The Question Is; What Is A Tax Lien?…It’s Not What You’re Thinking
By Ted Thomas
Across America, investors like you are discovering a safe, secure, predictable way to invest directly with the local government and then get checks back from the local government… here’s how..
The most common question I hear is “What is a tax lien certificate?” It is truly amazing how many people are not aware of this centuries-old investment vehicle.
The United States is a country where the majority of citizens own real estate, either residential or commercial, for many the most valuable asset they own is real estate.
Even though the housing bubble in recent years forced many people out of their homes, real estate ownership is still the goal to which most Americans aspire.
One of the costs of real estate ownership which cannot be avoided is the payment of property taxes. Local governments demand property taxes so that they may pay for civil servants and for roads, library, schools, police and fire departments to name a few. These property taxes are usually levied annually. In the U.S. there are 3,000 counties and over 1,400 municipalities that are classified as tax entities, sometimes called districts.
What happens if the property tax bill is not paid? The county government authorities do have remedies. They could repossess the property, but unlike vehicles or other goods, real estate can’t be moved. Instead, the government places a lien on the property.
A lien is similar to a mortgage, meaning that until the amount due is paid, the property is not owned free and clear. A delinquent tax lien is considered a senior lien – the local government must be paid before any other debtors if and when the real estate is transferred or sold. The lien is not beneficial to the municipality because it doesn’t fill their treasury with the money needed to pay for city and county services. In order to get their money right away, the municipality will offer tax lien certificates for sale to the public. This simply means, the defaulted taxes are sold at auction to willing investors. Investor’s purchase tax lien certificates because the county gives the investor a high interest rate and a secure position on the real estate.
The local government challenge is…
To collect property taxes. This is usually accomplished with an annual, or more frequent tax lien certificate auction or a tax defaulted property auction, today we’re talking about tax lien certificates. When the tax lien certificate is sold, the government collects their revenue from the investor and the property owner receives a notice of lien against their property, giving the property owner time to pay the delinquent bill. The purchaser of the certificate gets the lien certificate, which is secured by the actual real estate.
In order to remove the lien, the property owner must pay the amount of the unpaid taxes plus any applicable interest and penalties. When this revenue is received, the government authority sends a check to the tax lien certificate holder for the face amount plus the amount of interest accrued.
What If The Tax Isn’t Paid?
Sometimes the property owner just doesn’t pay the tax lien certificate which represents the taxes due, for one reason or another, it may be that the real estate became part of an estate and the heirs don’t want the property – or can’t afford it. How much time elapses between the taxes going unpaid and the municipality deciding to give up on ever receiving the revenue varies by tax district.
According to county treasurers across the United States, 95 to 97 percent of all property owners pay the delinquent tax in 24 months or less. It’s rare that a property owner fails to redeem (pay) the Tax Lien Certificate, but it does happen, nationwide, every year there are thousands of buyers who end up with property for only the cost of back taxes which they purchased at a tax defaulted auction. In a subsequent article, I’ll have more about tax defaulted property auctions, meanwhile, if the property owner fails to pay taxes, the tax lien certificate holder is awarded the property in exchange for paying the taxes, the county or municipality sends the tax lien certificate purchaser a deed, giving them the fee simple right to keep or sell the real estate.
Where To Find Tax Lien Certificates
Where can you find tax lien certificates that are up for auction? Local governments compile a list of delinquent property owners on a regular basis. This list can be found in one of three places: published by the newspaper, published online, or a printed list available directly from the government office. When you obtain the list, you can also get instructions and the date of the next auction of tax lien certificates.
To review, only two things may occur if you purchase a tax lien certificate. Number 1, the property owner gets their act together and redeems the certificate, that is they pay the certificate and when they pay you’ll receive all the money you invested plus a high interest rate which could be 16, 18, up to 36%. Number 2, the property owner continues the default and does not pay and the time limit runs out and you end up with the property free and clear. The mortgage is wiped out by an act of law, that is, the mortgage is extinguished by law in every state and every county in America.
Advantages of Tax Lien Certificate investing
Tax lien certificates pay interest rates up to 16%, 18%, 24% even 36% depending on the county where you purchase, each county has its own rules and amounts they pay. Conservative investors really like tax lien certificates because they are passive investments with very low risk. In short, they are predictable, certain and secure. Watch for more details in the future…
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 TedThomas.com