Tools of the Trade For Tax Lien Certificate and Tax Deed Investments

By: Ted Thomas

Tax Lien Certificates are the perfect investment vehicle for everyone that wants a low risk and the safety of investing with the government. Tax Lien Certificate and Tax deeds don’t require years of study, and a person can start with less than $500. There are numerous tools; some are basic some are advanced, that a person needs to learn. It’s all very easy and can be accomplished in 3-4 weeks.

Basic Research Tools

The more you know, the better off you will be when it comes time to attend your first auction and start bidding on Tax Defaulted properties. As I’ve mentioned before, the essential information is knowing the who, what, when, and where.

When it comes to finding this information, you have several options. One is to refer to my course materials such as the Comprehensive Tax Lien Directory, Complete Tax Deed Directory, and my Platinum Tax Lien Certificate and Tax Deed Directory software on flash drive.

These days, using a computer is another great way of gathering information. Many counties now post the list of delinquent properties on a website along with the bidding requirements, the date and time of the auction, etc. online.

For the data you cannot find elsewhere, it’s helpful to give the appropriate agency or person a call, so obviously a phone is an important tool.

Transportation is another big one. Whenever possible, you will want to drive by any parcels you are considering purchasing. While you’re there, take pictures of the property and add them, along with your written notes, to a notebook (or other type of device/recordkeeping system, such as a iPhone, laptop or iPad) entry. Don’t rely on your memory to supply the details at a later date.

A final basic tool that everyone needs is time. Don’t rush into a deal without having completed the proper research. Take the time to delve deep into the specifics of a parcel before buying. Do your homework and determine if there might possibly be an environmental contaminant on the property, other liens that will compete against the property tax lien, zoning restrictions, etc.

To recap, the basic tools you need are:
- A directory of tax lien and tax deed offices
– Computer
– Phone
– Vehicle
– Camera
– Notebook or Software
– Time

Advanced Tools

In all cases, you will need to do research on the parcel going to the defaulted auction. Many times the list of properties you obtain includes little more than a tax ID number, perhaps a legal description, and the amount of taxes in arrears. For most of us, that’s not enough to determine if a parcel has any value. You need to get an address so either you or someone you are partnering with can do a drive by; the owner’s name is a big help, too.

In order to get that missing data, the best place to start is at the county office (usually either the Treasurer or Assessor). They may have a cross-reference tool you can use free or pay a small fee for.

There are sites online that aggregate this data. One is

Human Resource Tools

Not only do you need tools to help you with your tax lien certificates and tax deed investments, you need people, too. These people are your partners who function in a variety of ways to help you with the things you can’t do or can’t provide.

Knowing an attorney you trust can be a lifesaver. He or she will come in handy to advise you on various laws and possible action you can take to defend your assets against worst case scenarios.

A realtor is vitally important. A good real estate agent can give you comparable values, give you an assessment of future values in a particular area, and also easily dig up information on a property that you might have difficulty getting access to.

A home inspector and appraiser are two more human resources that are handy to have available when you need them. After you’ve brought your property, they can help you assess current condition and provide their estimate of value.

And finally a group of people who are willing to provide funds for your investments is always helpful, particularly if your capital stash is limited. Often the difference between getting a great deal or not depends on whether or not you’ve got the cash when you need it. At the Ted Thomas 3 Day Auction Preparation workshop we will show you how to get access to funds to do your Tax Lien Certificate And Tax Defaulted Property deals.

When it comes to being successful with tax lien certificate and tax deed investing, remember that old adage, “to be forewarned is to be forearmed.” There are many tools available and you would be wise to use each and every one.

Remember, too, that you are not going it alone. Join our coaching call every Wednesday night and learn from those who have been there, done that, and made great profits! Our Coaching calls are usually offered as a bonus with my many of my home study programs.

Ted Thomas

Ted Thomas is famous for showing newcomers and investors how to earn 6 figure incomes within 1 year of completing his training program. Conservative investors love tax lien certificates because they are predictable, certain and secure and sold by local government. Tax defaulted properties are sold at oral big auctions and online. Starting bid, only the back taxes…. More information at

Making Money and Understanding Tax Lien Certificates

By Ted Thomas

The simplest way to understand tax lien certificates is to realize all real estate is taxed by the county and sometimes the county and municipality. Property taxes are collected to provide many different benefits to citizens of the county, for example property taxes pay for schools, they pay the sheriff’s department, they pay for firefighters, of course the roads have maintenance, they also pay to help the hospitals and libraries, these are just a few.

Every property owner is assessed property tax one or more times a year. In many states if the property owner does not pay the property taxes the county or municipality will issue a tax lien certificate. Anyone can purchase a tax lien certificate, they could be valued at only $50 or they could be $5,000. The county will auction the certificates. The reward for purchasing a tax certificate is the counties pay a high rate of interest on those certificates.

The rates could be as high as 16%,18%, 24%, all the way up to 36%. When the property owner finally pays the property taxes, they will recover the certificate, in other words they will pay you whatever you paid for the certificate plus the outrageously high interest rate.

