Thursday, April 02, 2009

Update to Tax Lien Investing Book Review: New Edition of The 16% Solution

Just after I wrote a review of three of my favorite books about tax lien investing, I got a call asking me if I’d like to review a brand new edition of one of them. A second edition of The 16% Solution, by Joel S. Moskowitz, is now in bookstores and I’ve just finished reading it. It’s been a while (more than 6 years) since I read the original version of this book – which was somewhat outdated then, so I wasn’t sure just how different the second edition would be from the first.

I was pleasantly surprised! With all of the hype and recent infomercials lately touting tax lien investing as a way to get rich quick, this book is very refreshing. Right from the beginning Mr. Moskowitz sets the reader straight, giving honest and straightforward information. I was really impressed with the forward to this second edition where he likened the chances of someone getting a property for pennies on the dollar from a tax lien to someone winning one million dollars from a one-dollar lottery ticket. Yeah it happens every now and then, but it’s not likely. And then he tells you what you can expect from tax lien investing – “super-high interest combined with safety.”

This book is divided into four sections. In the first section Mr. Moskowitz explains what tax liens are, why they are such a safe investment, and why now, more than ever before you need to include them in your investment plan. At the end of the section he has a chart that shows how tax lien certificates compare to other investments in terms of income and growth potential, risk avoidance, safety, and liquidity.

Section 2 talks about how to buy tax lien certificates; how to choose a state and county to invest in and how to choose the properties to buy tax liens on. It also covers bidding at the auction and buying over-the-counter and assignment liens. There is even a chapter on how to get local officials to help you do your due diligence (This doesn’t always work in every county, but it’s certainly worth a try).

Section 3 of The 16% Solution talks about how you get paid on a tax lien certificate and how to foreclose on the property. Mr. Moskowitz explains how a tax lien certificate is redeemed, how to foreclose on a tax lien, and what to do with the property once you foreclose on it. Section 4 talks about avoiding and managing risks. Mr. Moskowitz explains just what the risks of tax lien investing are and how to avoid them. That’s something that most tax lien investing “gurus” never tell you until you give them thousands of dollars for coaching. I recommend that anyone interested in tax lien investing read this book for this section alone. Buy this book and save your thousands for investing in tax liens!

Also included in the book are a couple of appendixes with helpful information. In Appendix I there is a chart of state laws for all of the tax lien states. Georgia is included even though it’s technically a redeemable deed state. This chart is a good tool, but remember, just because a state has laws that allow it to have tax lien sales doesn’t mean that they actually have any. There are at least a couple of states on this list that either have only a couple of counties or municipalities that have tax lien sales, or have hardly any properties available in their sales.

Appendix II has some more detailed information for 14 of the tax lien states (these are the states that have an interest rate of 16% or higher). Some of these states are covered more thoroughly than others. My guess is that the states that are covered well are the ones that Mr. Moskowitz personally invests in. The states that are covered thoroughly are: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and Iowa. Detailed information on the other states is lacking. If you are investing in one of the above-mentioned states or planning to invest in one of these states I recommend that you purchase this book. Also if you are planning to invest in tax liens on commercial or industrial properties there are helpful forms for avoiding environmental problems in Appendix III.

This book is great for beginner investors in tax liens, it does not have information about tax deed investing, but it does have detailed information for 4 of the more popular tax lien states, and one redeemable deed state, plus general information for the other tax lien states. It also discusses investing online and purchasing leftover liens. You can purchase this book at a discount on Amazon at

1 comment:

Joel S. Moskowitz said...

I greatly appreciated this first review of the second edition of The 16% Solution, especially as it came from an expert who was thoroughly familiar with the original edition. The first edition predated the internet, and it was obvious that the many readers of the first edition, let alone the new audience for this investment, needed up-to-date and practical guidance. I am as pleased as can be that I seem to have succeeded. (Naturally, I wouldn't mind if you would re-post your review on Amazon.) - Joel S. Moskowitz