Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tax Lien Investing Book Review

Recently one of my clients asked me what I thought of one of a book about tax lien investing. The book that he asked me about is one that I do recommend on my web site. The name of the book is Profit by Investing in Tax Liens, by Larry Loftis. The problem with books about investing in tax liens and tax deeds is that every state is very different and there is no book in print that I’m aware of that does justice to every state in the U.S. My goal in this article is to give you a short review of some of the books that I’m familiar with and point out the pros and cons of each one.

Let’s start with the book already mentioned, Profit by Investing in Tax Liens by Larry Loftis. Mr. Loftis is an attorney in Florida, and I do find that the best books on tax lien investing are written by lawyers that are also tax lien investors. Mr. Loftis has personally purchased tax liens in nine states and the District of Columbia. In addition he has also either attended tax sales or bid on over-counter liens or deeds in four other states. He or a member of his staff has either interviewed or spoken with tax sale officials from all 50 states. This is probably the most comprehensive and accurate book on the market that I am aware of. It’s great for anyone that is just getting started in tax lien or tax deed investing and wants to know the basics. The drawback is that for some states there is very little information given. As I said earlier, there is no one book that does justice to every state. What I like about this book is that the author didn’t just look up the state statutes in each state (even though he is a lawyer), but contacted county tax offices in every state to find out what actually takes place. I give this one two thumbs up for beginners and one thumb up for experienced investors in tax lien investing.

Another book written by an attorney is The 16% Solution, by Joel S. Moskowitz. Though this book is written by an attorney, it was first published back in 1992, and last copyrighted in 1994, more than 10 years before Profit by Investing in Tax Liens. What I like about this book is that it does not attempt to cover both tax lien and tax deed investing but concentrates on only tax lien investing. As little as four years ago, this was the only book that I could find in print on tax lien investing. Even then, though, this book was already outdated. Not only does each state have different rules when it comes to tax lien and tax deed investing, but these laws and procedures are constantly changing. This book is still good to read and have in your library, but only as an introduction to tax lien investing. Any state specific information is outdated (it doesn’t give too much state specific information anyway), and any contact information is probably no good. I give this book one thumb up for beginners, no thumbs up for experienced investors in tax lien investing.

I’ve heard that the state of New Jersey is the second most popular state for tax lien investing. I don’t know if that’s still true, but I do know that NJ has the most complicated law and procedures for tax lien investing. It is also one of the most profitable and most competitive states to invest in. Until 2005, there was no book in print that discussed tax lien investing in New Jersey accurately. That’s the year that Tax Liens: The Complete Guide to Investing in New Jersey Tax Liens, by Michael Pellegrino, was published. Mr. Pellgrino isn’t just an attorney in New Jersey; he’s an attorney that specializes in tax liens. He specializes in tax lien foreclosures and related litigation, so he really knows the ins and outs of tax lien investing in New Jersey. Although this book doesn’t cover everything for the experienced investor, it does cover what you need to know to get started with tax lien investing in New Jersey. What I love about this book is that it concentrates on tax lien investing in one state, thus it covers what happens in that state more thoroughly than any of the other books about tax liens. This is a must have for anyone that is thinking of investing in New Jersey tax liens and a good reference for experienced investors in that state. I give this book two thumbs up, for both beginning and experienced investors in New Jersey.

You can find all of the books that were mentioned in this article on my web site at and you can also find them at When I first started investing a few years ago there was only one book in print about tax lien investing. Today there are several. There are more available than were mentioned here in this article. I want to caution you before you purchase other books that are written on this subject. There is only one other author I know of that I would recommend even though I haven’t read her books. That author is Lillian Villanova and the reason that I would recommend her books is that I know she is an experienced tax lien investor. In fact, I believe that she makes her living with tax liens; she is experienced in more than one state, and has taught others how to invest in tax liens. This is important because there are a few people out there writing books on tax lien investing that have limited experience. They buy a couple of tax liens, do a little research and then write a book. This is not the kind of advice or knowledge that you need in order to buy profitable tax liens. You want to learn from a real expert, who knows what the pitfalls are and can steer you away from them. Maybe that’s why all of the books that I recommend on my web site are written by attorneys.

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