What is the skinny on tax lien sales?
May 21, 2010 2:59 PM   Subscribe

What can you tell me about your experience with tax lien sales?

A trusted friend and aspiring financial advisor just pointed me to these. I can get a list of benefits and downsides online, but I'm more interested with anyone's personal experience. How much effort is involved? Are they more work than they're worth? How long does it usually take to get paid back? What was the general rate of return? Thanks!
posted by kookywon to Work & Money (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The answer is going to depend very much on the jurisdiction.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:19 PM on May 21, 2010

My information is a few years old and as Countess Elena mentioned only applies to a specific jurisdiction, but in some instances the legal process is only treated as a formality while the real dealing is done in back rooms. Specifically, while the property in question is supposed to be auctioned off in the town square or some such, a deal may have been struck beforehand and said property will be taken off the auction block at the last minute. Talk to an experienced real estate lawyer in your area if you want to know how the process works. After that you can then begin to look at specific properties and decide if the likely purchase price (plus repairs that are needed, liens against the property, and so on) is a good investment. In general, if someone is willing to walk away from a property rather than pay the taxes then that is a good sign to proceed with much caution.
posted by TedW at 9:43 PM on May 21, 2010

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