Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tax Foreclosure auction, 2009

I attended last years tax foreclosure auction and bought a 9 acre parcel last year.   This years auction had more people and more properties, but fewer bidders.  I was one of maybe 12 people to bid on properties, and generally speaking the properties went for a higher price. 

You have to not pay your property taxes for 3-5 years before it gets auctioned by the county, and I often wonder what the story is about some of the properties.  Any amount bid over the past-due taxes is held by the county and will be sent to the previous owner of the property, but only for 3 years, and you have to request the refund, else the county keeps it. 

If no one bids on the property, the county assumes ownership. 

There were around 150 people signed up, and it was held in the same location as last years. 

As each parcel is auctioned off you have to pay for it then, before the auction can continue to the next parcel.  This policy resulted in some embarassment for the first successful bidder.  Turns out he didn't know (or understand maybe) the requirement that properties be paid for in cash or cashiers checks IMMEDIATELY.  So that property was re-auctioned, and eventually sold for $1,000 more than the original bid.  Guess some folks had some time to reconsider. 

Kirke Sievers is the County Treasurer, and I've learned to bid IMMEDIATELY if you are interested in a property.  He cuts people off before they can bid if they are at all slow.  It seems to annoy him that he has to do this -- but it gets done. 

My purchase this year is a .25 acre riverfront building lot.  It's been improved...

with electricity and phone.  It'd work great as an RV parking spot.  The electrical service appears to be 200 amp.  Nice little bit of river beach, pretty close to granite falls. 

In this area there's quite a few people who live in their RVs as a low-cost housing option -- so I've advertised the property as a drive-in RV parking area with electricity and telephone service.  Wonder if I'll get a tenant? 

Neighboring properties have small cabins or gazebos.

I don't know what to make of the crowd this time.  There's definitely more people with money these days, but the majority of the crowd was there to witness i think, not to bid.  The economic woes that have hit the rest of the country so hard are just being felt in the Seattle area; next years auction should be interesting. 


StefRobrts said...

I've always wondered about those auctions. How do you have enough cash, or a cashiers check ready, to immediately pay on the spot - not knowing before hand how much you will be winning the bid for?

The riverfront spot looks nice. I've thought of having a place like that to rent out to my friends who RV (we would enjoy it too).

Bruce King said...

The way I do it is to take cashiers checks in various denominations, all made payable to the county treasurer. So for this auction I took 1) at $10,000, 2) at $5,000 and 2) at $2500 and four at $1250.

So after you bid, you present the appropriate checks to the cashier, and they mail you a refund check in a couple of weeks for any balance due you.