So, to summarize this process, you the investor, will invest directly with the county and you will receive a check back from the county when the property owner pays the taxes. The check will be the full amount of your investment plus the high interest rate.

The objective in selling tax lien certificates is to allow investors to generate money but more importantly the county now has revenue to pay for county employees plus police and fire departments, schools, roads, libraries, and hospitals.

Tax lien certificates are a winner for the county, they get revenue, tax lien certificates are winners for the investors because they earn a high rate of interest and they are a good deal for the homeowner or property owner because it gives them time to pay their taxes.

The sales for delinquent property taxes occur in approxim ately half of the counties in the United States. Tax sales are announced by the county, sometimes in the newspaper, sometimes online, many times both. This is a very formal process, it has been in effect for over 100 years.

Most investors have no idea about the tax system. Once you learn this process and learn how to honorably and ethically take advantage of it, you can earn money for the rest of your life.

Tax lien certificates are a safe, secure investment. The property sec ures the tax lien certificate. For example, if you purchased a tax lien certificate and paid the county and the property owner never redeemed, that is comes forward and pays you back your money and the high interest, the defaulting property owner will lose the property to you.

Let me repeat that. You will invest your money with the county, your investment is secured by the real estate, the interest rate on your certificate is guaranteed. However, if the property owner fails to pay the principle and the interest the owner will default and you, the owner of the tax certificate, will be awarded the property mortgage free. Of course, this sounds way to be good to be true. However, this system has been in effect for well over 100 years.

Unfortunately, tax lien certificates and the processes and procedures are not uniform and they’re different from county to county. This will require some study on behalf on the investor.

Here is a perfect example from recent students of mine. Drew and Recia, a young couple, attended my training and followed it step by step. They purchased a tax lien certificate in the amount of $11,000. The property owner failed to redeem, that is failed to pay their taxes. The law allows Drew and Recia to become the new owners of that property, they now own the property without a mortgage. The value according to the tax assessor, the MLS system and Zillow was $180,000.

As you can see, you can make money with interest rates 16%,18%,24%,36% and every once in a while, a property owner fails to pay, and you get the property without a mortgage, that’s pretty amazing but it’s the law in all counties. Watch for my next article and I will have more about the 3,000 plus counties that sell tax lien certificates and tax defaulted properties.

Here is a couple of most frequently asked questions, I’ll have hundreds of these which I’ll make a gift to you in future articles:

  1. Q: Who can buy a tax certificate?

A: Anyone who has cash to pay the local county government (auctioneer)

  1. Q: Why don’t people pay their property taxes…?

A: Numerous answers, People pass on (die) and no one pays the property tax in many instances Heirs do not understand taxes are due. People run out of money… they become unemployed and have temporary money problems. Family crisis, hurricane blows off the roof, car accident no insurance.

Many people know Ted Thomas© as Americas tax lien certificate and tax defaulted property authority. For more than 25 years Ted has been the information source. More information and free videos go to

How To Get Paid Big Dollars And Work Where You Want And When You Want AND RETIRE EARLY

By Ted Thomas

This Will Knock Your Socks Off!

 2 Distinct Investment Opportunities

#1 Tax Lien Certificates – One of the Safest Investments In America Today!

When it comes to real estate investing, there is much to be learned and a lot of money to be made. The prudent investor knows that it is impossible to learn about all facets of real estate investing at once and instead focuses on a certain kind of purchase or investment, works to make the investment profitable, before moving on.  One of the most unknown but highly profitable types of real estate investments is investing in tax lien certificates.

Purchasing a tax lien certificate is a fantastic way to build wealth and generate revenue.  This investment vehicle is a very real way in today’s economy to work towards financial independence.  However, you must know what happens when you purchase a tax lien certificate and how it works in order to be successful. Never jump into a real estate investment opportunity without proper education.

A tax lien certificate is offered by a local county government who is looking to collect on delinquent property taxes.  The certificate, when it is offered, becomes the first lien on the property and gives you, the investor, the opportunity to collect on the tax payments that are owed.

First, it is good to work in tax lien certificates if you do not have a lot of working capital to invest.  This is also a great investment tool if you are looking for a guaranteed return on your initial investment. The returns on tax lien certificates can be up to 16%, 18%, even 36%.  A tax lien certificate is typically a solid addition to any investment portfolio. Tax lien investments are one of the safest investments found in America today.

In order to purchase a tax lien certificate, as an investor you must find out the terms and conditions of the public tax auction in the county where you are interested in doing business.  Keep in mind, tax lien terms and conditions vary widely by county and state, so in order for you to be properly educated over bids, interest rates, terms, collection, and other matters, you must know what the county government requires. This may sound tricky but with the proper training it’s actually quite easy and extremely profitable. This business can be done online from anywhere including your kitchen table or home office.

This is a passive investment, perfect for the newcomers to real estate investing. Once you get a tax lien certificate you just sit back and wait for the profit check to come in the mail.

#2 Properties for Pennies – Mortgage Free

Tax deeds or tax defaulted properties are sold in about half the states in the US. Many times you can buy these properties for low prices because a great value because you are bidding on the property at a tax deed auction.

