Thursday, January 20, 2011

Secrets of How this Little Guy Is Creating Wealth in Today's Real Estate Market


I am John Lee. Today I am a full time real estate investor. I have bought and sold 1,000’s of properties in Missouri for back taxes. And I have never been to a Government Tax Auction. The experts said it can’t be done.

One of the problems in Missouri is that all 115 counties have their auctions on the same day in August. You have to be there in person and cannot have a representative in place of you. Impossible to be in 115 places at once.

One of the little known secrets that I came across is many counties are so strapped for cash they will sell properties any time of year to get them back on the tax payroll. Not every county will do this. St. Louis County will only sell their properties at the sale. Each county has their own rules and way of doing things.

In Missouri there are 1st, 2nd & 3rd year tax sales. When someone does not pay taxes for 3 years their property goes into the 1st tax sale. 4 years of nonpayment goes into the 2nd year tax sale and 5 years of not paying taxes results in the property going to the 3rd year tax sale.

If you purchase a 1st or 2nd year tax deed, you will get a Collector’s deed. You will be paid back the amount you paid plus 8% when and if they pay the back taxes and redeem the property. You cannot do anything with the property and must simply wait. I’m not too excited about 8% and do not want to wait.

I want to own the properties so I almost exclusively buy 3rd year tax properties. Instead of getting a Collector’s deed I get a Trustees deed. I can go to my properties, improve them, sell them, whatever I choose.

Generally I like to stay with raw land, building lots, camping lots, city lots. It’s very important to make sure you know what the rules are. There are gated communities that have Property Owner Associations with rules and fees. Most will waive back fees that the previous owner owes (there are almost always fees usually the same amount of years that the taxes are owed on). Not all associations will waive those fees. This is best known up front.

I have met with several associations and gave presentations on why it is in their best interest to waive the back fees. Most will go for it and not all of them. I’m not in the business of paying someone else’s back fees and I am interested in getting fees paid from now on. They usually get it.

Another one of my favorite properties is city lots. This does take a little due diligence. I have made quite a bit of money with city lots. Many can be bought for a few hundred dollars and sold for several thousand. One thing to watch for is grass cutting. If you are not close to the property some towns will cut the grass and send you a bill or attach a lien on the property.

Most of the properties I buy do not have houses on them, although I have bought several with homes on them. They are usually in very poor shape. If someone has not paid taxes for 5 years you can guess what kind of shape the house is in. I have made lots of money with some of these properties. They require money, time and work.

OK, so buying the properties is easy. What about selling the properties? A few years ago I would put the properties up for auction and sell them sometimes within days. Generally I paid a few hundred dollars for a property and sell them for a few thousand.

We all know what happened to real estate in the last few years. Money is tighter and is a little tougher to get. So I have changed my strategy and became the bank. I keep it very simple. With a very small down payment, closing fee, 0% interest, no credit check and small monthly payments, everyone wins.

A property I have for sale right now goes like this. I have about $450 into this building lot. A couple of years ago it would have sold for around $1500. Today I have it for sale at $3900. Terms are 99cents down, $199 closing fee and $39 per month. No prepayment penalty and they can use and improve their property. I have total security as I do not deed it over to them until it’s paid for.

For more info:

John Lee

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