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.

riskimage

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

Leave a Comment


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!

blogpost

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

Leave a Comment


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.

blogpost

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

Leave a Comment


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.

zombie

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

Leave a Comment


The Importance of Time Management in Real Estate Investing

There are many real estate investing professionals out there that give very helpful advice in solving problems for investors from the beginners to the experienced. Conferences and webinars held by organizations such as National Tax Lien Association are great ways to hear advice from experts in their fields. But just like there are true experts with sound advice, there are also sources from which advice is not as legitimate. Protect your investment strategies and make sure that where you obtain guidance is an accredited source before following it.

After reading about many of the most widely believed myths in the real estate world, a few stuck out as the most common and harmful. One of these common myths that cause investors to give up too early is the belief that investing in real estate is a monstrous responsibility that will drain all of your time. While it is true that it requires dedication and perseverance in order to be successful, if you manage your time right then every second of every day does not have to be sucked up by your investments. One of the best pieces of advice that is given by seasoned investors for time management is to have a clear business plan and goals before getting started. Because each type of real estate has its own set of risks and resources needed, decide what kind you want to invest in so that you may prepare and stay focused. Do you prefer wholesale or Fix and flip? Will you invest in Commercial or Residential real estate? Have all your finances lined up so there are no surprises along the way. In this fast-paced field there is no time for miscalculations on budgets.

So many investors are drained of time and energy because they try to do everything themselves to save money. No one can be a specialist at everything because we are only human. This is why it is important to have a solid team behind you made up of essential players such as a financial partner, a real estate agent, an attorney and a trusted contractor for repairs and maintenance. Andy McFarland, a successful wholesale investor from www.iloverealestatestories.com, gave some great advice on a podcast interview for www.flipjl.com. He suggested hiring a project manager to oversee your projects because managing people alone is a full time job. He explained how coordinating people is a difficult task so having someone with the ability to do that for you and do it on time and within budget is a great resource for your investments. There are sites such as www.Zillow.com, www.angieslist.com, and organizations such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry that can recommend certified contractors and project managers that fit your criteria and budget.

80716192

As your portfolio grows, so do the responsibilities. The little things start to add up over time and managing the details can get very cumbersome. In the same podcast as mentioned above, Andy told the story of how he slowly brought people on board to help him with tasks. He explained how simply hiring an assistant to answer phone calls alone freed up an immense amount of time and created less stress for him to focus on bigger tasks. Search for personal assistants through friends and family or sites such as www.care.com and www.greataupair.com. You will be surprised how much time those menial tasks actually steal from your day.

Real estate investing does not have to take over your life and drain all your time. There are many time management solutions that can be used to simplify your investments making them quite manageable. It is more than possible to have an abundance of success in real estate if you have a set game plan to focus on and the right partners that have your back along the way. Obviously the recommendations here in may well increase the overall costs of investing, and therefore reduce profit margins, but being sure of a small margin, rather than running the risk of a high margin deteriorating to nothing is the secret to successful real estate investment.

May 26, 2015

Posted In: Investing

Leave a Comment


The Death of Live Auctions

Technology has a way of simplifying life in the most glorious ways, but doesn’t it feel like sometimes character is lost in exchange for efficiency?

From the late 90’s into the mid 2000’s, there has been a vast shift from counties holding live, in-person auctions toward online bidding auctions through the help of various technology providers such as Grant Street, RealAuction.com and Bid4assets. Not all counties are online yet, but the rate of change suggests that someday soon they very well may be.

There are many reasons that online bidding is more efficient and cost-effective for the clerks. For the bidder it has some helpful advantages as well. For example, since the auctions are online, the bidder’s ability to use the internet’s resources during the auction are extremely helpful in conducting due diligence allowing one person the ability to bid on multiple properties at once. Holding auctions online also eliminates some forms of auction fraud and collusion that may happen during live auctions. The online auctions have proven helpful in a time when county budgets are under pressure.

keyboard_onlineauct

While there are obvious advantages to online bidding, (like the ability to bid in your pajamas while eating a bowl of cheerios!!), some seasoned investors can argue the downfalls. For one, the online auctions have high volumes of bidders per auction making the chances of winning a property that an investor spent weeks researching very slim. Elimination of live auctions also cuts back chances to network and meet fellow investors. To many investors that used to regularly attend these events, auctions were fun and exciting. Sandra is one such professional Tax deed investor who runs a Tax Deed Investors club in Florida. One of the exciting things that she does with her group is go on what they call “auction field trips” where they travel around to live auctions in big tour buses. In one of her recent posts to her club’s public Facebook page, www.facebook.com/QueenOfTaxDeeds, she told a thrilling story about the fun that her group had at a Broward live auction but at the end of the post she expressed her club’s disgruntlement with the switch to online bidding. She wrote, “Bad news is the Broward sale is going online in June 2015 ☹ the whole room gave a collected moan.”

The switch to online bidding does solve many problems that live auctions possess. However, at the same time it is spoiling traditions that many investors believe in such as networking with other investors, professional development and weeding out the serious investors from the not so. There are surly others out there like Sandra who are disappointed in the switch to online.

