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Tax Lien Lady's Report: Tax Deed Sales in PA

I just got back from Thailand in May where I made history as the first woman to be head coach for a USA Weightlifting men's team! I went to Thailand to coach the men's team for the First Youth World Championship. But I missed the Monroe county Judicial tax sale, which took place on May 20th. I did send my husband, Bill to cover the tax sale for me and find out how many properties sold and what they sold for. I wanted to see just what the trend was this year and I wanted to be able to pass that information along to you.

Here's the information that he brought back to me from the sale. First of all out of the 403 properties that were on the list, only 52 were taken off the list before the sale because they paid, went into bankruptcy, or were postponed. Out of the properties that were left a very large percentage did not sell at the sale. Only 100 properties sold. The most that was paid for a property was 0,000, but many properties were sold for the minimum bid. Only a handful of properties sold for over ,000.

It seems that though the sale was well attended, there were fewer properties sold this year and for lower amounts. There are a couple of factors that contributed to the outcome of this year's judicial tax sale in Monroe County. Many investors that were heavily invested in real estate are now cash poor. When you purchase property at a tax sale in Pennsylvania, you need to pay in certified funds on the day of the sale. In Monroe County you're given one hour to pay for the properties that you bid on in certified funds. If you do not pay in the time allowed the property is re-bid and you are barred from participating in future sales - this is not a good thing and is to be avoided! It is not as easy to borrow money as it was even a year ago, and many investors are sitting on property that they cannot sell in this market and they cannot get their cash out.

Another reason that many properties did not sell in this year's tax sale is that people are being more cautious on their spending, especially on raw land. It is not easy to sell real estate right now and you generally cannot make money on land until you sell it. Builders are having a hard time in today's real estate market, so they are not buying land. On the contrary, many of them are selling off the empty lots that they own in an effort to raise cash.

I did not investigate all of the land that was for sale in this auction, though I did look at a couple of building lots that were in the sale. The lots that I looked at were in a development in a municipality close to where I live. The problem with these lots is that they are in a mountainous area near a ski slope. A couple of the lots I looked at looked like they would be good building lots, but a couple were on severe grades that you could not build on without spending some significant money on excavation. None of the lots that I looked at sold at the tax sale.

I think it's good that bidders are being more cautious when it comes to spending money on raw land. Remember that when you purchase property at a tax sale, your purchase is none refundable and you still have to record the deed and pay realty transfer fees (these fees are added at the time of the sale). And you have to clear the title to the property before you can sell it. All in all, there will be more available on the repository list this year, when it's available sometime after July 1st. Maybe this year, unlike the past few years, there will actually be something good left over.

About the author: Joanne Musa is a tax lien investing consultant who helps investors from all over the world to develop a profitable tax lien or tax deed portfolio. Joanne provides detailed information on how to start building your own profitable portfolio of tax lien certificates or tax deeds and video and audio training on the Members Area of Get a free 30-day trial to the Members Area of at


Frequently Asked Questions

    How do tax deed sales work in Santa Clara County?
    How do tax deed sales work in Santa Clara County? How do they work in the surrounding areas? I heard that they are auctioned once a year through the county (February) but then websites like have them listed under the tax lien category (but a rep told me they are actually tax deeds) and it seems like you can purchase them online.


    • ANSWER:
      Go to Santa Clara County's website and click on Tax Collector. Here is information re: tax collector's office auctions:

      Tax sales are held once or twice a year. They are held when there are unpaid taxes (but the taxes have to be unpaid for several years and then proper notices have to be provided to all people with interest in the property before the property can be sold) <--this is detailed in the California Revenue & Taxation Code.

    Who do I contact for a list of foreclosed or tax-sale homes in Indiana? ?
    I am trying to find a list of homes with tax liens or that have been foreclosed on in my area. I have looked online, but have only come across all those sites that want you to pay a fee. I know this is info you do not have to pay for, I'm just not sure where to find it. Can somebody point me in the right direction?

    • ANSWER:
      Try the county clerk's office. Some counties have this info available online and some will require a visit in person. Where I live the clerk's office runs the sales on the courthouse steps.

    I put down a deposit and 1st month rent on a condo but it's listed as a forclosure sale online what to do?
    Ok so I put down 1200 for a deposit and first months rent on a condo. When I google the address I get a listing for a sheriff's sale or a forclosure listing scheduled for sometime next week.

    Ok so I called my landlord out on this and he said he's in the process of restructuring his morgage and that it was posted there by error and can show me documentation to prove it.

    Is this possible?

    If so what type of documentation do I ask for? It says his condo is going to be sold due to a tax lien.

    This man seems like a very honest guy and I'm scheduled to move in in June so I'm concerned he took my money and his place is going to get sold at a foreclosure auction.

    I've even showed him the link and he says it's all a mistake and can show me documentation. Who do I need to call and or what documents should I ask to verify?

    • ANSWER:

    Tax deed sale in FL for empty lot?
    I'm looking to bid on a lot in FL (no house on it just empty lot) and I have some Questions. The owner lives in California. Where do I go to find out if it has liens from the IRS or from a Mortgage company? I looked up online & the back taxes were only 00, can this be right? A guy is letting his property be auctioned off for 1300$? I'm getting really confused reading stuff & I'm not sure what I'm doing.