Here’s the simplified version of how tax deed sales work. Each homeowner must pay their real estate tax to the local government jurisdictions.  When a homeowner does not pay their county mandated taxes on their property, the county will confiscate the property and offer it for sale at a government tax defaulted property auction for only back delinquent taxes.  The county must do this because the county must pay for important services like local police, fire, schools and infrastructure, without the tax money they cannot do this and the local government would be in a world of trouble.

During a tax deed auction, property is usually sold for starting bid back tax plus any fees, interest charges, and court costs. Property taxes are only a small percentage of the market value and because of this investors who purchase a tax deed buy the full property rights for just pennies on the dollar.

A tax deed sale must be announced publicly and by law and in most instances are sold to the highest bidder.  When you are the winner at a tax deed auction you actually own the property and you own full legal rights to the property that very same day without any mortgages, liens or deeds of trust.

Of course this is a real estate investment and with any investment there can be risks.  It is important to become educated and always do your own due diligence before purchasing at the tax deed sale to minimize your risk.

You’ll want to make sure you research the property values before bidding on any tax deed property.

There are many ways to locate tax lien certificate auctions and tax defaulted property auctions. You can search Google, go directly to the local county government websites or call local county government offices. Having experience on your side can make a big difference in the amount of time it takes to get off and running in this investment opportunity. Ted Thomas and his team have been teaching investors how to do this business for over twenty-five years. Ted Thomas has helped thousands of students become successful tax lien and deed investors.


Ted Thomas

Ted Thomas is a Florida-based author and publisher who specializes in tax lien certificate and tax defaulted property investments. Visitors to his website will find 3 must see FREE instructional videos. No credit card required. The video lessons will give you information about government tax defaulted real estate which is sold at public auctions starting bid back taxes which could be 10 cents to 20 cents on the dollar. You’ll also learn the secrets of tax lien certificates which generate returns of 16%, 18%, up to 36%. Go to for more information.

“T” Is for “Time”

By Jeffery Watson

Time can be the investor’s greatest ally or the procrastinator’s worst enemy.  Across America, thousands of baby boomers are waking up and realizing they have not used time to their advantage in building wealth and saving for retirement.  In my Roth Theorem, the Enhanced Rate of Interest (EROI) over a long period of Time (T) is a tool that works to build wealth for you.

I often speak to investors who have what I refer to as “one-hit wonders.”  They have been able to put some money to work for a time making a 15-18% rate of return on it, but the length of time the money was out working was measured in months rather than in years.  Compare that to another client of mine who very deliberately and calculatingly worked on an investment to have his self-directed retirement funds earning approximately a 15% rate of return for the next dozen years.  The amount of money he put to work in that transaction was sizeable, nearly a 6-figure sum.  That client understood the importance of getting time to work in conjunction with the enhanced rate of return to generate the type of wealth building he was seeking.

Time has been written about in many different ways in literature, in both negative and positive contexts.  When it comes to investing, I want you to think about how to make time an ally, something that works for you, by using it to put money to work in good investments earning an enhanced rate of interest (EROI), and then letting those investments move forward with earning you more capital to deploy into new deals.  You may want to stagger the dates of maturity of your various investments so you always have most of your money out working.

One of the best time management techniques I’ve seen is from an investor who has a “waiting list” of good opportunities and investments.  As his money comes back from his deals, he puts it back to work relatively quickly in deals that are working for 18-24 months at a time.  This allows that investor to consistently work his money while keeping it diversified and actively working.

Think about how you can make time an ally in your overall investing strategies.  If you feel you are short of time and retirement is rapidly approaching, or you may need to work beyond age 65 or 67 to accumulate more wealth to be able to retire, please remember not to sacrifice the quality of your investments in an attempt to get an unusually high rate of return.

Jeffery S. Watson


Jeffery S. Watson is an attorney who has had an active trial and hearing practice for more than 27 years. As a trial lawyer, he has a unique perspective on real estate investing, wealth building and asset protection. He has tried over 20 civil jury trials and has handled thousands of contested hearings. Jeff has changed the law in Ohio 5 times via litigation or legislation:

Smith v. Rudler – 70 Ohio St.3d 397
In re Hugley – 629 N.E.2d 1136
Bahr v. Progressive Insurance – 2009-Ohio-6641
Snyder v. Snyder – 865 N.E.2d 944
H.B. 463 amending the Ohio Civil Rights Act

Jeff has also been a real estate investor since 1994, investing in both residential and commercial properties. He currently represents established real estate investors in commercial and residential matters when the transactions involve self-directed retirement accounts. As a frequent and popular guest speaker and teacher on stages and webinars, he is a recognized thought leader and innovator in the field of real estate investing, wealth building and self-directed retirement account transactions.

He is a nationally-recognized authority regarding regulatory concerns with wholesaling. He was the co-creator of the Option Contract method that revolutionized the short-sale flipping process. Thousands of investors have used documents created by Jeff to flip properties.

Jeff is general counsel to the National Real Estate Investors Association. Jeff is general counsel to and a cofounder of Realeflow, LLC, which made the Inc 500 list in 2011. He currently advises six different national organizations with a combined membership of over 250,000 investors.

