Don’t Buy Vacant Land at Tax Deed Auction Before Reading This!

Cleartosell recently exhibited at an event where we spoke with a tax deed investor who mentioned that he prefers buying vacant land at auction rather than land with structures on them because of the lower maintenance and easier upkeep involved. Since we normally deal with investor clients who buy single-family homes or condos to flip or rent out, we investigated the issues associated with tax deed vacant land and share our findings below.

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So why should you consider buying tax deed vacant land?

In addition to simplicity of upkeep, there are a few characteristics of vacant land that attract tax deed investors:

No house = less stress (and no tenants!)
If the task of rehabbing and maintaining a house doesn’t appeal to you, then vacant land is the way to go. The lack of a structure on the property comes with an array of advantages for a tax deed investor both before and after auction. The absence of a structure makes it considerably easier to inspect the property prior to bidding at auction and without previous owners or tenants residing there eliminates the burden and expense of eviction after auction. The right vacant land can be essentially a “hands-off” investment and a valuable addition to an investor’s portfolio.

Greater likelihood of buying over the counter:
Some investors would prefer to bypass the live auction scene and purchase tax deeds over the counter instead. The list of lands is a great place to find vacant land at reasonable prices and may be purchased over the counter in the county of choice.
Vacant land is often overlooked at live auction because investors have their sights set on more valuable properties with houses that are auctioned for pennies on the dollar.

This eliminates major competition for investors seeking only vacant land, but be extra diligent in your research when buying from the list of lands. You should first locate the parcel via GIS and conduct a drive-by if possible to be sure you are aware of any major flaws that might have sent other investors running the opposite direction and not simply overlooked from lack of interest.

Tie Up Less Capital
Other obvious benefits such as lower property taxes and requiring less upfront cash to acquire make vacant land appealing. This class of asset can be a great way to get your real estate investment business up and running.

But alas, where there are pros there are always cons, and this type of property comes with its own unique set of risks and down sides to consider.

Beware of legal matters
A tax deed investor we know once bought a seemingly nice piece property only to discover then entire property was a water conservation easement that could not be removed. A property that cannot be used is difficult to sell and can be a massive set back to your business.

There are other types easements to look out for including roads and pathways crossing the land for public access purposes or buried gas pipelines that are transferred upon sale of the property and might be permanent. Furthermore, the removal of easements can get legally convoluted and outcomes could differ depending on specific language of easement, interpretations of the courts, and state law.

Beware of physical constraints
During your pre-auction due diligence look for land boundaries, drainage points, swampland, etc. all of which need to be identified to avoid blindly bidding on a potentially useless property. Assess the potential for existing or future city liens for trash dumped or unsightly conditions from lack of upkeep. Being responsible for years of violations accruing at $200 per day is not an ideal investment!

If you would like further tips on what you should be looking for during pre auction due diligence, request a copy of our due diligence checklist at info@cleartosell.com

Happy Bidding!

April 12, 2016

Posted In: Auctions, Investing, Tax-Deed

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Upcoming Networking Events for Tax Deed and Tax Lien Investors

Networking is a vital component in growing your tax lien and deed business for experienced investors and beginners alike. A large industry event like the National Tax Lien Association Annual Conference is a networking event where investors get the opportunity to interact with leading industry experts and receive information about vendors and services.

If you are new to tax lien and deed investing, educational events such as live training classes or webinars are excellent ways to consume knowledge that will help kick start your business in the right direction.

If you live in the Broward County Florida area, good news! Our friend and highly experienced tax lien and deed investor, Richard Meyer, is holding an all-day educational event at the Holiday Inn at Sheridan and I-95 in Hollywood Florida, Saturday, March 12, 2016. With his 20+ years of experience in the business, Richard has acquired an abundance of knowledge on both tax lien and deed investing and he wants to share his knowledge with others interested in doing the same!

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Richard will be describing in detail the five ways you can profitably work tax certificates and tax deeds without any money. Rich will explain how to make money using just your own hard work and guile. If you are looking to grow in your tax deed/lien investing business, you should not miss this opportunity to learn from a highly successful industry expert! Cleartosell will also be manning a booth at the afternoon session and be on hand for any questions about our unique services to tax deed investors. We hope to see you there! You can find out more information about the event by contacting Jordan Oates at Oates.JL@outlook.com or Richard at RMeyer219@gmail.com.

