Monday, November 24, 2008

Now is the Time to Act: Part I

Now is a great time to jump on money making opportunities in real estate and tax lien certificates. In economic downturns like we’re in right now, many investors run out of investment capital. They may have lost money in other investments – like the stock market or mutual funds, and have to pull back from investing in real estate, just when it’s the perfect time to buy. That means less competition and more opportunity for you. I’m seeing some great opportunities right now in tax lien investing and in purchasing real estate at auctions. In Part I of this series I’ll discuss why I think this is a perfect time to get started in tax lien investing and in Part II of this series I’ll talk about why real estate auctions are a great opportunity for investors that have more cash available.

Now is the time to go to tax sales. I just bought three new tax liens at a tax sale last week. All three were purchased at 18%. A couple weeks earlier I had purchased three liens as well, two at 10% and one at 18%. And I’ve been hearing from clients that have been successful at tax lien sales as well. Now this might not sound like much to you, but I invest in New Jersey, where the municipality conducts tax sales, not the county. This means that there are more tax sales, but fewer properties in each sale, and you have to attend a few tax sales just to put together a small portfolio of tax liens. It’s not like other areas of the country where there are county sales with hundreds, sometimes thousands of liens available. In many of the tax sales that I attend there are more bidders than there are properties in the sale. I’m seeing a change in that trend, where now there are less bidders showing up to the tax sales and more properties available. It’s a sign of the times.

When tax lien investors run out of money, they stop paying the subsequent taxes on their liens and those properties wind up in the tax sale the following year. I am finding that a couple of investors who used to be regulars at these sales are no longer there. They are not paying the subsequent taxes on the liens that they purchased last year, and they are not showing up at the tax sale to bid on them. I was able to pick up a lien at the last sale that I went to that was someone else’s prior lien. I was able to pay the subsequent taxes on that lien as well, and get the maximum interest rate on my subs (18%). Usually I don’t recommend purchasing tax lien certificates that have prior tax liens on them. But if the prior lien holder does not show up at the tax sale, then I will go ahead and purchase the lien if I’ve done my due diligence on the property. If the prior lien-holder does foreclose on the lien, your lien remains on the property (if they don’t redeem it) and you can foreclose as well when the redemption period on your lien is over.

If you’re not sure how to get started in tax lien investing, you can learn the basics with my Tax Lien Investing Basics home study course. This course will teach you the basics of tax lien investing and show you where to get the tax sale information. You can find out more at

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