DC Announces Annual Tax Sale With Over 5,000 Properties

by Will Smith


The DC government’s Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) has announced its annual tax sale, an auction of tax liens on over 5,000 residential and commercial properties in the District that have unpaid property taxes from 2008. The auction will be held for three days — September 9th through the 11th — from 8:30am to noon and from 1pm to 4pm each day.

It is important to note that the properties are not being auctioned, but rather the city’s property tax liens against the properties. It’s a little complicated but the gist of it is: If you are the winning bidder for one of the property tax liens, you may have the opportunity to foreclose on the property in question because of the unpaid taxes. However, the current delinquent owner still has an opportunity to pay those outstanding taxes, in which case you don’t get the property. If the owner never pays what is due, you can foreclose and win title — though you’ll have to pay down the overdue property tax first.

According to a recent post on In Shaw, the latter situation is rare:

If you’re interested in the tax lien sale, go for the interest rates, not for the properties. I’ve heard that most property owners pay the taxes.

Bidding at the auction is probably not for the novice, but presumably there is an opportunity for more sophisticated real estate investors.

OTR will hold four free seminars on August 19th and 20th to explain the process.

For more details on the seminars and the tax sale itself, take a look at this announcement. You can also see the list of all 5,000+ properties here. (And if you happen to see your name and property on that list, you’ll probably want to read this ASAP.)

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_announces_annual_tax_sale_with_over_5000_properties/1194

1 Comment

  1. keith said at 12:19 pm on Monday August 3, 2009:

    You’re absolutely right. This is about investing in a tax lien, not about buying property.

    I went to an auction in 2005 and it was absolutely insane. People acted as if they were buying the property itself - $1800 liens were selling for the tens of thousands. I remember a few touched or exceeded $100K. One poor woman, who didn’t know what she was doing, mistakenly bid on and bought the tax lien on a parking spot [!] when her kids distracted her; she paid $35K for the lien on a parking spot worth $35K.

Comments are closed.

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