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How to Find Tax Sale Homes to Buy

Updated on January 27, 2010

Finding tax sale homes to buy can be tricky, but for those in the habit of purchasing tax liens, this process is essential. Here are the four main ways to find out about tax sale homes in your area.

1. Read the legal notices in your local newspaper.

By law, most counties in the United States are required to post announcements about tax sales and lists of properties that are up for sale. These announcements generally come out about 2 to 4 weeks prior to the sale, and will give you information about the date, time, and location of the sale. Although this method is helpful, it does cost you the price of the newspaper, and you’ll have the best luck if you know generally what sales are coming up so that you look for them in the right time period. Alternatively, if you do not have a particular property in mind, skimming the legal section daily or weekly is helpful.

2. Call your local tax collector.

This method is a bit more focused than skimming the newspaper, and is also free. Call your local tax collector or the representative overseeing the sale and ask about properties that will be included. This representative may be the county treasurer or someone in the sheriff’s office. If you are unsure of who might be the right contact person to ask, you can consult your state’s guide to tax sale homes. This document varies from state to state, but generally will list representatives for tax sales along with contact information.

3. Purchase tax sale lists online.

This method is becoming more and more popular for its convenience. Some site will list upcoming tax sales and contact information for free., for instance, requires a free registration but then gives you information about tax sales taking place throughout the country. Other sites charge you for their services and can be state-specific with more comprehensive information.   

4. Check forums and contact local investors in your area

Online forums that are specific to a geographic region or area can be great places to find information about upcoming tax sales. Of course, these can sometimes be hit-and-miss and are not comprehensive. Still, talking to others who are looking for the same information that you are looking for in your area can go a long way in helping you locate tax sales and the properties that will be offered at them. Using this method along with the ones listed above will keep you well apprised of upcoming tax sales.

Image Credit: james.thompson, Flickr


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  • festersporling1 profile image

    Daniel Christian 7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

    This seems like an especially smart strategy right now. Less money out of pocket with the bad economy.