    • ANSWER:
      If your bidding on a property that is being sold for back taxes by the tax office or county you need to read all the facts that pertain to the sale. Usually you don't have to worry about any other liens. In many states the owner has one year to buy the property back. I'm sure the office in charge of the sale will provide you with all the facts of the sale. They may not provide you with all the facts pertaining to the property such as building restrictions etc. If you don't understand them seek advise from someone who does. Many times there is a reason why the property is being sold for back taxes other than just owner neglect. Remeber it is an auction and will go to the highest bidder.

    As a person in Tennessee. What should I look out for if I purchase a house in a short sale situation.?
    Things I should look out for regarding the following as a person contemplating buying a property of a short sale in Tennessee?
    Home inspection?
    Secondary Liens?
    Tax ramifications as the purchaser?
    Down payment or earnest moneys involved in the transaction?
    There is major documentation online about it, but not information for purchasers. I know it would be long process, but any insight or input would be appreciated..

    • ANSWER:
      The process is long depending on the bank trying to sell the property. When you make an offer make sure you add a drop dead date in the contract. This will allow you to legally move on if the lender that own the property don't sit on their hands while you await their decision. After the drop dead date you may legally look at and make offers on other properties. Don't allow your real estate agent to talk you out of this drop dead date. This give you some control over your own destiny, in this transaction.

      About the legal things the title company will make sure that you get a clean title without secondary, mechanic of other liens. Between the escrow closing agent and the title company these two companies will ensure that all the legal things are done according to local, state and federal laws.

      You would be required to pay for an appraisal and home inspector. If you have a friend that is a handy man/woman or that is in the construction trade this might be a better choice as most home inspection contracts have so many holes in them they leave Swiss cheese admiring them.

      Your down payment should be taken by an escrow closing agent. This closing agent would also provide you with escrow instructions, these are basically the terms and contract of the transaction.

      If you are securing a mortgage loan for this transaction make sure you are provided a HUD-1 an estimate of closing cost as well as a Good Faith Estimate (GFE),a s well as a Truth In Lending form (TIL) These two documents will explain the cost, interest rate and terms of your mortgage loan be it a conventional, FHA or VA mortgage loan.

      Make sue that you are the most informed individual around. You are the one purchasing the property, therefore everyone in the transaction is basically working for you, ASK ASK and then ask again until you understand the question you asked. It is too late after the transaction close to say "I did not understand that."

      By being ignorant the real estate mortgage loan will not be rewritten nor other parts of the real estate transaction.

      I hope this been of some benefit to you, good luck.

      "FIGHT ON"

    Was mortgage & property discharged with Ch 7 Bankruptcy?

    My parents filed CH 7 in 2005. They included their property in this bankruptcy and left the property shortly after they filed because their full intent was to have the property discharged in the proceedings.

    The bankruptcy was discharged in 2007. My parents continue to receive notices from their mortgage company, Ocwen, to collect on the loan. they have been sought after by the county and city for taxes and property maintenance. They have not understood why, because they thought that the property was discharged in the bankruptcy. AND their attorney continually told them that they should just ignore the letters and demands (she even told me this..)

    I was told that they are having a sheriff sale for the foreclosure soon on this property. They have been brought to court by the city to collect on property maintenance (the case was dismissed due to the bankruptcy). I finally got a hold of the bankruptcy papers on this case. Through the petition the house was to be surrendered, but the lender filed a Motion and was granted a relief from stay and abandonment. The attorney didn't contest this (and then failed to tell my parents this- which would have explained why they continued to get harassed by the lender and now subsequent foreclosure 3 YEARS LATER!).

    My question is: was the debt/house/mortgage amount in the original petition discharged when the bankruptcy was discharged? There were no additional liens on the property, only the original loan (that was in the claim). I've been reading things online but I can't get this answer clearly enough to know. I know that the lender got relief from the stay and with that they could attempt to rid themselves of the property (albeit 3 years later..), but is the original debt and property no longer the responsibility of my parents? what is their liability, if any? Are any expenses still remaining that are associated with the property no longer any responsibility to my parents because of the discharge?

    Help!! (and thanks!!)
    ok, this is probably the same question- but simply put.. because the relief of stay and abanodment was granted, does that mean that it removed the house from the bankruptcy discharge? which would be awful!!
    I love how this is a story about predatory lending you still have jerks trying to make some easy money. go rot someplace!
    Thanks for all of you with real answers!

    • ANSWER:
      Your parents' personal liability for the mortgage debt was discharged in bankruptcy, but the lender is free to foreclose at any time. Failure to exercise this option right away does not mean that the lender can't foreclose at any time (of its own choice) in the future.

      If the bank has not yet foreclosed, the maintenance and upkeep are still your parents' responsibility.

      If the bank HAS foreclosed, then the maintenance and upkeep are the bank's responsibility. This fact is part of what causes banks to sometimes delay foreclosure until they know they can resell the property. They don't want to be saddled with maintaining a property that they know they won't be able to sell.

      It depends on whether your parents' state is a judicial foreclosure state or not how the details of this will play out. The Motion for Relief from Stay is NOT the same thing as a foreclosure action. The foreclosure action takes place in the civil courts of your State (if required). The Bankruptcy was in Federal Bankruptcy court.

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