I am frequently asked, “How much money do I need to start investing in tax liens.” Well, that all depends on what your goal for investing is. If you’re using tax lien investing as a way to invest for the future, then you can get started with a couple of thousand dollars. But if you want to create an income from tax lien investing than you need to invest much more.
One thing that you have to remember is that tax lien investing is not a get rich quick scheme. It’s not like other types of real estate investing like buying and flipping properties, or owning rental properties. With foreclosure properties, you have an idea of when your going to cash out of your deal, and with rental properties you have a steady income. With tax liens, you don’t get paid until the delinquent taxpayer decides to redeem the lien or redeemable deed. This may not be until the redemption period is over and foreclosure notices are delivered.
How much money you will need to invest in order to meet your goals also depends on what state your investing in. In redeemable deed states, like Georgia and Texas, the price of the deed is bid up, so you will need more money to purchase a redeemable deed than you would to purchase a tax lien certificate in a state where the interest rate is bid down. But it can also be more lucrative and give you a faster payout than lien states.
In Georgia for example, the penalty is 20% and the redemption period is one year. You would have to invest $100,000 over the next year to make $20,000 the following year. And if you needed to foreclose on any properties you would need to pay a lawyer, which would cut into your profits. In Texas, where the penalty is 25% and the redemption period on non-homesteaded properties in only six months, you would need to invest only $80,000 dollars in the first six months of next year to make $20,000 in the following six months, and you don’t have to foreclose on the property. In Texas when the property doesn’t redeem by the end of the redemption period, it automatically reverts to the tax deed purchaser.
You need the least amount of money to get started in tax lien investing in tax lien states where premium is not paid for tax lien certificates. In these states either the interest rate, or the percent ownership (should the property not redeem and you foreclose) is bid down, or they use a random selection or round robin procedure for awarding bids. You need the least amount of money in these states because the price of the tax lien is not bid up. In these states it is possible to buy a tax lien with very little money, but in states where the interest rate is bid down, you might not be getting as much of a return on your money as you would in one of the redeemable deed states. I advise that you attend one or two tax sales before you actually start bidding on properties. This way, you’ll know just how much money you’ll need to start investing in tax liens or redeemable tax deeds in your state.