From 2010 to present, Jeff has led lobbying efforts in Washington, DC on behalf of real estate investors which has brought about several changes in both government regulation and policy on distressed property purchases and resales. In 2014 and 2015, his efforts on Capitol Hill helped bring about change in the U.S. tax code and helped reinstate the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act. Since 2015, Jeff has worked to secure passage of the Seller Finance Enhancement Act.

Jeff’s efforts to secure reform in the real estate arena aren’t just on Capitol Hill. In his home state of Ohio, he has worked with the Ohio Division of Real Estate teaching on the legality of wholesaling.

He is a part owner of Venture Land Title II, LLC, and his law firm prepares deeds and other documents for two title companies. He is also legal counsel to a number of other organizations including Eagleville Bible Church, Inc.

Jeff is the author or co-author of 6 digital books:

  • “Understanding Self-directed Individual Retirement Accounts”
  • “A Guide to Private Lending”
  • “Short Sales Done Right – How to Profitably and Legally Navigate the Short Sale Jungle”
  • “Death of the Land Trust … in Short Sales”
  • “How to Hire Your ‘Dream Team’ ”
  • “Understanding the Foreclosure Process”

In addition to his digital books, Jeff authors an email newsletter twice a week and maintains a blog at on investing, business and entrepreneurship which are read by thousands of successful investors.

Should I buy my own home first, or rent and buy investment homes?

By Adiel Gorel

A classic question I get when talking to a would-be real estate investor is: “Shouldn’t we buy a home to live in first before buying investment homes?”

The answer, of course, depends on where you live.

When considering owning your own residence, there are various layers of reasoning. Some are logic and numbers-based. Some are emotional, traditional and familial.

Owning your own home can be associated with safety, security, having “arrived”, satisfying family members’ aspirations, the stability of having a (hopefully) permanent place to live, and so on.

Of course, everyone has a different set of emotional considerations when it comes to owning a home.

These vary from person to person and, needless to say, are hard to quantify.

In this article I will address the logical, numbers-based approach to the question of whether to buy your own home as your first real estate move, or rent and buy investment homes instead.

The numbers tell the story

If you are considering buying your own home, the price of the home matters, the rent required to rent that same home matters, the local property taxes matter, the mortgage interest rates matter, dwelling insurance rates matter, and even the new 2018 tax law weighs in.

If you live in a market where property taxes are relatively low (say, between 1 and 1.7 percent of the home price per year), and insurance rates are reasonable, then if you are considering buying a home under about $400,000, that should be a “no brainer” as your first step. Between $400,000 and $500,000 would still be a reasonable range to consider buying the home. In such a market, once you step up to the $500,000 range and above, the math may well start to turn as you climb higher in price, in favor of renting a home in the area in which you live, and owning rental homes in more optimal places.

In markets where the property taxes are high (like in Texas and Oregon), and insurance rates are high (Texas again, for example), the “no brainer” number may shrink to $300,000 or so, while the range above which you may consider renting your own home while buying affordable investment homes in other markets, will likely be $400,000 or above. This is because with high expenses for property tax and insurance, (which as a homeowner you would be paying) the overall numbers and logic “turn the corner” faster.

Certainly, in expensive areas like the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York City and others such markets, it is usually far more logical to be a renter, while owning rental properties in affordable markets, where rents are actually quite high as a percentage of the home purchase prices.

Buying homes in expensive markets may not make sense

If you are thinking of buying a home in the San Francisco Bay Area for $1,400,000, for example, and if that same home can be rented for about $4,700 per month (quite typical in 2018), the math is in favor of being a renter living in that house. While $4,700 per month appears to be very high (in absolute terms it is), it is actually very low compared to the purchase price of $1,400,000. While renting the house for $4,700 (and not being responsible for property taxes, dwelling insurance or repairs as a tenant), you might, (in this example) use a similar amount as a 20% down payment on the $1,400,000 home (plus closing and loan costs), to buy about SEVEN rental homes in an affordable market, using 20% down on each – all brand new in good areas, for, say, $180,000 each, in a market with low property taxes and low insurance rates.

Each one of these $180,000 homes will fetch a rent of $1,500 per month. Now that is high rent! (as a percentage of $180,000). Seven such rental homes, requiring a similar total down payment as the $1,400,000 which is rented and not bought, will fetch a gross rent of 7*$1,500 per month = $10,500 per month. That is indeed high rent. And these will be brand new homes which are fully under warranty to boot. In addition, the seven new investment homes can be diversified over a larger geographic area or even over more than one metropolitan area.

Sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in purchasing rental homes

Another example could be a potential home purchase of a residence costing $725,000. That property could most likely be rented for about $3,200 per month. For the amount used to put a 20% down payment (plus closing costs), you can rent this home, and buy four brand new rental homes for $180,000 each rented at $1,500 each. Total gross rent: $6,000 per month for the 4 houses, and they can be new, under warranty, in good locations, and paradoxically each may likely be bigger in size and bedrooms than that one $725,000 home, which is also likely substantially older. Again, the four rental homes can also be geographically diversified.

