How to Buy Tax Liens & Deeds in Florida

Throughout the state of Florida, property taxes become due on November 1st of each year. If the taxes are not paid by April 1st of the following year, the tax bill is rendered delinquent. Once in delinquency, a tax lien certificate can be put up for sale by the county. The winning bidder pays the delinquent tax amount and any additional charges and obtains a tax-lien certificate. If the property owner’s pay the delinquent tax amount within two years, the certificate holder earns his investment plus interest back. If the taxes are not paid within two years, the certificate holder can apply for a tax deed sale. Here the actual home is sold at a public auction to the highest bidder. The lien holder can bid on the property or make a profit if someone else buys it.

Tax Liens

Contact the county tax collector for upcoming tax-lien sale information. They will provide information about the tax liens available and the auction process.

Research the liens available for the auction. Take into consideration the delinquent amount, property location and how much you would like to bid.

Register for the auction as directed by the county tax collector or clerk. Registration is sometimes done via the Internet on the county’s website. You will need to enter personal information and submit an IRS W-9 form.

Attend the live auction with a list of liens you wish to bid on. The auction may take place in person or online. When the lien you wish to bid on becomes available, place your bid. Review the bid before submitting because a bid cannot be cancelled.

Wait for the results of the auction. When an online bid takes place, the results may take two to three days. If you win a bid, you will be notified in writing of the final price. At this time, the winning bidder will have 48 hours to submit payment to the tax collector.

Tax Deeds

Apply for a tax deed once two years have passed since the tax-lien certificate was purchased. It is against Florida law for the certificate holder to contact the property owners during this time frame.

Pay amounts owed on other tax lien certificates if they exist and are owned by other individuals.

Wait for notification from the County Clerk of the Circuit Court to set a sale date. Additional fees will be due at this time including advertising costs and the fee for the Sheriff to hold the sale.

Research the property before attending the auction. If possible, have a property inspection completed. Additionally, check to see if any other liens are present on the property.

Attend the public auction if you wish to bid on the property. The home will be sold to the highest bidder.

Warnings

  • If a property does not sell at a tax-deed auction, the lien holder can become the owner of the property. Florida non-homestead property becomes the certificate holder’s at no additional expense. Homestead property can be deeded to the lien holder for a payment of half of the home’s assessed value. If the lien holder does not want to pay, the property is deeded to the county.

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