This seems like convenient venue to explain that property taxes in Colorado DO NOT operate the way they do on the "get a house for $500" infomercials.
Property Taxes in Colorado are collected on an Annual Basis, however a property must be 3 years in arrears in it's property taxes before it goes to a tax sale. About 97% of properties are redeemed before then.
Further, property tax liens supersede virtually every other lien on a property, so they get paid off first when the house is sold.
Additionally, almost every mortgage in Colorado for about the last 15 to 20 years or so requires the escrow of funds with monthly payments to ensure that the property taxes get paid...again, because property taxes supersede virtually all other loans on the property.
In El Paso County, the largest county by population in the state of Colorado, according to the County Treasurer who is responsible for collecting property taxes and tax liens, about 97% of properties that are delinquent in their property taxes are brought current and never go to tax sale. So the likelihood of a property being sold at tax sale is very slim and the properties that would go to tax sale would most likely be properties that are owned free and clear or one with a very old loan prior to when home loans began requiring escrow of property taxes.
All that being said, the County Treasurer's Office does have a list of properties that are in arrears on their property taxes where you can pay the taxes and buy the lien for the year(s) the property is in arrears. Even though the likelihood of getting the property through a tax sale after the property has gone 3 years delinquent is very small, when the taxes are brought current...as in about 97% of the cases...you are entitled to receive the amount of your lien plus around 10% (in 2009)...which varies year to year. So, even though you most likely won't end up with the property, you get a good rate of return on your investment...much better...and I would argue safer... than virtually any other investment out there at the moment to be sure.
For more information see the El Paso County Treasurer's Website
Frequently Asked Questions: http://trs.elpasoco.com/Frequently_Asked_Questions.htm
More Information: http://trs.elpasoco.com/Tax_Lien_Sale.htm
Brian L. A. Wess
CRS, GRI, ABR, ASR, CSR, SFR, e-PRO
RealtorÂ®, Broker Associate
Residential & Investment Property Specialist
Pat Newell & Associates, Inc - Metro Brokers
Colorado Springs, CO
COLORADO REAL ESTATE...DONE RIGHT!â„¢