Even the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction of home ownership, may be fulfilled by owning four brand new, good sized and well-rented homes in an appropriate market, while paying a relatively low rent in an expensive market. In fact, the higher the home prices in the expensive market, the lower (relatively) the rent gets as a fraction of the home price. Thus, the savvy investor can pay a bit more in rent and get a bigger, more expensive home to live in, while investing in more optimally-priced markets and choosing areas that have not yet boomed, and which can yield higher rental rates.

The 2018 tax plan

Under the new 2018 tax plan, taxpayers who itemize will be able to deduct their state individual income, sales and property taxes up to a limit of $10,000 in total starting in 2018. For expensive homes in states like California, New York, and others, the $10,000 limit will diminish deductions which could be used before, making home ownership even less logical beyond a certain home price. In states with very high property taxes, even less expensive homes will reach that limit and become less attractive tax-wise. I am seeing many smart Silicon Valley high-tech people, and others interested in living in expensive areas, opting to rent their residence, and buy several (or many) investment properties in affordable markets where the rent numbers are good.

The deductions available for rental properties have not been affected by the 2018 tax law, and in fact a new deduction, the “pass through deduction” was added, which could benefit many real estate investors. The logic behind renting your own residence while buying affordable investment homes has been taken further by the new tax law.

People do not have to buy rental homes in the areas in which they happen to live. I myself own rental homes all over the United States, as do thousands of our investors. Since we have a solid support infrastructure in many appropriate real estate markets, investing in another state becomes easier, since the local teams in that market will handle the rentals, maintenance and support for the investor.

Local infrastructure makes it doable

The local infrastructure in the various markets is comprised of property managers, local savvy real estate brokers, maintenance crews, insurance agents, and any other function needed to support the busy investor, who may live far away. We have many foreign investors, who live across the ocean, invest in multiple rental homes in appropriate markets in the United States.

Different colorful houses suit house shape holes of wooden board, 3D illustration.

Our company, ICG, has been holding 1-Day Expos for over 20 years every quarter with market teams, expert speakers, extensive Q&A and networking etc. near the San Francisco airport. During these events I always cover many subjects in detail, including the subject of this article.

You can attend for free by mentioning this article in an email to, register online ( using the code FREEREALTY411, or call us at 800-324-3983.

Looking forward to seeing you.

About ICG and Adiel Gorel:

ICG (International Capital Group) Real Estate Investments was established in the 1980’s. Adiel Gorel, founder and CEO, has been helping people achieve financial security for over three decades, and in that time worked with investors to purchase over 10,000 homes. Gorel is a real estate broker in several states in the U.S., an international keynote speaker, and notable author of three books: Remote Controlled Retirement Riches – The Busy Person’s Guild to Real Estate Investing, Invest Then Rest – How to Buy Single-Family Rental Properties and Remote Control Retirement Riches – How to Change Your Future with Rental Homes. He has been featured on major television and radio networks across the country and in Fortune Magazine. He has also been featured on Public Television with his show, “Remote Control Retirement Riches with Adiel Gorel.” To invite Adiel Gorel to speak for your group, email and visit For more information on ICG Real Estate Investments visit

The Perfect Investment…One Of Real Estates’ Best Kept Secrets

By Reggie Brooks

When we look at the investment opportunities in the marketplace, we see the same old patterns. “The greater the risk, the greater the reward”. To see where this is played out, look at the stock market. While fortunes have been made in the stock market, fortunes have also been lost in the stock market. Well, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to want to invest where you can gain an edge over your competition. You’ll want to earn higher interest than you can get from anywhere else, and you’ll want to have your investment guaranteed by the strength of our government. Well, hold on to your hats! Such an rare animal actually does exist. It’s investing tax sale instruments. I’ll explain.

We use so many services that are provided by our various counties that we tend to take them for granted. For instance, our firefighters, our police departments, some hospitals, and our school districts are all services that would strongly affect us if they were to suddenly loose funding. So, where do they get their funding? I’m glad you asked. They get it from “property taxes”. But you have to understand this part. This is where you and I as entrepreneurs can make money…

Our government is smart. They know that the average person has an aversion to paying their taxes. That’s why the various state and local governments have enacted laws that provide for very heavy penalties when a person does not pay their property taxes. Then, the government will allow us to pay up the owner’s back property taxes and whatever other fees that have accumulated, and essentially step into the government’s lien position (this is BIG)! Now, the delinquent property tax payer has to pay you instead of the government. And they’ll pay you big! I’ll explain.

When you invest in tax sale instruments, be aware that there are certain states that are tax certificate states, and other states that are tax deed states. A tax certificate state essentially sells to an investor the right to collect interest on unpaid property taxes. The state law sets the amount of interest that the investor can collect. On the other hand, a tax deed state will let the interest and penalties pile up against the delinquent tax payer. If the delinquent amount is not paid within a certain period of time (this is the Redemption period. We’ll talk about the Redemption period in a few minutes) the property will be sold at public auction.

