While this may seem like a scary endeavor when you first get started, it’s really not.
Typically, you will find your local auction with a simple Google search. If the internet fails you, there’s always the phone. Every time I’ve had a question and couldn’t locate the answer online, I’ve picked up the phone and called the tax assessor’s office. They will typically have a person or department that specifically deals with the tax sale. Simply ask them where you can find the tax sale info and they will generally happily point you where to go.
Most of the online auctions you’re likely to deal with will fall into 1 of these 3 sources:
1. Bid 4 Assets
2. Private Auction Program
3. Legal Representative For The County
Bid 4 Assets – This is a very popular website used by counties all over the country. It can be found online at http://www.bid4assets.com. They have a special section just for county tax sales that lists each county along with its auction date.
Each county link will give you the dates of the auction, contact information for the county, bidder deposit requirements and the property list in multiple formats. There is a ton of great information that is provided for free about each county. I highly recommend going through and reading each document provided, especially if you are attending your first auction in that county.
Private Auction Program – Private software is typically run by a 3rd party provider on behalf of a county. For example, San Bernardino County in California uses software by Grant Street Group. In this setup, everything is branded to the individual county as you can see here: https://sbcounty.mytaxsale.com/
They offer a wealth of local information and typically include past auction results. Again, I highly recommend reading through all of the information provided. A pro tip here is paying close attention to the previous auction results.
Legal Representative for The County – Some counties don’t get involved with the tax auction process at all. In this scenario, you’ll find a separate company (or multiple) running the complete auction. This is the trickiest scenario when you’re first getting started in these counties because you never know what you’re getting into. A perfect example of this is Los Angeles county in California. I chose this county because they have the most confusing setup that I’ve experienced to date.
Los Angeles County has a hybrid setup where you’ll find different Law Groups, Investment Brokers and even Bid 4 Assets conducting sales for them both in person and online. The most recent sale was carried out by the investment company Kennedy Wilson. The auction was conducted in person AND accepted bids through its live online bidding platform. If you run into this with your own county, don’t get frustrated, just treat each auction as its own independent entity.
Thank you so much for reading and for being a part of the TAI Community!