OK, so you’ve followed the first six steps to building your profitable tax lien portfolio and you’ve purchased your first tax lien certificate or tax deed. Now what do you do to insure that your investment is a profitable one? The seventh and final step to building your profitable tax lien or tax deed portfolio is protecting your investment and maximizing your return.
Depending on whether you are investing in liens or deeds and which state you are investing in, these steps may include; recording your lien or deed with the county clerk, paying subsequent taxes, Clearing the title to the property, and foreclosing the right to redeem a tax lien. Regardless of whether you purchased a tax lien, a tax deed, or a redeemable tax deed, the first thing that you need to do is record your lien or deed with the county clerk. Unless it is recorded, all you have is a worthless piece of paper. In some states this will done for you, and you will be charged a recording fee when you purchase your tax lien certificate or tax deed. In many states, it is the investors responsibility to do this and you are given a specific time frame in which it needs to be done. In some redeemable deed states, like Texas for example, the redemption period does not start until the deed is recorded, so you’ll want to do that right away. It is to your advantage to check out ahead of time what the procedures and laws are in your state for recording a tax lien or tax deed.
When you purchase a tax lien, some states will allow you to pay the current unpaid taxes (remember that the taxes you paid in order to get the lien are most likely last year’s taxes) and any subsequent taxes that the property owner doesn’t pay. I recommend that you pay the subsequent taxes (referred to as “subs”) , if your state allows it, as soon as possible. Some states will give you the maximum interest on your subs and some will only give you the interest that you bid at the sale, but most states that allow you to pay the subs also allow you to collect interest on them. This is one way that you can maximize your profit in a tax lien.
When you buy a tax deed, in most cases you will get a non-warranty deed. That means that there is not warranty as to the condition of the property or the condition of the title to the property. Basically you are buying the property without clear title and if you want to resell it, you will need to clear the title. Very few states issue a warranty deed at a tax sale. You can clear the title to the property in one of two ways. You can either hire an attorney to do a quiet title process or you could hire a title company to do a title certification process. Which one of these processes are more cost effective and quicker than the other will depend on the state. I have heard that in Texas it is easier and cheaper to use a title company and I know that here in Pennsylvania it can be more cost effective to use an attorney. I do recommend that if you use an attorney that you find one that does a lot of this type of work.
If you purchase a tax lien and it is not redeemed within the redemption period, than you may need to foreclose on the property in order to get paid. In my experience this happens very seldom, but when it does you will need a lawyer to handle this for you. It may seem like a simple process, but there many steps that have to be followed exactly or you could lose your right to the property. I also recommend that you only use a lawyer who specializes in tax lien foreclosures. Lawyers who specialize in this area are familiar with the difficulties that come up and know how to handle them. Because they are very familiar with the process they will be able to get through it faster than a lawyer who does not do many tax lien foreclosures.
This is the last article in this series. For more information about how you can build your own profitable tax lien or tax deed portfolio, I invite you to sign up for the free preview teleseminar to my new 8 week coaching course, "Build Your Profitable Tax Lien Portfolio." To register, go to http://tinyurl.com/f2hy4.