Land Tax Sale

What's happening in our built environment.
I ran a search for this topic but with keywords like "tax" and "sale" on these forums, I didn't feel like paging through so many results - if this is out there, let me know.

So my girlfriend and I are looking to move intogether sometime in the next 12 months - my CWE apt. lease ends in Dec. and her U. City apt. lease ends this month - but her roommate and her might resign for 6 mos. or go month to month.

I've warmed her up to the idea of picking up a house via the City land tax sale - I understand the risks of building condition and don't expect it to be livable, requiring pretty much a full rehab.

As we start looking together, evaluating neighborhoods, and deciding what we want, I have a few questions.

1) Has anyone else done this? (I know others HAVE, just hoping for a few testimonials)
2) How did the rehab go? ~ Costs? Unforseen issues?
3) Did anyone get burned? Any stories of ridiculous success?
4) What were some of the considerations you had going into the process? Things you would do different?
5) What have you done with the property since? (still live there? renting it? sold?)
We bought a property through the auction. While not required, I would suggest hiring a lawyer that has experience with those deals. Do your research on the properties you are interested in. There may be liens on the property that you would have to pay as the new owner. The auction price is not necessarily a fair representation of the final cost. You pay 3 years of back taxes that are owed on the property and then the taxes for the current year I believe. There were some additional smaller fees. Have your financing figured out before going in. There is certainly an industry that has developed around these sales so you may be looking at some competition if it is in a desirable or up-and-coming neighborhood.
If you don't mind me asking, about how much more (in terms of the potential costs you listed) was your purchase more than the list price? Did anyone bid against you?

For work, I went to the County's sale last year and of the properties that were bought maybe only 10% had any competition... Is the experience similar at city auctions?
List price (or starting price) is just the sum of the back taxes owed. If the owner of the house had a loan (mortgage) on the property, then the bank will want to get paid. They may even pay the taxes themselves. You will have to call around and figure those things out. When I went a couple of years ago, there were a lot of people. I don't remember exactly, but I don't think many had competition. Although one property in the Shaw neighborhood went back and forth for a while between a few people. It went up $30k or so. Even though I didn't have anyone going against me, it was still exciting.
What's the advantage of a tax sale property compared to an LRA property? Is it that the tax sale properties tend to be in better shape?
^I believe (and I could be wrong) that once a propertey goes unsold at the tax sale, then it becomes an LRA property. So no, LRA properties are no better or worse than tax sale properties... Unless one considers that all the "good" properties are likely to be sold at the auction and the cruddier properties go to LRA.

flipz: It's my understanding that once I bid/pay for a property, there is some sort of 30-day waiting period wherein the owners have the time to pay up (be it a bank, holding company, or individual). While tax liens may play a factor in making the aquisition final, I don't think a mortgage has any clout. Especially in today's market where banks have forclosed on hundreds of homes in hundreds of markets, they can't even keep track of it all and lose property to tax sales as well... I think...
Just as a little update, my girlfriend and I have narrowed our list to a handful of homes and are hoping to make a move at the auction. I just did some back of the napkin estimating and was hoping that anyone who has done extensive home rehabs or is familiar with house flipping (we don't intend to flip, but the process for us to move in is essentially the same) could chime in to tell me I'm in the ballpark or dellusional... or both...

Demo – 3$,000
Cabinetry – $4,500
Counter tops – $2,200
Bathroom tiling – $8,000
Drywall – $7,500
Hardwood – $7,000
Carpet – $1,500
Paint – $3,800
Appliances – $4,000
Waste/Clean-up – $2,000
Permits – $2,500
TOTAL ~~ $46,000

Add in $10,000 a piece for roofing, central air, electrical, plumbing, and any stabalization... we are looking at right about $100,000 conservatively. She does design work for a living and I'm at least a little handy, so with our talents combined we figure to save some on paint/flooring/b-room/kitchen/etc costs and hoping to land in the $80,000-$100,000 range.

Is this unreasonable? Did I miss something?
^ Did you have any luck at the land tax auction? Were there any good deals?
StlToday - Deals abound at St. Louis tax sale, but plenty of properties are passed over ... bd8ff.html
How is the pricing set for these? It seems like a lot of the higher priced ones are vacant lots in not the most up and coming areas. But many of the lower priced ones are. Is it based on taxes due?
bwcrow1s wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:57 am
How is the pricing set for these? It seems like a lot of the higher priced ones are vacant lots in not the most up and coming areas. But many of the lower priced ones are. Is it based on taxes due?
Yes, the bidding starts at the amount of back taxes that are owed.