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June 6, 2010 Special Report

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June 6, 2010 Premium Member Special Report

Over-the-Counter Tax Lien And Tax Deed Sales

Florida County-Held Certificates

Alabama Sold-To-State Properties (Liens and Deeds)

Texas Struck-Off Tax Deeds

As you know by now, tax lien sales are governed by state laws, some of which dictate one sale per year. In some cases, you literally have to wait until the next year to invest in that state. In other cases, state laws allows for tax lien certificates and tax deeds to be sold through another process.

This process is referred to as over-the-counter, by mail, sold to the state, county held, struck off or many other names. In general, it means you can buy directly through the county or state and sometimes earn the maximum interest.

Although I will not be talking about Florida over-the-counter sales, I want you to keep track of the lists and find out which liens are available. That is because the best time to purchase OTC liens is right after the sales. Florida sales just ended on June 1, so now is a great time to purchase. You will earn the full interest rate. You just need to be the first in line - by mail, phone or internet.

Florida has OTC liens and OTC deeds.

Let's find a list for an example of each:

Search for Citrus County Tax Collector. Their annual sale was held on via the Internet, but if you search for County-Held Certificates, you might be lucky enough to stumble upon this link:

Citrus 1

For OTC Deeds and Tax Deed Sales held as the need arises, you must search on the Clerk of the Circuit Court's website: OTC Deeds are called Lands Available.

Citrus 2


Sales also just occurred in Alabama. I will be sending out a special report on Alabama. In the mean time, please keep in mind that these lists are fresh, but it usually takes a little time for the counties to update the lists.

They are all available as sold to state properties. You do not need to purchase the list, contrary to what Jefferson County (Birmingham, AL) says.

Alabama calls their over-the-counter liens/deeds "Sold-to-State" land or properties. The entire list is presented for every county at this one link:

In short, what you need to know about Alabama is liens automatically become deeds in 3 years so if you are looking at the list and the lien is older than 3 years, you are buying a lien that has matured to a deed.

I will save this discussion for when it looks like the list has been updated.

Texas "Struck-Off" Tax Deeds
In Texas, deeds that are not purchased at auction are referred to as "resales" or "struck-off" properties. In fact, if you attend an auction in Texas and no one bids on a property, the Constable conducting the sale will say, "Property XYZ is struck-off to the County." This allows the county to sell the deed directly to you.

It is important to remember that the redemption period for deeds in Texas is six months for all properties other than homestead or agriculture properties, which have a redemption period of two years. The redemption period starts from the date of the tax sale auction, so if you are looking at a struck-off list of non-homestead/non-agriculture properties older than six months from the date of the sale, you are buying a deed with no right of redemption period remaining.

On the other hand, if you find Texas struck-off properties that were recently added to the county's list, the redemption period may not have expired. In Texas, property owners or others with an interest in the property can redeem by paying the taxes, fees and penalties plus your 25% interest for the first year or 50% for the second year.

The truth is that most struck-off properties will be deeds, which is fine with me. I get excited about buying property for less than 50% of its market value and you should, too.

Why consider Texas "struck-off" properties?

In many Texas counties there are more liens and properties available than potential bidders. In some counties, the lists are so fresh that county personnel or attorneys who represent the county are surprised to see someone asking for the list.

So, what are the secrets to investing in Texas "struck off" properties?

   1. Learn how to screen through the lists.
   2. Do your research and due diligence just like you would with any type of real estate.
   3. Find fresh lists. Remember, many Texas counties have sales each month, so keep checking for updated struck-off lists.
   4. You need to know how to navigate the Texas system. Every county is different and the agency or law firm that handles the tax sale auctions is often not the same agency that handles the struck-off sale process.

How do you find the lists?

Many counties are handled by only a few law firms. Here is an example of one of the law firms.

Publicans Law Firm - Texas Tax Deeds

Step 1: Visit the Publicans Website

Visit the Publicans website, which is Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, attorneys at law:

Publicans Texas Tax Deed Site
Click on "Property Tax Sales" on the home page, and then on "Texas Tax Sales." This takes you to a page with frequently asked questions and answers, as well as a link for "Tax Sales Property Listings." Click on that link.

Step 2: Select a County and List
Ellis 01

There are three types of sales listed: resale, struck off and stayed no bid. A resale is a public sale of a struck-off property (i.e., a property that did not sell at the first auction). A struck-off is a property that, depending on the county, you can either submit a written offer to purchase (a private sale), you can participate in a sealed bid procedure, or you can request that the property go to a resale.

Here we will screen for a struck-off property in Ellis County.

Step 3: Screen the List for a Struck Off Amount Less than Half of the Adjudged Values

 Ellis 02
The adjudged value is the county's appraised value at the time of the judgment. In Texas a judgment is necessary to foreclose on a property. In some cases, the County files or another taxing district, such as a school district. This is a legal process that takes time. As you can see, the judgment date is 10/22/2008, yet it was struck off to county in 3/3/2009.

A property is struck off to the county at a tax deed sale if no one bids on the property. Depending upon the county, it may be offere for resale or you can purchase it directly. In Texas, the Sherrif's office runs the sales so when you purchase you will receive a Sheriff's or Constable's Deed.

Using Google Maps or Street View, we can take a virtual look at the property. As you can see, it looks a little rough. However, I noticed that the area is not bad and there are very nice houses nearby.

Ellis 5

Any liens or other issues?

One nice thing about dealing with a struck off, which is owned by the County, is that they are more likely to provide you with any outstanding liens or other issues because they are the seller. You still may hear words like "buyer beware."

To find information on your own, visit the Ellis County Clerk's office online or in person.
Step 7: Purchase

Now that you have done your research, contact the attorney's office.

Waxahachie Office
216 W. Franklin Street
Waxahachie, TX 75165
p: 972-923-5154
f: 972-937-2878

In this case, I learned that to purchase a struck-off property in Ellis County, which I have never done, you must notify the county of the property you are interested in and they will put it up for resale at a public auction. This is not a county in which you can purchase directly through the mail.

If you are dealing with a larger county like Travis County, they operate their own struck off properties so you will deal with the county attorney and submit a bid for review. The review process may take a week or two and it will need to be approved at a county meeting.

I have purchased struck off properties from this county and the process is straightforward.

Once approved, they will provide you with a final purchase amount and you will submit a cashier's check. The county will then record the deed in your name or your company's name and a Sheriff's deed will be sent in a few weeks.

Step 8: Homework

Find the Travis County struck off list and screen it for 3 potential deeds that are available right now.

Has the redemption period ended?

Are any of the deeds homestead?

Do any of them look worthy?

How often does Texas have sales? Texas Struck Off lists are updated every _____?

When does the redemption period start?

I will personally work with you on Travis County or another county of your choice.

All the best,


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