May 8, 2015

Posted In: Auctions, Investing

Leave a Comment


The Pre-auction To Do List: “Buyer Beware” of property condition

Tax deed investing can be a lucrative industry to get involved in, but like with any type of investing, it comes with its own set of risks. We see first hand how successful our experienced investors are in this industry and want to pass on some helpful tips to the newer investors. So how do successful investors do it so well?

When buying properties for sale at auctions due to delinquent taxes, bear in mind that there are reasons why the owners failed to pay their taxes. While those can simply be that they were having money troubles or have passed away, there are many other possible reasons for abandoning the payment of taxes such as extensive natural disaster damage, or even that it is located in a landlocked swamp. Take the warning “Buyer Beware” seriously. Go to every length to BE aware of the condition of properties up for auction to avoid being stuck with a property that cannot be built on, accessed, or sold!

todo

One key piece of advice any seasoned investor will give is to do your research! Prior to auction day, research the properties on the lists of lands available through the Clerk’s websites and in person. If possible, do a drive by for visible assessment of condition. Many investors have busy schedules and cannot do this themselves. Thankfully, there are companies such as www.realdiligence.pth4.com, www.ebiconsulting.com, and Integra Realty Resources ( www.irr.com ) that will take care of the due diligence process for you.

Select only properties that have a potential for profit. If the cost of repairing the damage would be more than your estimate of the potential fair market value, don’t do it! We have learned from working with investors that it is important to partner with a General Contractor. They will determine the estimates on repairs before buying a property so that you can make sure there will still be a profit after rehab. Pay attention to the location as well. The property may not have much damage, but if it is in a neighborhood overrun with crime or neglect, there may not be any luck in re-selling it.

There are huge profits in Tax Deed investing, but only if the necessary steps are taken when preparing for auctions. Research on each property’s condition is just one of many important things that should be on the Pre-auction to do list, but it is an absolute must to avoid being stuck with a money sink hole (or quite literally a sink hole) of a property. There is no sure fire way of eliminating the risks 100%, but has any successful investor made millions by taking the safe route? With risk comes reward.

April 22, 2015

Posted In: Auctions, Investing

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment


NTLA camp fire horror stories: Quiet title actions!

Do you remember going to those camping retreats when you were younger with the boy or girl scouts? The troop would gather around the camp fire when it would get dark, melting s’mores on twigs, until it was inevitable that the night would end with scary horror stories that would leave everyone trembling in their boots. In a tax deed investor’s world, the horror stories aren’t those of goblins and ghouls, but instead are of horrible experiences that lead to losing precious time and money on a Quiet Title Action. Shudder!

We recently attended our first NTLA annual conference at the end of February. After congregating and sharing each of our individual experiences we had at our exhibit booth, we found there was a common theme that kept popping up in conversations. One conversation in particular was about spending $6,000 to serve European heirs and another involved spending 6 months chasing down Board members of defunct corporations.

Campfirepic

Who wants to wait four years to apply for a new title when they could potentially sell it as soon as 20-30 days from acquiring it? Why risk paying large amounts in attorney fees and costs and waiting anywhere from 6 to 12 months (or more!) for a Quiet Title when this service is not even guaranteed to clear the title? Why risk having more horror stories? In Florida, the answer is as simple as getting online, taking less than two minutes to create a profile with cleartosell.com, and then having an outcome in 20 days or LESS? So why not give it a shot? Let us help turn horror stories into success stories to tell at the next conference!

March 7, 2015

Posted In: Quiet Title

Leave a Comment


More on how our customers feel about our service

I had the privilege of working with cleartosell.com on a property that I purchased in February 2015. I had done months of research with other companies that do a similar process with tax deeds and liens and talked to several attorneys before I heard about cleartosell.com from a closing agent. I wish I had heard of them sooner as it would have made my task a whole lot easier and less research time. Everything that they said would transpire is exactly how my experience flowed. They were on time with their delivery and execution and with the most prestige customer service every time I spoke with any of them. I would recommend this company and their services to anyone looking into tax deed properties.

Tonya, St Petersburg, FL.

February 25, 2015

Posted In: Testimonials

Leave a Comment


Never walk away from the full profit your tax deed investments offer

blogpic Recently, we have been privileged to work with some of the most prolific tax deed investors in the state of Florida. These individuals and companies have many years of experience in tax deed investing andare experts in their fields. But all is not golden. Even the most seasoned tax deed investors have been faced with an unsatisfactory choice:  hold their property for four years until title is deemed clear and sell via warranty deed at full fair market value, or sell urgently via special warranty deed or quit claim deed at a discounted price because title is still tainted by the tax deed process. We have estimated that investor’s losses on fair market value from this second choice range from 20% to 30% depending on the property value, but we would be interested to hear your opinions.

 

We have created a third option for investors. There is no reason why even the most urgent disposal should not realize the maximum profit possible for the investor. Our largest customers now get the benefit of our 20-day service to enable a quick sale with full warranty of title and consequently no loss on fair market value. In the time it takes to find a buyer and take the closing process through its initial stages, we can remove all questions over the title of tax deed investments, and the investor/buyer gets to access title insurance free of exceptions or abnormal conditions.

 

Title certification doesn’t fit all tax deed investments, but it particularly benefits those properties that need to be sold on with speed, or where an investor wants to recognize the full fair market value of their assets, not the suppressed value that tax deed properties inherently display.

February 25, 2015

Posted In: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment