Georgia raw land tax sale - Posted by joe

Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA) on July 24, 2003 at 21:55:09:


Right, I think an attorney would be helpful to you. I’m not an attorney.

However, I believe that the grandmother’s estate was not properly probated, in that they left out the vacant land. Look at that probate. Often they will have something to the effect that any assets later found to have belonged to the deceased are to go to the heir . It may be possible to just get a judge to issue some order saying that the property was to go to the daughter of the owner, as the only heir of the estate. Or, it might be necessary to reopen the estate and take the land through that to get it to the on-title owner’s heir.

Gee, just two heirs? Think of the mess if there were 8 or 14 or more. Definately DO NOT let sleeping dogs lie here. This is a prime prospect for you as an investor. THere are only two people with whom to deal. They don’t even know about this asset. So any money you give them is a windfall. FREE MONEY. Wow, are you like to be welcomed with open arms.

An experienced probate attorney will walk the heirs and the personal representative through the whole process. If you pay the attorney, there will be a certain loyally to you and your interests created, I would bet. Certainly worked for us when my first partner and I did this.

Good InvestingRon Starr***

Georgia raw land tax sale - Posted by joe

Posted by joe on July 21, 2003 at 16:04:13:

hi everyone. I have posted here off and on regarding the work I do with raw land purchase and development. I am now confronted with a unique situation and need some quick advice!! I own a lot that I purchased some time ago and is worth a good bit of money. There are two other adjacent properties that are vacant as well with the same zoning. Driving by today I saw a notice for them both going up for tax sale at the county (Fulton County, GA). If I can get these two parcels the income I could make would be rather unreal for me as you could build 15 units on it.

Does anyone know how to handle this situation? I have about 2 weeks before the sale and I would like to buy at least the one immidiately next door if not both. Please help. Evidently there are 1-2 companies in the area that do nothing but buy tax sales and it is near impossible to compete with them. Once sales are impending is it possible to stop the sale??

Any help would be extremely helpful!

Re: Georgia raw land tax sale - Posted by Ronald * Starr (in No CA)

Posted by Ronald * Starr (in No CA) on July 22, 2003 at 24:21:38:


Nice to talk to you again.

I’d suggest that you try to track down the property owners and make a deal before the tax sale.

If you cannot do so, you should get the money together to buy at the tax sale, as suggested by Bill H. If necessary, take in partners to do so. I recall GA tax sales as being lien or certificate sales with something like a 20% return. That is why the investors like to buy those liens.

You might have a couple of accomplises at the sale talking about the “problems” with those two properties and so, they will not be bidding on them. They should be vague and obviously scared to death of anything to do with the properties. Don’t sit next to them.

If the lien sells to somebody else, try again to contact the owner. Now they are in the redemption period and closer to losing their property.

Good Investing*Ron Starr

Re: Georgia raw land tax sale - Posted by Bill H

Posted by Bill H on July 21, 2003 at 17:47:01:

If there is a mortgage against the land most likely the lender will step up at the last minute and pay the taxes…happens all the time. Then the lender will initiate foreclosure…may be available then.

If there is no mortgage then anyone who wants can pay the taxes and stop the sale in most states as long as it is done before a deadline set by the statutes.

If you pay the taxes…you are gambling that you can find the owner and get them to sell to you. This will undoubtedly be at whatever price you can negotiate.

As to the other companies that are aggressively buying at the tax sale. My only suggestion is to figure out what the land is worth to you and bid up to or close to that amount. The other companies will probably drop out at some point unless the have the same buildout plans that you have.

If I wanted the land I would hang in there and bid until it got up to the value that I had established.

In answer to your question about stopping the sale; most tax collectors have heard about every tall tale and some short ones too about stopping the sale. Just because you are in a tight spot and want to purchase it will not get them to stop it…states are broke, the economy is bad…they need the $$$.

MY suggestion is to get the $$$ together and bid at the sale.

Good Luck,


Re: Georgia raw land tax sale - Posted by Joe

Posted by Joe on July 22, 2003 at 16:59:30:

Hi Ron- I was hoping you’d respond. I learned a little more today. I had looked at this property for some time prior b/c it is immidiately next door to the property I told you about earlier that I basically got for nothing but worth $125K or so. It is of great interest to me to get this parcel to improve my development plans (I ended up not selling that lot and still own it). I went to the deed records room and oddly enough there is nothing there that I could find. I even got one of the seasoned employees to help me and she couldn’t find anything either. In the research software I use at home it lists her name and an address that gets no response to mailings and there is no mention of a deed book or page to be found. I could nto find any recorded deed on this parcel and typically I do a resonable job on finding stuff like that. My first thought was to buy it from the owner prior to the tax sale and offer them some cash to pay off the taxes and a little left over for them. I am thinking that the owner must have passed away though and I am not sure that that will work now. So I have a few questions if you are inclined to educate/help:

1)How would one more thoroughly research if they have indeed passed away? I am almost considering paying for a title search to be done on it just to find out more info. Paying $150 for title to be run for such an investment is not a big deal.

2)You are correct that GA sells the taxes for a liens to investors and there is like a 20% return. There are several companies that do nothing but buy these properties (Vesta, Heartwood, Foxworthy, etc.). They typically drum up the price to above the actual tax amount b/c their return is not on the tax amount but on the sale/bid amount. They are looking for the payoff of the lien and aren’t really interested in the property itself. How do you compete in an environment like that? The less I pay the better off I am but the more they pay the better off they are.

  1. There is another vacant parcel I have found that I know is buildable and is in a good location. I live in this area so I am very confident in this. It too is going up for tax sale but it’s owner is one of the tax lien buying companies. In looking up there deed info, they bought the lien, waited the 1 year redemption period as required in GA, had the land titled to them, and now they are letting it go back for taxes. This doesn’t make sense to me.

Re: Georgia raw land tax sale - Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA)

Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA) on July 22, 2003 at 20:39:21:


Regarding first the last thing you talk about. Maybe the people at that company found out something bad about the property and don’t want ownership anymore. Why don’t you call them up and say you might be interested in buying and would they sell? You could ask for a property disclosure form if they are interested in selling. They may just wait until the last minute to pay the taxes. Maybe they are hoping some naive investor-to-be will contact them and overpay for it.

I’d say call and inquire.

When I don’t find deed references it is usually because the owner has owned the property for decades, from before the advent of computerized records. Perhaps the assessor’s office has old paper records for that property. Ask them. Otherwise, just do your title search further into the past. I remember about ten years ago seeing that the last deed to a property here in my count was about the time of World War II.

I suspect that you are right, the owner is likely dead. Can you check the vital stastistics office in the county? Is there a central state organization that keeps the abstracts of death certificates? Here in CA it is the CA Dept of Health. Also, check the social security administration death benefits records. They are now available for free online. At some geneology site and perhaps some other places.

Also, check the probate court in the county where the owner was last known to live.

You might try to look up nearby property owner records in the assessment role. Perhaps there is somebody that has lived nearby over twenty-five years and could give you info about the owner or relatives.

Try to find out who owns the property to which the tax bills are being mailed. If that person has owned the property a long time, perhaps they are a relative of the vacant land owner. If necessary, drive there if it is reasonably close and talk to longer-term neighbors there. Oh, wait, we have the internet don’t we? Rather than drive over, check out telephone numbers for people that live near the tax bill mailing address. Call them up.

I wonder if there is any legal way to get the big companies to not bid on the property? “Chilling the bid” is illegal here in CA, and I would assume that the same is so in GA. But, hmmm. What if you showed them that the owner is dead and thus if they buy the lien they will end up with the property? Of course, they might like that. If they are very much oriented toward the interest rate return, that might make it a smooth move to point out that the owner is dead. Then you buy the lien at the tax sale.

Good Investing and Good Investigating************Ron Starr************

Re: Georgia raw land tax sale - Posted by Joe

Posted by Joe on July 22, 2003 at 21:11:31:

Hi again Ron.

I was debating whether to contact the tax lien company re: their property so I may go ahead and do that. I know from a development/building perspective there is no reason to let the property go. It is a little steep, but I have developed probably 15 units on this street over the last couple of years (one is just next door) and despite some added infrastructure costs due to terrain and some rock, it is pretty easy to develop. The only thing that I can think is if they found something defective in the title but I don’t know how that would be possible since they just got it titled from the county to about a year ago. The other option is that somehow the county has made an error and billing them for back taxes that they paid off at the tax sale.

