Does buying a Tax Lien Certificate on a home mean I own the home for the cost of the lien?

Asked by Nathan, Phoenix, AZ Mon Jan 11, 2010

I found a map from the Maricopa County State of Arizona Assessor's Office that shows all real estate properties in Maricopa County that are delinquent on their taxes, or have a Tax Lien Certificate for sale on them. If I purchase the Tax Lien Certificate will I effectively own the home for the value of the Tax Lien?

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K. Kemper, , Phoenix, AZ
Tue Jan 19, 2010
yes and no. I have researched this carefully. At the assessor's web site, we have
colored areas for 2009 and for earlier. IF you reach outside Phoenix, and, sticking to the Red color,
you can find SOME properties that are 3 years delinquent NOW. Thus, "technically," you can
pay all three years and then, begin the lawsuit required to go to court to get a judgment. YOU need to know that
the owner or his lender may show up as late as the last moment and pay you off PLUS late fees.
IF neither does, you get a deed. Then you have to evict if he is still in possession.

CAUTION: I did a very close check and initially found 45 red [older] liens in the city of Phoenix
that LOOKED very odd. They were very skinny when expanded [blown up within the map]. For some
reason, I discovered that the county has "cut off" easements and is selling them separately
on some properties. This is quite illegal............and brings me to caution all tax cert buyers,
not only must one make sure a property is not falling down--or in horrible condition but the
certificate MAY only represent an easement.

I checked further and counties surrounding Maricopa [where Phoenix is], while they have
poorer quality GRAPHICS to depict addresses on a map, they do have many properties
that are already 3-5 yrs behind--thus, one can begin the lawsuit for the deed the month
after demand is made for full reimbursement of the taxes paid and interest.
2 votes
Karen Peyton, Agent, Chandler, AZ
Wed Dec 2, 2015
Eventually, you "could" own the home for the cost of the lien. You do not own it on the date you purchase the tax lien. It is not a fast or easy process and usually requires the expertise of an attorney.
Consider also what you will do with the property as title insurance may be difficult to find.
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1 vote
Richard Leci…, , Tucson, AZ
Thu Jan 21, 2010
There maybe properties where no one has bought the tax lien for several years. Be very careful, many of these properties may have problems you don't want. ie industrail waste etc.
1 vote
Richard Leci…, , Tucson, AZ
Mon Jan 11, 2010
Here is teh county web site that should help you. In Arizona it takes three years of not paying the real estate taxes. In other words you should pay the taxes each year the owner does not pay. After the third year you can get what they call a Sherif's Deed. You should really study up on this as there are many pros in this market.
1 vote
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Mon Jan 11, 2010

From the Maricopa County Site...
2010 Tax Sale Details
"Caution: This is not a sale of real property. It is a lien for the amount of delinquent taxes plus interest and other fees. Contact with property owners initiated by certificate owners to encourage payment at any time is not recommended. Contact or behavior of a certificate holder deemed unfair or deceptive may result in criminal prosecution. An "Action to Foreclose" filed in the Superior Court three years from the sale date is the only method to compel payment."

1 vote
St.fleur60, Home Buyer, Phoenix, AZ
Wed Nov 25, 2015
Yes because it supersedes the mortgage of the home. Which you will not owe. It supersedes any Will which leaves the property to anyone as well. The home will now be yours to do with whatever you please and all you will have to do is maintain any taxes due from that time forward. This answer 5 years late.
0 votes
Lucky, Renter, Phoenix, AZ
Thu Sep 16, 2010
if i purchase a Tax Lien Certificate on a home does that mean i own the home for the cost of the lien?
0 votes
Richard Leci…, , Tucson, AZ
Thu Jan 21, 2010
No. It usually takes three years in Arizona. If you are wise, you would also buy the second and the third year tax lien. Other wise you will have to deal with who buys them.
0 votes
Azrentalhome…, , Phoenix, AZ
Tue Jan 19, 2010
Initially purchase a certificate which could later lead to a deed however there is a redemption period (I believe 3 years but I do not work tax liens). During the redemption period, you need to keep taxes current. The current owner or bank can pay you off at anytime before the expiration of the redemption period. If the redemption period expires and you are not paid back, you will own the property.
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0 votes
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