Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Invest in Tax Lien Certificates and Tax Deeds Tax Free

Did you know that you could use money from a self-directed IRA account to invest in tax lien certificates or tax deeds? I’ve interviewed retirement account specialists from two different self-directed IRA companies; EntrustCAMA and Equity Trust Company, and I’ve learned that it is possible to invest tax free in tax lien certificates and tax deeds with a self-directed IRA.

If you use money from a regular self-directed IRA account to invest in tax lien certificates or tax deeds, than your money grows tax free until you withdraw from your account after retirement. But, if you use money from a Roth self-directed IRA, and you do not take any withdrawals until retirement age – you do not pay any taxes on your profits! So if you are using tax lien or tax deed investing as a way to save for your retirement, you need to look into this.

Although many brokerages will say that they have self-directed IRA accounts, they are not true self-directed accounts. You can only invest in anything that they sell. A true self-directed retirement account will allow you to invest in anything that is not prohibited by law. Allowable investments include real estate, tax lien certificates, tax deeds, and notes, along with other of the more usual investments. True self-directed IRA companies are prohibited to sell you investments. They can recommend types of investments that you can use your self-directed IRA for and show you how to do the paper work for them, but they are not allowed to make a commission on what you buy. There are only a handful of these companies in the country. I personally only know of three of them and I’m familiar with only two. I’ll tell you how to find out more about these two companies later.

You might be wondering if you can transfer or “roll-over” money from your present 401k or IRA into a self-directed IRA with one of these companies. What I’ve been told from retirement account specialists is that you can only roll over money from your 401k if you are no longer working for the company that your retirement account was set up with. I know that you can roll over money from a regular IRA account into a self-directed IRA because I’ve recently done that. I took money from my IRA account with TDAmeritrade and rolled it over into a new self-directed IRA account with EntrustCAMA. It was easy to do. I was able to transfer the money when I opened my new account. I downloaded the forms that I needed from their web site and mailed them in. They took care of the rest.

You also might be wondering if there are any fees associated with opening and maintaining a self-directed IRA. Yes there are some fees, but they are minimal compared to the taxes that you would be paying the government on your investment income or capital gains. Each of these companies handle fees differently and in order to see which company would work better for you, I suggest that you visit their web site or talk to a representative.
You can find out more about EntrustCama at http://www.entrustcama.com/ and you can listen to a free teleseminar/interview with Carl Fischer of EntrustCAMA at http://www.audioacrobat.com/play/WmTmzsXs. You can find out more about Equity Trust Company at http://www.trustetc.com/ and you can listen to a free teleseminar/interview Liz Koos of Equity Trust Company at http://www.audioacrobat.com/play/WvX8Qr1Q.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Tax Liens Vs. Tax Deeds: Which is the Best Investment?

Frequently I’m asked the question what is more profitable, investing in tax lien certificates or tax deeds. Whether tax lien investing or tax deed investing is better for you depends on the state that you live in and your what your goals are. If you are looking to pick up property under market value than you are better of with tax deeds than with tax liens. If you do your homework and purchase tax liens on good properties, the chances of foreclosure are slim. And in some states, even if the lien is not redeemed, you may not be able to get the property.

In the State of Florida for example, if your lien does not redeem during the redemption period, the property goes into a tax deed sale in order to satisfy your lien. If you did your due diligence and purchased a lien on a decent property, in order to get the property, you will have to bid against other investors at the deed sale. So if you want to invest in Florida, and you are interested in obtaining property, then deed investing is the way to go, not lien investing. If, however, you are not interested in owning property, but just want to get a higher return on your money than you could in the bank, then tax liens are the way to go. In Florida, as long as you do your due diligence, you won’t have to worry about the possibility of owning the property.

If you live on the west cost, you might want to consider investing in tax deeds instead of tax liens. That’s because the states on the west cost are deed states and not lien states. Yes, you could travel to the closest lien state, but that would eat into your profits. And yes, you could invest online but then you have to deal with increased competition and higher costs. Also, would you purchase a property that you did not physically look at first? Even though with tax lien investing, you are not purchasing the property, you’re only buying a lien on the property; your lien is only as good as the property that guarantees it.

If you are interested in either owning the property or getting a very good return on your investment and you live in or near a redeemable deed state, than you should consider investing in redeemable deeds. Redeemable deeds are kind of in-between tax liens and tax deeds. You purchase the tax deed at the sale, but there is a redemption period in which the previous owner can come back and redeem the deed from you. They have to pay a pretty hefty penalty in most redeemable deed states in order to do so, and the penalty is on the total amount that you bid at the sale. In Texas the penalty is 25% and in Georgia it’s 20%. Not a bad rate of return! Another great thing about redeemable deeds is that the larger counties with bigger cities can have a tax sale a few times a year or even every month. That’s better than waiting for a tax sale only once a year sale as in most states that sell regular tax deeds or tax liens.

If you live in a state that sells tax liens, and you are not interested in purchasing property, but are interested in investing your money safely at a high rate of return, than tax lien investing is the best choice for you. To find out more about tax lien and tax deed investing, go to www.TaxLienInvestingBasics.com.