If you don’t live in the area and cannot attend these events, no worries! There are networking and educational events such as these happening all over. Be sure to research what’s happening in your area so you don’t miss out on opportunities to network and build valuable knowledge for expanding your business.

February 17, 2016

Posted In: Tax, Tax-Deed

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Post Auction Checklist: How to Take Possession of Your Occupied Tax Deed Property

Congratulations! You are the proud new owner of a property won at a tax deed auction, but are you in possession of your new property yet? Finding out whether the tax-deeded property is occupied or not can be as simple as driving by, checking the electric meter, or even knocking on the door. If those aren’t obvious indications of occupancy, then post notices on the premises with your contact information and send a FedEx that requires a signature.

Handing Over Cash For Keys Isolated on a White Background.

Best-case scenario is your new property is vacant and you are free to take possession immediately. But if the property is still occupied by the former owners or their tenants, there are various approaches you can take to resolve this.

If possible, a peaceful approach is the best place to begin and it might save you a ton of time, money, and court date stress headaches. Before resorting to legal action, try working with the occupants to negotiate a solution that benefits both parties, such as offering cash for keys or covering their down payment on a new place. One tax deed investor shares his experiences with this approach on a BiggerPockets.com Forum: “I am often amazed how I can knock on a door and say I am the new owner and the tenants let me in and tell me what I want to know without really questioning…” Often times these people are in a tough situation and are looking for options, so treating them with respect may offer a quick and mutually beneficial solution.

If peaceful negotiations are unsuccessful, rest assured there is legal recourse available for taking possession of your tax deed property; whether a writ of possession, sheriff’s involvement, or even an eviction proceeding. The best course of action depends on your situation, and the process can vary from county to county. As such, we recommend to always consult with a local real estate attorney for the best option in the particular county you are working in, and to make sure you are taking the appropriate action to obtain possession of your tax-deeded property in the most expeditious way possible.

February 15, 2016

Posted In: Auctions

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Learn How Great Tax Deed Investors Keep Their Capital Moving and Take Early Profits

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Depending on the property’s value, there are different ways to transfer ownership to a buyer. Quit claiming the property to a buyer is common for either low valued properties being sold at a deep discount, or vacant parcels of land, but if the property is valuable and you want to get top dollar for it then a warranty deed supported by title insurance on normal terms is by far the best way.

So how do you get insurance to support a warranty deed?

  1. Wait out Florida’s four-year statute Limitations of Actions (§95.192)—an unrealistic option for aggressive investors who prefer to keep their capital moving.
  2. Wait for the courts to conclude a lengthy and expensive quiet title action—again, not an attractive option to investors wanting to flip properties quickly and take profits.
  3. Use a fixed priced tax deed title-checking service like Cleartosell as a fast- track alternative that enables speedy release of capital and profits.

Let’s look at a couple of success stories from our clients to see how Cleartosell became a game-changer for their businesses.

One of our seasoned investor clients regularly buys high valued tax deeds and placed a property with us that he had bought for $54,000 at auction. When we were able to certify his property as having insurable title in only 11 days, he continued to the closing of the contract he had in hand when he instructed us and sold this property with a warranty deed and title insurance on normal terms for $88,000 which was $18,000 more than the Property appraiser’s assessed value. His profit before tax and costs was $34,000 realized in less than three weeks!

Another regular client purchased a tax deed for $144,200. Our research unveiled issues connected with notices to previous owners that posed a potential risk to the imminent sale. Without any further fees charged, our attorneys immediately took the appropriate curative measures required to get the issues fixed, without any fuss. With the noticing issues sorted out we were able to certify the title as insurable and our client went on to sell his investment for $195,000. His profit before tax and costs came out to a whopping $50,800!

Not convinced yet? Let’s recap on how both these seasoned tax deed investors benefitted by using Cleartosell:

  • Both saved over 47 months of time compared to the four-year rule, and some 6-9 months compared to the average time delay of a quiet title action.
  • The speedy turnaround of their properties allowed them to sell quickly giving them the opportunity to buy up more tax deeds and keep their capital moving.
  • They were able to obtain title insurance on normal terms and sell their tax-deeded property at Full Fair Market Value with a warranty deed vs. a quit claim deed, thus maximizing their profits.

Now that’s what you call a win-win-WIN situation! Visit our YouTube channel to learn more about Cleartosell and how we can become game-changers for you, too.

January 6, 2016

Posted In: Capital, Profits

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Invest In Tax Lien Certificates & Tax Deeds Using A Self Directed IRA

Self directed Individual Retirement Accounts are best known for offering a range of assets that can give them the best returns. This flexibility allows the account holder to diversify their retirement portfolio. Here’s the good news, tax lien certificates and tax deeds are among the types of real estate investments to choose from, so the impressive returns achieved on these assets can be realized in your IRA—effectively tax-free!

Using a self directed IRA to invest in tax lien certificates is a simple and quick way to make tax free retirement income. If you are familiar with the nature of tax liens, you know that they are usually redeemed quickly and income is gained by the interest rate you charge the property owner until the lien is satisfied. Since payments flow directly into your IRA account, all funds through redemption are tax deferred and available to use on your next investment of choice.

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Tax deeds require considerably more effort and money than tax lien certificates because you take ownership of the property, but can be a great source of retirement income if bought through an IRA. The advantage to buying and selling real estate via this route is that all gains from the sell are generally tax-free. Whereas the gains through purchasing real estate with personal funds would be subject to capital gain tax.

Whether you rehab the property, sell it outright, or rent it; all expenses MUST be paid by the IRA and all revenue from selling or rent MUST go back into the IRA; the use of any personal funds is strictly prohibited. The same rule applies to all expenses involved in clearing up a title on a tax-deeded property by using a certification service like Cleartosell. It is imperative to carefully plan before investing and be sure enough money is in your account to cover maintenance, taxes, attorney’s fees, or any other emergency expense that might occur.

There are very specific and strict rules involved when using a self-directed IRA to buy real estate. It is well advised to conduct thorough research and seek professional counsel before diving in. Consult with a self directed IRA custodian such as Equity Trust, Pensco Trust Company, or IRA Resources, Inc for more information on using your IRA to invest in tax deed and liens.

December 7, 2015

Posted In: Tax, Tax-Deed

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Here ‘s Your New Tax Deed Auction Calendar – From Cleartosell

Due diligence and careful pre-auction planning are easily the most time consuming but important processes for deciding which tax deed properties to bid on, in which county, and what your bid ceiling is going to be. With 70+ auctions happening per month in Florida alone, keeping track of all that information can quickly become overwhelming. Cleartosell offers our service in counties in Florida and we know how difficult it can be to juggle all those auctions, so we decided to create and share a helpful tool to make auction planning more manageable!

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We are excited to announce the launch of our online Tax Deed Auction Calendar now available on cleartosell.com! This is a rolling monthly calendar that is updated daily. With this calendar you can easily keep track of upcoming auctions across Florida. You can plan out which properties you want to bid on by clicking the name of the county and date you choose, and you will be navigated to the county website where you can search public records, look at what properties are up for auction, and even register for bidding if that county holds auctions online.

The best part about this tool is that it’s 100% FREE! No monthly or annual subscription fees, ever. Think of it as our gift to you in this holiday season. ☺

If you already have an existing profile at Cleartosell.com, you will have automatic access to your new calendar when you log in. If you do not have a profile yet or don’t wish to create one, no worries! We still want you to have access to this great tool. Simply CLICK HERE to subscribe to your free tax deed auction calendar and start planning your next auction today!

November 23, 2015

Posted In: Auctions

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Florida Tax Deeds vs. Foreclosures: Why Tax Deeds Are Less Risky Investments

Foreclosure sales and Tax Deed sales possess procedural similarities, but vary among states depending on whether they are a judicial state or not. In Florida, the statutes that protect a tax deed purchaser make for a more secure investment than the risky and sensitive foreclosure sale process in Florida.

With a foreclosure sale, an interested party can challenge the sale on any procedural ground, and sales are often reversed. The investor must carry out thorough investigation of the foreclosure sale process to make sure all procedures were followed in strict compliance, which can quickly get expensive. If just one mistake was made, the sale poses high risk of being undone. In addition, a title policy will be denied on a property if every interested party was not personally served notice. If a party cannot be found to serve by hand, and instead notice is published to extinguish interest, that property will not qualify for a title policy. In addition, as if it couldn’t get any more risky, a purchaser of a foreclosure is jointly and severally responsible as the previous owner for all unpaid Homeowner or Condo association assessments up to the transfer of title.

