When a tax lien is placed on a home as a result of unpaid income taxes, property taxes or other types of taxes, in certain instances that home will be sold in order to satisfy the debt that is owed. When this occurs, it is usually sold at an auction that has been publicized in the paper or through other news mediums. If you learn that a home is being sold at a tax auction, it is possible to buy the home by bidding at the auction- but there are a few things you need to know before you plan to do so.
The first thing to know is that the starting bid will usually be the amount that is owed for the back taxes. This means you could potentially get a great bargain on a home. However, what seems like a bargain may not always be one. The first issue may be that there could be other liens attached to the property as a result of other unpaid debts. These liens would come with the property and you would be stuck with them. It is also generally not possible to do a lot of examining of the property before you buy it, so you could end up buying a major problem if you get a house that is in terrible shape.
You usually also need to come prepared to pay cash at the tax auction, although this is not necessarily always the case.
Before you decide to buy a home at auction, it is usually in your best interests to get advice from a lawyer who understands the process and who can help you to do your due diligence.