What you need to know about Tax Lien Lists

If you are going to be successful at tax lien investing, you have to get good information. Many people rely on the free lists from the county or municipality. Some people use the tax sale list online on the county treasurer’s or tax collector’s web site along with information about the sale and information on how to register for the sale.

I find that most publicly available lists do not always have the information that you need to do your due diligence on the properties. Many times you will find these lists do not even include the property addresses. It usually does include the property tax ID number, the amount owed, and the owner of record; some lists may include the annual taxes. Some pertinent information that is usually not on this list will help you to do your due diligence on the properties is: The address of the property; the property classification – is it a farm, residential, commercial, or raw land; the type property – how it is zoned; the property assessment and annual taxes; the last sale price of the property; and mortgage information.

The good news is that you can get all of this information if you buy a detailed list from a tax sale list provider. I find that tax sale list providers that specialize in one state or area of the country do the best job of providing timely and meaningful lists. They are sometimes more thorough, since they are covering a smaller area, and they are more knowledgeable about the information that they provide. I’ve seen national providers frequently leave out one or two counties in a state or only list it when it’s to late to do proper due diligence for the sale.

Two of the smaller list providers that I recommend are LienSource.com – for New Jersey, Nassau County NY, Washington DC, and Florida; and ArizonaTaxLiens.com for Arizona.

For most other states you may be able to get the list online in excel format and then cross reference the parcel or tax ID number with the assessment data that you may also be able to find online. When you can’t find this information online – on the county tax collector’s or county treasurer’s web site, you may have no choice but to buy your list from a national tax sale list provider. In this case you can try taxsalelists.com.