I know several families in the area that were born and raised here and know everyone in that area. I was talking with one of them today and he said he knew one woman that was a distant realtive by marriage to his family with that name but she died about 10-12 years ago and taxes were current up to as recent as 1996. If anyone knew who she would be it would have been this guy.

I will look into the abstract of death certs. I don’t know if that is available or not but it is certainly a good idea. Tomorrow I will check with probate court. I was rushed today and didn’t get to go over there or back into the recorded deeds beyond 1972.
I will also investigate the owner of the billing address for the property. I know generally where it is and it is not in a good area so I am a little hesitant to just go drive up there and knock on some doors. I am liable to not make home!

If I didn’t have this pesky day job I could devote a couple of days to this research. I will just have to find a way to make it happen. The opportunity is there to get another $125,000 property for around $15,000. More than I paid for the other one, but that’s ok! :slight_smile: If God wants it to happen it will happen so we shall see and I will keep researching.

Re: Georgia raw land tax sale - Posted by Joe

Posted by Joe on July 23, 2003 at 13:46:00:

I found out that death certs can’t be obtained for free in GA. I did go to probate court though and did find the owners will recorded and she has passed away. Oddly though, the only petition to the court was voluntarily withdrawn and no action was ever taken or a list of other heirs given. Everything was given to the owner’s daughter, whom it appears passed away as well and the daughter’s daughter (i.e. property owners grand daughter) withdrew the petition at the probate court. I looked up the address the tax bill is sent and it is actually one of the elderly public housing projects that were bulldozed 5-6 years ago. One person I spoke to there did know her but had no information in regards to heirs, etc.

Would you order a title search by a title company and have them get you a chain of title and include any other probate info I may have missed? Would you just call up the grand daughter and see what happens? I don’t think, if I did find the rightful heir, they have a clue the property is in her name b/c the will makes no mention of it. I still can find no deed book and page for this parcel either.

Re: Georgia raw land tax sale - Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA)

Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA) on July 23, 2003 at 14:22:26:


I doubt that a title report will do you any good. It likely will give you nothing new to help.

Yes, try to contact the granddaughter. If her mother was the only heir and she is the only heir, she would be able to do a probate action for each of the two estates and get the property into her name. If there are other heirs it could get a bit messier.

Of course, when I say “she” could do probates, I really mean YOU could do all the work. She’d only have to sign a few papers from time to time. If there is as much profit as you anticipate, this might work out.

You have an agreement to buy the property from her once she is in title. You get the first probate going–the grandmother–and make a loan to the estate for paying the back taxes, with a security instrument against the property.

Good InvestingRon Starr*******

Re: Georgia raw land tax sale - Posted by Joe

Posted by Joe on July 23, 2003 at 22:50:52:

It does appear that the granddaughter is not the only heir as I believe she has a brother. The housing authority people told me the owner had two grandchildren living with her. The will for the owner listed only her daugher, who also passed away, but the probate petition for the owner’s daughter’s estate listed two children of that daughter. They also listed only one property as being owned by the deceased owner and it was not the lot that I am interested in.

If there are indeed two heirs would you just wait for the tax sale and see what happens? I guess I am concerned about stirring up a hornet’s nest if I start calling the grandchildren…“let sleeping dogs lie” I believe is the motto.

What do you think the outcome might be if I hired an attorney to assist me with the probate process, assuming the heirs will sell? I am clueless about how to handle anything for a probate action b/c I have never dealt with it before. The granddaughter did go through probate for her mother’s property (i.e. the daughter of the owner of the lot I want). This was a single family house in the downtown area that they still reside in, according to the tax records and phone book.
Would I have to go through probate for both estates? I think I need legal help here or a good mentor! The profit is certainly there so it is well worth my time to makethis happen. Even if I pay close to full market value it would be worth my efforts b/c owning the two lots side by side increases the density and thus makes it more attractive to other developers if I sell and/or makes a town home owners association more practical and reduces the cost burden to each owner with more units.

The other reason I was considering running title is this: how do you put something under contract when you have absolutely no legal description? I have looked high and low through the legal records and came up with nothing. Obviously if I could just find one deed in the chain of title I piece something together, but when you have not even one deed anywhere how do you get a legal description??