This is our opportunity to possibly acquire property for pennies on the dollar, or make significantly higher than market returns on our investments. These high return on investment interest rates are guaranteed by law to stay high. They don’t adjust based on what any market is doing. They are set by law, and they don’t change. If you invest in Arizona for instance you will earn 16% on your money. Even if you tell them that you only want to be paid 12%, they’re going to pay you 16% anyway.

The only thing that can change the amount of money you make in your investment is a change in the state law. What are the chances of that happening?? Many counties will allow you to invest in these tax instruments by simply mailing in a check. Some will allow you to pay with a credit card, and some will even allow you to invest in these money making tax sale instruments over the internet! Can it get any better?

Here’s something else you need to know. A delinquent tax payer will be given a short grace period where they can pay their taxes without having to pay a penalty. When the grace period expires, the Redemption period starts. The Redemption period can run anywhere from 6 months to 5 years, and will allow our delinquent tax payer to pay the delinquent taxes, accumulated interest, and penalties, and they would then redeem their property. If payment is not received by the end of the redemption period, the local taxing agency will generate a list of liens to be offered at the next tax sale, a “Notice Of Sale” is advertised in a newspaper of general circulation, and the “public auction” scenario is initiated. In some cases the notice of sale will appear in the newspaper 2 to 3 weeks before the auction date. This period is to allow the delinquent tax payer a little more time to pay the back taxes, interest, penalties, etc. If these amounts are not paid, and after many public and private notifications to the delinquent owner, the property can be seized and sold at public auction.

You can greatly reduce your risk by diligently doing your research. It might be wise to do a title search just to make sure there won’t be any unpleasant surprises. Watch out for property that have an IRS lien, or that might be going through bankruptcy. These can become nightmares.

Are you ready for some more exciting news?? This is the part that I like best – all of the junior liens get wiped out! Understand just how big this is. Some of you might not know that in a foreclosure sale, liens that were recorded after the lien that initiated the foreclosure, will be wiped out. Keeping in mind that the laws can differ considerably from state to state, a tax lien is usually considered senior or ahead of the first lien. If you foreclose on a delinquent tax lien and you end up with the house, you’ll own that house free and clear of any liens!!

If you’re looking to improve on the meager little return you’re getting at your local bank, how would you like to earn 18% interest on your money guaranteed, and your checks come straight from the government? If you wanted to invest in tax certificates in West Virginia, you’d earn your 18% return! And if the property is not redeemed within 18 months, you could foreclose and end up with the property.

Maybe you’d like Delaware a little better. Delaware is one of the best places to invest on the East Coast. Investing in Delaware can get you a big 20% return, and if the delinquent tax payer doesn’t redeem his property within 12 months, you get the deed.

In Maryland, you can earn 24% on your money, depending on which county you decided to invest in. The Redemption period is usually 1 year, although it can be as little as 6 months.

If you want to go to Illinois, you can do pretty well. Depending on the type of property involved you can get 18% return if the delinquent property owner redeems the property within 6 months, and 36% return if the property is redeemed after the 6 month period.

Or, maybe you might like to invest in Texas. As an investor, you’ll earn a 25% return on your money if the property is redeemed within the first year. If the property is redeemed after one year and one day, you’ll earn 50% return on your money. Depending on the type of property, the redemption period can be as little as 6 months.

Investing in tax deeds and tax lien certificates can be a fun, risk free strategy to create big income, or an opportunity to capture investment properties for pennies on the dollar. Remember, when you take over ownership of one of these tax delinquent properties, you own them free and clear. There is no better way to get your money working super hard for you than by investing in real estate secured tax sale instruments.


Key Vocabulary for 1031 Exchanges

By Dr. Robert G. Hetsler, Jr.

search-2951638_1280If you’re new to the world of section #1031 of the IRS Tax Code, the terminology that comes along with these tax-saving exchanges can be confusing. To help you understand the phrases you will undoubtedly hear if you choose to complete a tax-deferred 1031 exchange, here’s a list of the key terms you will come across.

Like-Kind: A term that refers to the nature or character of the property being exchanged. In order for the exchange to qualify for tax-deferred status, both the relinquished and replacement property must meet the IRS definition of like-kind.

Boot: This is the fair market value of any non-qualified property you receive during the exchange. It can be cash, loans, property, reduction in debt or even supplies. Basically, anything of value that you receive during the exchange could be considered boot.

Constructive Receipt: Any indirect control you have over the proceeds of the exchange. If you benefit in any way from the proceeds (aside from the purchase of replacement property), this could be considered constructive receipt and can jeopardize the tax-deferred nature of the exchange.

Qualified Intermediary: The individual or entity that manages the exchange and holds sale proceeds for relinquished property (to avoid the exchanger having actual or constructive receipt) and title to the replacement property (again, to avoid receipt issues during the exchange).

Relinquished Property: The old property the exchanger is getting rid of during the exchange.

Replacement Property: The new property the exchanger will acquire during the exchange.

Exchanger: The investor who is conducting the 1031 exchange for his or her own benefit.



7 Bookkeeping Mistakes That Real Estate Business Owners Make and How to Avoid Them

By Leon McKenzie, CEO, US Probate Leads

How would you feel if you had to watch as your hard-earned wealth goes up in flames because you failed to make sure that your finances were in order?