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Tax deed purchasers, on the contrary, can rest easy knowing that Florida statutes are on their side. In a previous blog post, we discussed the statutes that protect a tax deed purchaser from owing any money to the HOA or condo associations for assessments made prior the tax deed sale. As long as each party receives notice, their interest is wiped out by the issuance of the tax deed. If an interested party were to contest the sale, it would have to be worth them potentially losing substantial amounts of money. If successfully overturned, not only will the contesting party have to pay the full amount the bidder paid at auction, plus interest, but all bidder’s attorney fees, as well as any improvements that have been made to the property since the sale.

A quiet title action will extinguish any redemption rights, but the length of time involved to complete a quiet title is not a practical option for regular investors who want to turn around their profits quickly. A second, much faster alternative to quiet title is the tax deed certification service that Cleartosell provides. If we find that the tax sale was executed properly, according to Florida statutes, then we will certify that an investor can proceed to closing with a policy and convey the property via a warranty deed. With our average certification turnaround time currently at 17 business days, investors no longer have to wait months to sell a tax deed property at full fair market value. You will see there are great advantages to investing in Florida tax deeds over foreclosures due to the safeguards the Florida statutes provide to the tax deed investor.

If you would like to speak with our experienced real estate attorneys about your tax deed investments, Click here to schedule an appointment for a complimentary attorney consult.

November 4, 2015

Posted In: Foreclosures, Tax, Tax-Deed

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Throw Back Thursday: Cleartosell Edition – A Year in Retrospect

As we approach the anniversary of Cleartosell’s first order received in September of 2014, we can’t help but reflect on this past year’s events and how far we have come in such a short time. Boy has it been an exciting year! Probably because tax deed investors are hungry for what we offer, we hit the ground running and haven’t slowed down.

As a small but rapidly growing company, what better way to measure our success thus far than by reviewing the opinions of our clients? So this is exactly what we did. We had our clients fill out customer satisfaction surveys on our timeliness of communication, clarity of communication, and over-all service. We were thrilled to find that we received above a 95% satisfaction rating in all categories, so I guess you can say we made the honor roll!

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A recommendation is the highest form of compliment a company can receive. It is validation that the services offered are valuable enough to gain personal stamps of approval from our clients on to their respected colleagues. Our referral agent list is now growing at an unprecedented rate. Currently, nearly half of all new business is the result of word of mouth or referrals. Sometimes being the center of gossip is a good thing!

Alongside recommendations, returning clients confirm the satisfaction of services. Everyone has that one dependable lawn care service or car repair shop they swear by. Just like one would entrust their pristine lawn or precious vehicle only to a service they could rely on, a tax deed investor needs to know their investment is in good hands. Approximately 60% of business comes from our loyal repeat spend clients that trust us with all their tax deeded investments, and know we will get the job done.

While we have seemingly only just begun, and surely have a ways to go, it is encouraging to see such positive responses from our clients over the past year. We are not perfect, but we harness every opportunity for improvement and continue searching for ways to better benefit our clients. Feedback from our clients on how we can improve in any aspect of service is always encouraged and appreciated. If you are client and have not yet commented on our service, we welcome you to do so! We would love to hear about your experience so we have the opportunity to make it an even better one next time.

Here’s to another prosperous year to come!

September 3, 2015

Posted In: Uncategorized

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Cleartosell.com Goes Above & Beyond for Every Client – Here’s How!

What is a company’s most valuable asset? The answer should always be their clients. At cleartosell, we strive to go above and beyond for every client in our communication, timeliness, accuracy, dependability, and every other aspect of our unique service to Tax Deed investors and referring agents.

What sets us apart from the crowd is the level of detail and attention we put forth on every file we receive, or as we like to say, “leave no stone unturned”. We prove this to our clients every day by the efforts made to ensure that their property will achieve insurable title.

If you invest in Tax Deeds, you know that every property’s title is different. Some properties have titles that are clearer than others. These files are great news for our clients because we can certify quickly and they can move along to the closing table with insurable title in less than 20 days! However, the world isn’t fair, and occasionally some titles turn out to be real problem children.

