bidding amount should take into consideration all other potential costs associated with the lien purchase. For example, should property owners fail to pay taxes, there may be legal fees associated with going through the foreclosure process.
Tax liens can be a great investment option, especially for first time investors with a modest budget. The keys to successful lien investment is doing your research, fully understanding the process, and being prepared to take the risk.