Neighbor paid taxes - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on October 16, 2003 at 13:16:56:

It depends on what you mean with ‘good attorney’. For example, I use Robert Witcher for this lot deal and I used him for agreement for deed (which most attorneys won’t handle, i found) and I’ve also used him when I was trying to buy a tax lien. He’s an investor and knows a lot of unusual things.

Then you can use Robert Black at Southeast title, who’s an attorney and does title searches and straight forward closings. I’ve also done double closing with him. No complicated deals, though, He wants to deal with easy closings and is inexpensive.

Then I also work with Grover Bailey, who knows his stuff, but is very conservative - so nothing in gray areas. He’s also a probate attorney, so he can do my probate/abandoned lots from beginning to end. I don’t have the phone book handy, but they’re all in it.

SO, it really depends on what kind of deals you’re doing.


Neighbor paid taxes - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on October 14, 2003 at 16:01:42:

I have this lot under contract and the seller was under the impression, that it was auctioned off in August for delinquent taxes. He had received a letter, advising him, that the city would. Anyway, we’ve been working on the title search for the last 1 1/2 weeks and everything keeps coming back with taxes being paid. Since our courthouse is 6-7 months behind in recording, we figured they just haven’t put things into the records, yet.

After I got the contract, I called the owner of the hosue next door and said, that I had the lot under contract and if they knew where the property line is. The wife told me, that the lot is not for sale, that they had bought it in august. She refused to give me any details. That kind of jibed with what the seller was telling me.

ANyway, went to the tax dept. today and managed to talk to one of the supervisors, who pulled up all of their records, even physically went into their accounting files: The lot was never foreclosed on. All the taxes were paid on Aug 28 by the neighbor. All of the original FIFAs are in their file. Basically, the neighbor screwed up. They paid the taxes and didn’t realize, that that doesn’t mean they own the fifas or the lot.

I certainly want to reimburse them, but I’m not sure whether I should tell them now, before I buy or whether I should let them know afterwards. I know they will get pretty mad and I’m somewhat inclined to tell them afterwards, so, that they don’t start creating problems. I figure once it’s done, they will resign themselves to the fact, that they don’t really have a legal claim on the property.

What do you think?


Re: Neighbor paid taxes - Posted by Brent_IL

Posted by Brent_IL on October 15, 2003 at 13:24:40:

I have to weigh in with David and Eric. If there are any proceeds going to the seller at closing, let the seller reimburse the neighbors. If you’re just taking over for the cost of the liens, I wouldn’t offer to give them their money back without getting something in return. You may want to tie the disbursement, payable upon the sale of the lot, to some kind of release from present and future claims on the property.

Re: Neighbor paid taxes - Posted by CL2

Posted by CL2 on October 15, 2003 at 12:29:39:


In addition to what the others have state, I hope that the neighbors aren’t interested in your inquiry of the lot as that may lead them to investigate their interest of the lot.

Good luck!

Dumb question - Posted by Newbie

Posted by Newbie on October 15, 2003 at 07:09:36:

What is a FIFA? Can’t find the term anywhere?

Re: Neighbor paid taxes - Posted by Eric - GA

Posted by Eric - GA on October 14, 2003 at 18:11:26:

Go ahead with the transaction. It doesn’t make any sense to think someone just “thinking” they own a property actually results in them having some ownership stake. And paying something on someone’s behalf also doesn’t mean you own it. If we went out to dinner, and then after we ate, I picked up the bill…I’m not automatically entitled to require you give back the food in your stomach, am I?

As far as reimbursement, I’d say don’t offer it. It is truly owed to them by the seller. But, if it comes down to it, give it to them, but after they bring it up or ask for it. If they feel like they “fought you and won their money back” then they will leave satisfied.

Eric - GA

Better to… - Posted by CS

Posted by CS on October 14, 2003 at 18:03:06:

it’s always better to ask forgiveness than to ask for permission.

I’d walk your deal through then contact the neighbors and thank them for their help in the matter.

my .02

Could this be adverse possession? - Posted by gerald(tx)

Posted by gerald(tx) on October 14, 2003 at 16:26:15:

This rang thru my brain when I read it was an empty lot next to a home. Paying the taxes is “openly and defiant”. Is there a fence on the property? Does the owner of the house next door have a gate leading into the lot?

I would be curious to know how long the adverse possession time is in your state and how long the property has been vacant.

I may be off on a tangent, but this is a possibility if the time frame is right.

Re: Neighbor paid taxes - Posted by E.Eka

Posted by E.Eka on October 14, 2003 at 16:15:54:

From a business perspective you shuold tell them after you buy it, or else they may rush to put a lien on the land, which would make it difficult for you to acquire it. If you tell them after you buy it, you’re under no obligation to pay them for the taxes paid. That would be between the seller and the neighbor. You did more then was required in the transaction. You acted in good faith and they predicament is a result of the neighbors error, misjudgment or mistake. Not yours. Ethically, you could reimburse them after you’ve bought it. But if you tell them before, YOU WILL GET PROBLEMS. Escpecially since she was rude to you before.

Re: Neighbor paid taxes - Posted by David Krulac

Posted by David Krulac on October 14, 2003 at 16:13:10:

I’d wait until you are the actuall owner, and I think you are to be commended for beung willing to reimburse the neighbor for the taxes that they mistakenly paid.

David Krulac
Central Pennsylvania

Re: Neighbor paid taxes - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on October 15, 2003 at 14:47:25:

my deal is, that I will give the seller 20K above and beyond any back taxes (at that point we thought we had to redeem, since he thought it was auctioned off). So, I always figured I’d have to pay those back taxes plus 20%. This is less and it’s an awesome deal, since the lot is worth about 150k. I will not leave that up to the seller - that wouldn’t be fair.

I told my attorney, that we’d go ahead and close and keep those backtaxes in escrow. The attorney will then send a letter to the neighbor, telling, them, that they mistakenly paid the tazes and that the money is in escrow with the attorney to reimburse them.
That will make them think twice about creating any problems. They know this attorney (he knows the neighbors) and they know, that he knows what he’s doing.


Re: Could this be adverse possession? - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on October 14, 2003 at 16:39:27:

Actually, that was my first thought, but I ran it by my closing attorney, who’s also an investor and really knows about all these unusual things. he thinks, that the guy just thought, that he bought the tax lien, when he didn’t.

There’re are still more unpaid fifas, from before 96. They only paid from ‘96 until now. There’s not a gate, in fact, the back of their property sits about 10-12’ lower than mine. There used to be a drainage ditch, that must have washed their back out, before their house was built. In the meantime the city built storm drains, so it’s not longer a problem. No running water.

The lot I’m buying is full of kudzu, so, they can’t claim, that they took care of it or used it in any way.

Alos, sine the wife stated to me, that they bought it in August, she must be under the impression, that they did. As far as I know, they would have had to file all kinds of stuff for adverse possession, and they haven’t.

Well, I guess I’ll find out :wink:


Outstanding - NTXT. - Posted by Brent_IL

Posted by Brent_IL on October 15, 2003 at 15:46:08:


Who is your closing attorney - Posted by atl3695

Posted by atl3695 on October 16, 2003 at 12:58:10:

I am looking for a good attorney in the atlanta area.