The word horrible comes to mind.

Statistics show that about 49% of small businesses will not be able to survive for 5 years or more. So, if this is a fate that you want to avoid as a real estate investor, your bookkeeping must be in order.

And while you have the option of hiring a bookkeeper to sort out your business finances, you still need to take an active role in managing them. You could start by identifying the common mistakes small businesses make and do everything you can to avoid or rectify them.

So, what are these mistakes? And how should you go about addressing them?

1. Using a Personal Account for Business Transactions

A personal bank account is for personal financial transactions. This is the account that allows you to pay your personal expenses and keep your savings. But many small business owners, which include those in the real estate, tend to use personal bank accounts for business transactions.

This is a big no-no.

At no point in time should you do such a thing. How are you going to trace what is coming in from your business? And how will you be able to separate your personal and business transactions?

Mixing things up in this manner is a recipe for trouble. Sooner or later, the IRS may require you to account for all monies coming into your real estate business, and you will be unable to meet their requirements – at least not without some expensive accounting help.

If you are currently running your business and personal life from one bank account, you need to do something to change that. Opening a business account takes a short time but will save you a lot of grief in the long term.

2. Paying For Business Transactions Using Personal Debit and Credit Cards

Are you one of those real estate investors that use your personal debt and credit cards to pay for business transactions?

You need to stop.

Doing this is just as bad as using a personal bank account to run your business operations. It’s going to be very difficult for you to keep track of your personal and business expenditures. You will need to spend more time and effort to find out what belongs where, which you may not be able to do.

So, what should you do?

It’s really simple: get separate debit and credit cards for your businesses. And if you are not in a position to do so, then dedicate one debit or credit card to business transactions for easy accounting. Doing so helps you build creditworthiness not just on a personal level, but on a business level as well.

3. Poor Record Keeping

Are you one of those people who assume that when the time comes to do your taxes you will remember it all?

How is that working out for you?

Poor record keeping is a serious issue for some real estate investors. You may fail to keep receipts of the building or renovation materials that you use. You may also fail to keep a record of your debts or payments to freelance professionals that you hire. Categorizing employees or expenses wrongly may also be an issue. Regardless of what the problem is, poor record keeping will come back to haunt you in the very near future – when the taxes come calling.

The first thing to do is write down everything you spend in the way of business transactions. Use a business credit or debit card to pay off your expenses because it makes everything much easier to track. Be sure to ask for a receipt – always. Then make sure that you have categorized your business transactions and employee-related expenses correctly. In addition, keep a very close eye on what is coming in and going out of your business accounts. Be sure to keep a record of your business activities going back a few years, just in case.

It may seem like a nuisance to keep good records, but when you need to account for your money to IRS or potential business buyers, you will thank yourself for doing so. Not only will you be able to stay out of trouble, but you will also be able to stay on top of reimbursable expenses that will help keep more money in your pocket.

4. Not Reconciling Your Bank And Credit Accounts

If you have a good record of your business transactions but do not reconcile your bank and credit accounts, then there is no difference between you and hoarders who buys things that they do not use.

What’s the point?

Those receipts and statements you keep should be used to reconcile your credit and bank accounts. It is the only way for you to get a clear picture of your real estate business in terms of what you owe and how much you really own as equity and cash.

So take time every week or month to balance the books. Don’t procrastinate until it is too late to save your business.

5. Setting Little Money Aside For Taxes And Other Bills

Are you setting very little money for taxes?

That’s probably the reason you get penalized often.

How about a steady cash flow: are you always short of cash to run your business?

If you run a real estate business, then you are self-employed. That means that you are responsible for setting aside enough money aside to pay your taxes and any other financial emergencies that crop up. We are talking about Social Security, Medicare, and retirement savings for the future.

Your poor cash flow on the other hand, could be attributed to poor accounting or the fact that you are overextending yourself financially. If you are spending most of your business revenues on expanding your business without keeping a financial emergency fund for the business, then between your regular business expenses and debts, you will have little money for emergencies – hence the poor cash flow.

So take stock of your finances, and leverage debt to help you expand that real estate business without compromising your ability to pay taxes or keep the business in operation.

Cash is still king.

6. Not Backing Up Data

After all the effort you have gone into to digitize your business and learn how everything works, you are currently sitting tight and have no care in the world.

This is a dangerous mindset to have.

Digitization of business data makes taking care of your real estate investments much easier. But what happens when your systems are hacked or your servers fail?

You will need to resort to your backups, of course.

So, the question is: do you back up data? How often do you do it?

What are you waiting for?

You need to back up your data digitally and manually. You can back up your real estate business data in the cloud or a second business server. You should also keep your paper records as a backup just in case your entire digital system fails completely.

You can set up your digital system to back up data automatically after a set period. That, in addition to keeping a paper record of your business transactions, will be helpful should your business ever need an audit or should your systems fail.

7. Trying To Do It All

Nobody understands your real estate business better than you do. You have put blood, sweat, and tears into running it and making it a success. For that reason, you are having a hard time ceding the control of your business to someone else. So you try to do it all. And you are failing- miserably.

