Tax Certificates - A Controversial Approach? - Posted by George Landry

Posted by Ben (NJ) on July 12, 2002 at 23:09:58:

Your first plan of action is outright fraud. You are
telling the property owner he has lost his property when he has not. If and when he finds out you conned him, a judge will completely unwind the transaction, and you will wind up possibly facing fraud charges. Why can’t you simply just ask Mr. Smith if he has any intention of redeeming the tax certificate and if not, would he be willing to quit-claim the property over to you for a few hundred dollars? If it goes to foreclosure, and he has given up on it, he won’t get anything anyway. He will be happy to take a few hundred dollars. Roy Stubblefield at has been very successful using this method. Don’t reinvent the wheel, follow his methods.

Plan two is no better. Paying someone else’s taxes is perfectly legal however it gives you no control over anything. You may just end up with a “thank you” when they come back to town or more likely you will end up with a trespassing charge. Then again, the certificate holder may challenge the redemption because they knew the owners were dead and you didn’t. What do you do then? Adverse possession could work theoretically but who wants to park themselves on someone else’s property for up to twenty years? Kind of a long term investment. A better solution, contact the lienholder and offer to purchase his lien at a discount. you said he has given up on it. Then foreclose on the property yourself. No need to drill a well! Good luck!

Tax Certificates - A Controversial Approach? - Posted by George Landry

Posted by George Landry on July 12, 2002 at 14:30:36:

Hello. Here’s my story and my question…
I’m at the courthouse looking up info on vacant lands in different sub-divisions. Mostly, I deal only with vacant, small acreages.
I’ve had great success looking to see who owns tax certificates on lands that I would like to own or control. ( I will explain ‘control’ later ). Generally,
I copy all the information I can get from the records and then conduct an allout search to find the owners of record or their relatives. If I find them, I use a variety of techniques to find out if they are interested in saving the property in question. You have to be careful in your approach because if they are financially sound they will simply use the info you give them and redeem the land and you’re left scratching your arse.
I generally use this approach. " Mr. Smith, my name is George Landry, and I am an investor in blah, blah, California. Do you know that you HAD real estate located such and such, but that it has been sold by the county due to taxes not being paid on it? Well, you may be able to get this property back if you are willing to invest a few thousand dollars to challenge the taxes in court. Maybe. Do you have any interest in trying to do this? If not, I have a suggestion.
You’ve lost your land already, unless you have the funds to fight. And then you may not win. However, I am prepared to pay you the sum of (whatever works here) if you will sign a quit claim deed over to me on the subject property. Look at it this way, Mr. Smith, tomorrow you can wake up and you’ve still lost your land. Or you can wake up tomorrow and you’ve still lost your land, but you have a check in your pocket for x amount of dollars. How do you want to proceed?
Believe me, they’ll sign it over.
Now here’s the new twist I have been considering. Sometimes I run across properties that have tax certificates issued on them, but the investors have never had the property conveyed to them via tax deed. Some of these investors have properties they have been paying the taxes on for several years. They don’t want the land. They invested hoping someone would redeem. But noone has. And they haven’t because they aren’t alive anymore, have no relatives, or none that can be found, and so the land sits there unused.
Here is what I am considering. I find out the costs to redeem the subject property. I mail a money order to the clerk using the subject property address as a return address. I sign the money order with the owner of records actual name, and under where I sign his name, I write by GL, my initials.
The county takes their money, pays the tax certificate holder his money plus interest, and the property reverts back to its original owner, whoever it is.
Now, there is nothing illegal here. I have had court clerks tell me that I was not allowed to pay someone else’s taxes. She couldnt show me the law.
Okay. Why would I do this? Because now, the property is under my control. The owner of record is nowhere to be found. But, I am the only living soul that knows that he is not around and probably never will come around either. Not him or any relative. Of course, there is always that possibility. And if someone does come around who could legally take the land, I simply tell him that I paid the taxes for him or he would not have the land. I would tell him that I have used his land for my own benefit, but that it has always remained titled in his name and he can have it today. Or I will buy it from him for a reasonable price.
So on these properties, I might drill a well, put in a used mobile home, a septic, and rent or sell the mobile. Or, I may, set up a small mobile home park, anyway the point is that I make money using someones land, all the while preserving the land for the real owner should he appear, the investor has his money plus interest and the county is receiving their tax dollars, and I am a happy camper.
Somewhere down the road, say a few years, I can legally gain title by a variety of means. I can file a lein for work done and foreclose. I can get it by adverse possession.
So there it is. A new twist. I think its legal. No intent to defraud…everything above board.
Okay, you guys. Pick it 2 pieces. Otherwise, I’m fixin to get rich.
George Landry