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The “problem files” we occasionally encounter often require us to take curative measures in order to achieve insurable title. Now, if you are familiar with title conveyance in any way, you know that it is very sensitive. If just one tiny detail is not conveyed properly, it is a domino effect of a broken chain of title from there. This is what happened with one problem file we encountered. The wife in the family of prior owners did not convey her individual interest. When the next owner bought the property from this family, the wife’s failure to properly convey her individual interest resulted in her legally maintaining an interest in the property. The owner then lost the property to a Tax Deed sale, which then landed in the hands of one of our clients.

We uncovered this cloud on the title during our research. The county clerk could have resolved the issue by simply sending notice to the wife, but did not do so. We were then left with only two options.

Either A, we fail to certify the property due to a clerical error that is beyond what we are required to fix (no help to our client) or, B, go above and beyond for our client and find the previous owner in order to get a quit claim deed from the wife.

In line with our philosophy, we chose the latter option and began our search to find the wife in order to set the records straight. We made contact with her after getting her previous title agent on board to help, and subsequently received a Corrective Deed in the mail from her. We were then able to produce a certificate of clear title for our client in only a little more than our 20 day target but still much quicker than any other option.

This is only one of numerous examples of when we have gone the extra mile for a client. We strive to not only provide our clients with a certified property, but also the relief in knowing they will be able to take that certificate onto a smooth and successful closing. Cleartosell goes above and beyond for every client, and that is what makes our company unquestionably unique.

August 19, 2015

Posted In: Uncategorized

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How Real Estate Investors Can Benefit From Zombies

Zombie foreclosures, or homes that have been abandoned by owners during the foreclosure process but are not yet bank owned, are a serious problem for the runaway owners, the lenders, and the surrounding neighborhood. These abandoned homes attract vandalism and squatters causing blight to the neighborhood that can bring down the value of surrounding homes.

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According to The Orlando Foreclosure Attorney, approximately 1 in 4 active foreclosures in the United States will become zombies. While decreasing due to recent implementation of policies to speed up foreclosures, Florida still leads the nation in zombie foreclosures at 35,903 abandoned homes according to RealtyTrac’s Zombie Foreclosure Report released in February 2015. This is most likely having to do with Florida being in the top four states with the longest judicial foreclosure processes. According to RealtyTrac, it takes an average of 946 days in Florida to complete a foreclosure. Unfortunately, due to the low value and high liability of some of these distressed homes, banks are choosing not to move forward with the repossession of the home, charging off the debt rather than taking title. There are zero regulations in place that require the banks to track down and inform the owners of this decision. In most cases the owners have no idea that they are still responsible for the property and may never escape the debt the zombie title terrorizes them with.

There has not yet been a universal solution to fixing this colossal problem facing the housing market due to the fact that every zombie property may require a slightly different solution. However, there is one option that gives investors an opportunity to help in this matter as well as personally benefit from it. Daren Blomquist, the Vice President of RealtyTrac explains that “For real estate agents, as well as buyers and investors, the zombie foreclosures represent an opportunity to identify a distressed homeowner who has already moved on from their home and is therefore much more likely to be interested in selling that home via short sale than a distressed homeowner still living in the home.” This is a particularly ideal situation for fix and flip investors who are looking for a bargain since the value of these homes are approximately valued 22% below what an occupied foreclosure would realize.

To find these deals, local real estate agents can assist in contacting the distressed homeowners and connecting them with buyers in order to negotiate the sale. There are other services out there, such as a product from RealtyTrac called “MEGA” available for download that allows investors to filter homes based on vacancy statuses or foreclosure properties making it easier to identify leads. Skip trace software from websites like TLOxp, and Locate Plus are just a couple that could be used to track down the absent owner.

Please note that while zombie foreclosures can provide an excellent opportunity for an investor to acquire property at a reduced price, it can be a time-consuming and complicated transaction. In order to acquire a property for an incredible deal with this method, one must remain patient, and as with any investment in distressed property, do proper due diligence on the property beforehand! It is vital that investors do all necessary research on how to buy homes in foreclosure before diving in. www.foreclosureuniversity.com is a helpful resource to learn all about foreclosure process and the steps to make when planning on investing in one. Consulting an attorney for advice may also be helpful. There is little competition in this area of investing because it requires more effort than others. The impressive discount may be worth the trouble in the end, and investors can play their part in helping end the zombie foreclosure crisis.

July 26, 2015

Posted In: Uncategorized

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