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If someone fails to pay their real estate taxes on time, you could profit.

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Why Tax Liens Are The Best Starting Ground For Investing

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  1. Investing in Tax Liens & Deeds?
  2. Should You Invest in Tax Liens??
  3. Straight!

Start a Discussion. Hey BiggerPockets! Rotate Log in or sign up to reply. If you do want to go forward then I suggest: You learn the laws where you are going to invest Learn the hidden costs if you have to foreclose Learn the market where you are investing Know exactly what you are buying. It can be easy to buy worthless crap.

Miami Law Firm, Therrel Baisden, LLP | International Tax Planning

The main thing I'm unsure about is how one would go about investing in US liens from abroad. Log in Sign up. Log in Email Password Forgot password? Name required. It's possible that you discovered a gem that no one noticed at the last auction, but the lien could be a money pit, too. Find out everything you can about unsold liens to make sure you'll be making a good investment. Narrow down your list. The list could have hundreds of liens for sale, and it's impossible to do a detailed investigation of that many. If there are a lot, cut the list down.

A good way to do this is to think about how much money you have to invest. If you plan on investing only a few hundred dollars, then you can easily cross off any liens that require more money than that. If you have several thousand dollars to invest and are looking for a big profit, don't bother with smaller liens.

You can focus on particular types of liens. Tax liens can be placed on residential or commercial properties, so focusing on one or the other could narrow down your list. Investigate the properties ahead of time. Remember that once you buy a lien certificate, you assume the risk if the occupants don't pay back their debt.

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When you've obtained the list of liens, make sure to research all the properties you may be interested in. You want a good investment, so look out for any signs that property may not give you a profit.

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In this case, the lender might step in to pay the lien before you get a chance to buy it. Lenders might be willing to pay more than you would to protect their larger investment in the property and prevent foreclosure. They also might try to legally stop you from foreclosing on the home if you do manage to buy the lien. Dilapidated properties in economically depressed neighborhoods are a very risky investment. Such liens might carry higher interest rates, but if the occupants are unable to pay their debt, the interest rate won't do you any good, and you'll wind up losing money.

Sometimes occupants owe more in back taxes than the value of the home. This means that if they abandon the property, you won't even be able to earn back your investment by selling the property. Avoid such places, or at least invest with caution. Properties that have suffered environmental problems such as chemical contamination are a risk as well. The cost of the cleanup will probably outweigh the potential profit to be earned from back taxes. Take, for example, old gas stations.

These properties need a complete overhaul. Old gas tanks have to be dug up, and the ground has to be decontaminated. This is a dangerous investment that could easily end up losing you money. Come up with a final list.

After narrowing your list down and investigating some properties you're interested in, you should draw up a final list. This way you can be prepared to focus on specific liens on the day of the sale. The size of this list will depend on how much you're looking to invest.

If this is your first time and you don't have much to invest, keeping the list short is probably a good idea. If you're a professional with a lot to invest, the list can get as large as you can afford. Attend the lien auction.

Tax Lien Investing in the US as a Foreign Investor

When you've done all of your research and have a final list in mind, it's time to bid on the liens you want. Go to the location of the lien sale. Work out beforehand exactly how much you're willing to spend on each property. Without an advance plan, you could get carried away and bid too much on a lien that won't give you a good return on your investment. Remember to take other expenses into account besides the cost of the lien. For example, if the homeowners fail to pay their taxes, you might have to start judicial foreclosure proceedings.

This will lead to legal fees, which can get expensive. Keep this in mind when deciding how much to spend. The lien sale, whether online or in person, should feature a typical auction format. The lien for sale will be announced, an opening price will be set, and then bidding will start. Pay attention during the auction so you know when a lien you're interested in comes up.

Usually auctions require payment in cash or certified check. Add up what you're willing to spend on your liens, and bring either enough cash or a few certified checks. Some auctions allow you to finance a purchase. If this is the case, you should get pre-approved to avoid administrative slowdowns. Notify the property owner if you're required to do so. Make sure you stay within the law during this whole process.