How to Purchase Tax Delinquent Properties Online


Buying your piece of property is a priority for most people. They understand that it is important to own your land to have an asset that historically increases over time and to own a place to call your own and live out your days.

While it takes a commitment of saving and making payments to purchase your home, there are other ways to procure land at a fraction of the price. When a property owner fails to pay their property taxes for a set period, the municipality, town, or city declares it delinquent and puts it on the auction block to recover the outstanding money. This is where savvy investors gather for the chance to purchase it, and if you know what you are doing, you can come out with a valuable asset.

Are you interested in getting involved in tax sales? This is what you need to know to purchase tax delinquent properties.

Check for auction dates

Most towns and municipalities have a section on their website that deals with tax sales. Depending on the area, they may have a tax sale once a year or every few months. They need to collect property tax to include in their financial budget, but when someone is in arrears, they list their property for sale to pay back the taxes.

Your job is to check for when these tax sales are held and prepare for it. You may be monitoring several areas that run these auctions, so get organized and search the websites for when the properties are listed.

Do your research

Buying tax-delinquent properties is a smart investment, that is, as long as you can make a profit on the property or use it for your residence. The last thing you want to do is purchase one that is unusable or in bad shape because it ties up money that you may find hard to recoup.

You must do your research, and this involves:

  • Looking up the properties to find their location
  • Learning all you can about the area
  • Deciding if the minimum bid is in your budget and how much more you are willing to spend above that to get it
  • Visiting the properties to see firsthand if they are a viable investment
  • Researching for any liens, title, problem tenants or other negative situations that can impact your decision to bid

Understand the process

Getting involved in tax sales requires knowledge of how it works. There are two ways a tax sale is conducted:

By Tender

Tendering is putting in an offer using a sealed envelope. You must download the appropriate forms from the website and fill them out correctly. This will include your particulars, the property information and, of course, your bid amount. Some areas require a bank draft or certified check with 20% of the bid amount included in the envelope, while others will deal with payment once you win the bid.

On the auction date, the envelopes will be opened, and the highest bid for each tax sale property will win, and that person will be contacted that day. They then have a set period to pay the bid amount, or the property will either be awarded to the next highest bidder or go back into the tender pool for the next auction.

Public Auction

This is a more exciting way to buy a delinquent property and also more stressful. There will be a posted auction date that includes the location you must attend, and it is up to you to get there in time to register for it.

Once the auction begins, you need to bid on the property(ies) you want and see how it plays out. There will likely be other interested parties, so the price may be higher than your original bid. So it is up to you to decide quickly if you are willing to pay more.

Emotions get in the way, so have a calm head and a monetary limit so you don’t get into any financial trouble. Once you win a bid, you must secure it with a deposit and make full payment within a few days.

Properties will be listed as redeemable or non-redeemable.

Redeemable means the property owner has a right to get the property back within a set period, typically 1-6 months, if they pay the delinquent taxes.

Non-redeemable means as soon as you win the auction and pay in full, you get a certificate of sale and own the property. The previous owner has no legal right to buy it back.

This is how to purchase tax-delinquent properties in most areas. Always refer to your local auction and get exact details on how they conduct their tax sale so you know what their process is. Does it sound exciting? That’s because it is.

If you have extra money and want to buy a property far below market value, get involved in the next tax sale near you. It is a fun experience with a big potential payoff.

Dean is a self-professed tech geek with a fondness for computers, video games, and any novelty tech-savvy gadgets.