“Pride comes before a fall.” How often have you heard that statement?

Is it more important for you to be in control or to be successful?

Well then, it is time for you to try to keep up with every aspect of your business. While it is wise for you to keep up with your business finances, it does not hurt to hire a bookkeeper to help you out. Not everyone has a head for numbers, and it is okay to hire those that do.

And when you do hire a bookkeeper to help you with your business finances, supervise but do not micromanage. Take the time to discuss what you want that professional to do, and then provide him or her with the chance to do the assigned job properly.

Business bookkeeping is part and parcel of running a real estate business. In order for you to make money, what comes in must be more than what goes out. And in order to make good profits, you have to understand what goes on in your business, right? So, it all comes a full circle. What this implies is that you must know what goes on in your business on the financial front. Be sure to hire a professional bookkeeper to help you out if you cannot manage your business finances. But even as you do, make work easier on yourself by avoiding the common bookkeeping mistakes that business owners tend to make. It will make your business operations much more efficient and profitable.


Getting Started with Your Tax Lien Certificate and Tax Deed Investment Business

By: Ted Thomas

Investing in tax lien certificates and tax deeds is a business that almost anyone can start. It doesn’t require any more than motivation, a small amount of money, and knowledge of how the system works. While I can’t help you with the first two requirements, my successful students and I can help you with the third one.

The Basics of Any Good Business

As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. The more you know, the better your investments will be – whether you are creating wealth through the stock market, by opening your own storefront, or by purchasing tax lien certificates and tax deeds.

Think of your investment business as an office building. Before the walls goes up, there has to be a foundation in place. Not only is the foundation the most important part of constructing the building, it’s the hardest part to do. It takes careful planning, using the blueprints (knowledge) to create a foundation that will support the subsequent structure.

Although its importance can’t be overstated, one day the foundation will be covered up. No one will be able to see it and it will become a forgotten part of the building. Nevertheless, the building must stand firmly on the foundation or it will crumble.

The same is true of a business. Your profits will speak for themselves, but no one will realize the time, research, and effort you put into creating a foundation of success. Just remember that without those ingredients, your road to profitable investments will be a rough one.

Understand the Process

The more comfortable you are with the process of bidding on tax lien certificates and tax deeds, the better your chances of making good buying decisions. One of my successful students, Craig Talkington, puts it this way, “You do it once and it gets easier every time you do it. It’s guaranteed. The worst that happens is you get your money back.”

Not only that, it gets more profitable! Recently, Craig bought a 10-acre tract of land at a Tax Lien certificate sale. It was next to a school in a bad part of town and everyone thought he was crazy. But Craig was crazy like a fox – he figured the school would eventually want to use it for expansion. He bought the certificate for $1,500 and later sold the property to the school system for $34,000. Craig kept investing part time and it didn’t take long for his profits to snowball.

Know the Rules

Each county is different when it comes to auctioning tax lien certificates and tax deeds. They have specific rules and particular bidding procedures. There are many bidding processes, I’m only mentioning two in this tutorial.

The bidding process at a tax lien certificate or tax deed auction varies. Two types are a reverse auction and rotational bidding.

At a traditional auction, bidding starts with a minimum amount and each subsequent bid goes up; in a reverse auction, it starts at the high point and then goes lower. This type of auction is used in the states of Arizona and Florida. In Florida, the bidding is on an interest rate that starts at 18 percent. The interest rate gets progressively lower as the bidding continues and may go down to less than one percent.

The state of Colorado, on the other hand, uses a rotational bidding process. This means the bidders are all given a card with a number; the auctioneer will go around the room in order from lowest to highest number asking for bids. At some rotational bid auctions, the numbers are printed on ping pong balls and put into a big drum, much like you might see at a bingo game.

Dates and times vary widely amongst tax districts, too. For instance, the state of Texas sells tax defaulted properties every month. Texas counties sell tax deeds; however the deed has an encumbrance. Texas allows the property owners to pay the investor directly and redeem the tax-defaulted property anytime within 180 days. The owner must pay the amount of the defaulting taxes on the deed plus 25%, no matter the amount of days the debt has been outstanding. You could easily make a tidy profit in less than 30 days and that is why Texas is a popular state when it comes to tax deed investing.

Obviously, there is a lot to learn about the particular rules imposed by each county and municipality – but learning them forms the foundation of your business.

Get Started Now

The most important thing is that you get started on your investment business. You don’t have to quit your day job; you need to make small changes and begin to control your destiny so you have money in the future.

Ask yourself, “Is this in my best interests?” The more you learn the better your investment business will be and the more you will like it. Tax lien certificate and tax deed investing is as safe an investment as you can imagine since it is secured by real estate, your money protected by tax code, and certificates pay one of the highest rates of interest in the market.

Ted Thomas is famous for showing newcomers and investors how to earn 6 figure incomes within 1 year of completing his training program. Conservative investors love tax lien certificates because they are predictable, certain and secure and sold by local government. Tax defaulted properties are sold at oral big auctions and online. Starting bid, only the back taxes…. More information at