Property Tax Liens In Georgia
Property tax liens in Georgia are unique in that it is a type of hybrid between a tax lien state and a tax deed state.
Georgia offers investors the possibility of either getting a really good return on their investment as in a typical lien state. But Georgia also offers the opportunity to end up owning the property. Some say you have the best of both worlds. Others say you have the pitfalls of each as well.
Investing in property tax liens in Georgia is no different in one aspect from any other state. This aspect is learn and study the state laws concerning property tax liens. Learn the local county procedures. And most of all do your due diligence before your purchase. This advice is the same in any jurisdiction.
At the auction.
At the property tax lien auction, you bid a premium over and above what is owed for taxes. Whoever bids the highest wins that property. After the sale, you are actually purchasing a “sheriff’s deed” to the subject property.
Once you own the “sheriff’s deed” you are entitled to repayment of your investment plus a 20% penalty regardless of when that deed is redeemed. If the property owner pays up during the first month you still receive your 20% penalty in addition to the return of your investment. This offers extremely significant returns should you be able to select properties that are redeemed fairly quickly.
The property owner has a period of one year to redeem.
Should the property owner NOT redeem the “sheriff’s deed” you purchased you can foreclose on the property and become the fee simple owner.
It’s at this point, you’re going to require the services of an attorney in Georgia to handle the process. Unless you are a practicing attorney in the State of Georgia with some experience, I would suggest finding one. The foreclosure process is just too complicated to attempt on your own.
The other method as opposed to foreclosure is just to wait. I’ve never seen it done but the owner of the tax deed can wait for a four year period. After this four year period, your tax deed becomes fee simple.
Georgia tax auctions are held the first Tuesday of the month at the discretion of the tax commissioner. This means that they won’t hold a sale unless they have enough properties to warrant holding an auction. The auction will be advertised in the local newspaper and are all live auctions. The opening bid will be the delinquent taxes and costs. Then, the bid amount will be increased until the highest bid is reached.