If you invest in tax lien certificates, there are certain things that you need to do in order to keep your investment profitable. By automating your business, you won’t miss any deadlines that might reduce your profit on your tax lien portfolio. You must keep track of when you bought your tax lien certificate, when subsequent tax payments are due, and when the redemption period ends. You will also need a system for recording liens with the county, sending out 30 day notices at the end of the redemption period, sending out requests to tax collectors for taxes due and tracking the profitability of your liens.
Let’s start from the beginning. Before you even purchase a tax lien certificate, you need to contact the tax collector and get a list of the sale properties. Some tax collectors will give you a list with all the information that you need to do your due diligence, but most will not. You need a system for finding the information that you need, doing due diligence on the properties and deciding on which properties you want to bid on and just how much you can pay and still make a decent profit.
I use a software program to help me with all of this and data from LienSource, a provider of tax sale lists for some of the east coast states, including the two most popular tax lien states, New Jersey and Florida. In my software program I have all of the contact information that I need including the phone numbers and addresses of all of the tax collectors in the state. Also with my subscription to LienSource, I get updates on what sale lists are available and I have a calendar of sales for the state so that I know what sales are coming up. If I buy a list from LienSource, I can import all the data directly into the software program. The software program has it’s own calendar that will show all the sales that I import as well as relevant dates for any of the liens I own, such as when quarterly taxes are due and when redemptions periods are over.
My software program allows me to print due diligence sheets listing the sale properties. I can take this with me to do due diligence on the properties. The program calculates how much premium, if any, I can pay for the properties on the list. It also allows me to print out a bid sheet listing all the properties, the way that they will be read out loud at the sale, with the maximum that I can pay for each property so that I know when to stop bidding. This way the emotion of the auction does not carry me away and I make sure that I am profitable. This is very important in New Jersey, where interest is frequently bid down to 0% and then premium is bid. You can easily lose any profit buy paying to much premium for a tax lien.
After I have purchased a tax lien certificate I use the software to track my lien. I keep track of all of my expenses, like recording the lien, and any subsequent tax payments made. I can also print out an affidavit with one click of my mouse to send to the tax collector whenever I make a payment. This is very important, because without that affidavit, you could lose any additional payments and the interest accrued on them. I can also use the software to track my current profit to date on any individual lien or my entire portfolio and it will let me know when I need to pay subsequent taxes and when a lien is ready to foreclose. I can even track the progress of the foreclosure.
I hope by now that you realize that investing in tax lien certificates is not just going to tax sales and buying tax liens. You need to do due diligence on the properties, keep up with the tax liens that you have by paying the subsequent taxes when they are due, and start foreclosure procedures when the redemption period is over. All these things take some time and effort on your part, but if you put in the time now, you will reap the benefits later. Find your own system for doing these tasks to help you streamline your tax lien investing business.
Joanne Musa works with investors who want to reap the rewards of tax lien and tax deed investing. She is the author of the Tax Lien Lady’s E-books, Tax Lien Investing Secrets and Tax Lien Lady’s State Guide to Tax Lien and Tax Deed Investing. For more information on Tax Lien Manager ™, the complete system for tax lien investing in New Jersey, go to http://www.njtaxliensoftware.com/.