The ABCs of Tax Lien Investing

Are you interested in yields of 6 percent to 50 percent on your money, secured by a property tax lien against real estate?

Author Joel S. Moskowitz explains how investors can buy little known tax lien certificates that pay high yields in his book, “The 16 Percent Solution”

As a bonus, although the author warns it rarely happens, the investor might get kicky and foreclose on the property. However, he cautions that property owners usually redeem, so investors must be content with just high yields.

What is a tax lien certificate?

When a real estate owner does not pay their property taxes, 27 states and 1,152 cities and counties sell tax lien certificates to investors. The government gets its property tax money immediately. The investor buys a tax lien, which is then secured by the real estate.

Tax lien certificate yields vary according to state law. Arizona’s top rate is 16 percent, Florida pays as much as 18 percent, but in Michigan, the rate goes up to 50 percent in the second year. If the property owner doesn’t redeem the property from the investor by paying the back taxes plus the high interest rate, the investor gets the title and possession of the property.

New investors can start small, perhaps investing a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, and then buy more property tax lien certificates later. Although not all states are smart enough to offer tax certificates to speed up tax collections, after reading this book, they’ll learn why they should.

At the time of writing, States currently offering tax certificates include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The book’s outstanding appendix lists the interest rates and state-by-state procedures. For real estate investors who want to earn high yields without physically managing property, this new book shows how to do so. It also explains the few pitfalls to avoid and how to buy die best certificates with the highest profit opportunities.

On my scale of one to 10, this excellent book rates a solid 10.

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