If you have a property that is delinquent on property taxes, the city or town that the taxes are owed to will hold a property tax auction to sell the property in question and redeem the delinquent taxes. This type of auction is not as common in some areas as it is in others. Many times, a property owner who owes back property taxes will try to raise the monies before the property tax auction and keep ownership of said property. In some cases, the properties are sold. In many cases, the amount owed in delinquent property taxes is so low, that the buyer is receiving an excellent deal.
To bid on properties at a property tax auction, most states require that your register prior to the start of the auction. Once you are registered, you are given some details about the property and times and date when the property tax auction will take place. Once the auction begins, you will have an ID number, which will represent you as a bidder. As the auction proceeds, bids are entered until the final bid is received. After this time, a winning bidder has so much time to produce the monies to pay for his or her bid and take control of the property.
There are some things to check before attending a property tax auction, which will protect you if you decide to bid on the property. Check with a title insurance company to see if there are any other outstanding liens on the property. If there are, you may want to find out the amount and if it is possible to clear them with payment or if the owner has to clear these liens up before you can take control of the title.
This is done to protect you from buying a property and later finding out that you cannot take control of the title. Many people forget this simple step and have ended up paying more than expected to take control of a title. If the title is clear of any other liens, you should have a title in your name within a month’s time. You may also want to discuss this with a lawyer prior to bidding.
Most auction companies do not have access to a title company for verifying the title. If you find that the title does indeed have liens or other assessments against it, you can back out of the deal, however, this is another lengthy procedure. Before bidding on any property, you should pay to have a title search done to protect yourself. If there is a loan company attached to the property, you may be responsible for mortgage payments that are due on the property.
Title searches do cost some money, but you might be able to find out some of the important information from the local clerks office if they have open records, which most do. You can then see if there is a mortgage attached to the property and the name of the lender.