Once you know when the tax sale is coming up in your area, you need to get the list of properties that are in the sale. I use naco.org to find tax sale property lists online for tax lien and tax deed sales. This only works for counties that have this information online. For counties or states that do not have this information online, you can either call the tax collector and ask how to get the tax sale list or you can buy the tax sale list from a tax sale list provider. To find out which counties have tax sale information and tax sale lists online, you can consult my State Guide.
To go to the county’s web site, first go to naco.org and click on the link to find a county. This will bring you to a page with a map of the United States. Click on the state that you are interested in and you’ll be taken to that state’s web page with a list of all of the counties in the state. Find the county that you are interested in and click on that link. You will be taken to the NACO page for that county. Click on the link to the county on the top of the page and you will go to the county’s web site. Note that this will only work if the county has a web site.
Once you’re on the county’s web site, look for a link to the department or county office that is responsible for conducting the tax sale. For most states, this will be the county treasurer or county tax collector. If you’re not sure who is responsible for the tax sale in your state, then consult my State Guide. Once you get to the web site of the person or department that conducts the tax sale, look for a link to a list of tax sale properties. For larger counties, you can usually find this online. The exception to this is the counties in the Northeastern states. A lot of the Northeastern states do not have county tax sales. Instead the tax sales are conducted by the municipality, so instead of looking for the county web site, in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, look for the municipal tax collectors web site – not county web site. New York has both county and municipal sales in some counties.
If you can’t find the tax sale list that you want online, you can always buy a list from a tax sale list provider. Even if you can find the tax sale list online for free, you still may want to purchase the list from a tax sale list provider. That’s because the list that you get from the tax collector does not always have the information that you need. Frequently it will only have a parcel ID number, owner name, and amount due. What you want to know is what is the address of the property, what is the assessment and value of the property, what type or class property is it, and how big is the property. All of this (and sometimes even more information) is included in the detailed list that you can get from tax sale list providers. I talked about some different tax sale list providers in the last podcast episode, “How to Find Out About Tax Sales.” You can listen to that episode to get the names and urls of tax list providers for different areas of the country. Purchasing a detailed tax sale list from one of these companies will save you a lot of work in doing your due diligence.