Today I meet a seller that I started working with for a year but have never met…. How did I start working with him? How do I manage a potential seller from NY state in Boise, Idaho.
I met my client that we call Joe last year when he called and asked me about tax sales…. I sort of knew about tax sales but only in the vaguest sense. This man wanted me to drive by homes that were up for tax sales from Ada County. Fundementally I was a bit uncomfortable with this but curious. I reasoned the homes were going anyway and I just might be able to talk to some of the victims and help them. I must say I did not tell Joe this. Joe had a list of about 7 properties that looked interesting… Back track….
How do tax sales work in Ada County?
Every year the tax assessor sends out bills and most of us pay them…. Either directly or through our lenders. There are home owners exemptions and even a circuit breaker (which can eliminate your tax bill if you are old or disabled and poor) provided you file for them. If you fail to pay these property taxes for 3 years in a row (or maybe just be delinquent for 3 years) the county will put your home up for auction. The notices start going out a long time before and every effort is made to contact the owner. The county compiles a list and contracts with a company that is called bid for assests. If you are interested you go to the website (link is at bid for assets). As the do-good-er I am I investigated the properties but gave the owners a flier warning them that their home was up for tax sale. Of course I did not tell Joe I did this. I met a couple of people who had paid off their taxes. Their were 2 homes that I thought were good but I gave my opinion on the value of each and its pluses and minuses that I could determine from the outside of the property. The owner of the nicest property contacted me. I tried to help him.
It turns out that his wife had inherited the home a from her mother. He had a couple of strokes and lost his income. I took the couple to the tax assessors offices. I called a political reporter I knew and someone who might be able to lend the $25000 he owed the assessor. The rates were high but at a $200,000 value the home was worth saving even if to sell. One problem this family faced was the taxes were twice as high as they should have been because they never claimed a home-owners exemptions. The assessor was sympathetic but only the full amount would save the home. The reporter was distracted and didn’t pursue the story. The lender was willing to lend the money provided the taxes were the only lein and that they went into first position. Long story short….. The lender called my title officer and Diana did a search. Turns out there was $158,000 in liens against the property that the owners didn’t tell us about…. They lost the home and Joe bought it.
Joe seems actually to be a reasonably nice guy and I have learned to respect him over the year. Joe rented back to the previous owners at a bit below market rent and did deferred maintenance. Now the people have left and Joe wants to sell the property. I have helped with maintenance issues (supplying my list of repair people) and I have kept him abreast of market conditions both as a rental and sale. Today I am actually going to meet Joe and see the inside of this property. I am looking forward to it and hope I get the listing….