How to Buy Tax Liens in North Carolina

I’m Ted Thomas. Today I’m going to answer your question about how to buy tax liens in North Carolina. I’m also going to give you some inside tips on how to make money.

Can you buy tax liens in North Carolina? I’m going to tell you right now, they don’t sell tax lien certificates there.

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North Carolina Counties

North Carolina has 100 counties and they do tax deeds. That means there will be 100 tax-defaulted auctions just in that one state.

The largest counties are Mecklenburg and Wake County, and they’ll have quite a few. In a place like Mecklenburg, don’t be surprised if there are 150 or 200 properties coming up for auction.

Smaller counties will still have tax deeds, but the auctions won’t be big. They might have 16 or 25 properties.

Tax Defaulted Property

All the counties in the United States are authorized to sell tax-defaulted properties, and they can sell the deed to the property to you without a mortgage.

When you’re in North Carolina, you’re not going to buy a tax lien certificate; you’re going to buy a property.

Property Taxes

First, the county confiscates the real estate of the defaulting property owner as a result of not paying property taxes. The sheriff gives them a notice of eviction and kicks them out of the property.

Why does the county do that? Because the county needs money to pay for the schools, police, and fire department. The county has a lot of employees, and they have to pay all those people. In order to pay them, they need property tax.

Mortgages and Deeds of Trust

After the local government seizes that property, they’re going to resell it, and when they do, they’ll wipe out any mortgage on the property.

In North Carolina, they use a mortgage in some cases, but most of the time they use a deed of trust. It’s very similar to the deed of trust they use in California, Oregon, or Washington state.

A deed of trust is the same thing as a mortgage, just with different terms. They’re always a promissory note. That promissory note was signed by someone, but the county is going to wipe it out regarding the property.

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Bargain Real Estate at Rock Bottom Prices

Now, what I’m doing is teaching you to buy these properties at rock-bottom dollars. You can get tax deed properties for about 20 or 30 cents on the dollar of the assessed value.

Why? Because the bidding starts around the amount of the back taxes.

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A Unique Bidding Process

There’s also a unique bidding process in North Carolina so be careful. Generally speaking, when you buy a tax-defaulted property at an auction, you get possession.

In North Carolina, when you buy and you win, you do not get possession. The county holds onto the property for a number of months to allow other people to come in and outbid you.

In other words, if you bid $10,000, someone could go in and bid $10,100 then wait a month or 2 more to see if someone else will come in.

The point is you don’t get possession until it goes through that process.

Surplus Lands List

If the property doesn’t sell at the auction, now the county has an even bigger problem. What are they going to do with the properties that don’t sell? They’re going to put them on what’s called a “surplus lands list.”

You can actually go to the county office and say you’ll buy a property for the minimum price on that list.

I’m giving you 2 ways to buy, 1 at the auction, and 2 off the surplus lands list.

Buy Low and Sell Low

People ask me, “Ted when I’m bidding on tax deed properties, is there a rule of thumb?”

Your rule of thumb at tax auctions is to buy low and sell low. It’s a constant mantra that I have, and I teach that in all my classes.

Let’s talk about that just for a minute. They’re going to start the bidding at 10, 20, or 30 cents on the dollar, so buy it as close to that as possible.

Don’t bid up and pay 80% or 90% of the value because then how are you going to sell it and make any money? You want to buy it low, and then you want to sell it low.

Selling Tax Deed Property

Who are you going to sell it to? How about all those fixer-upper guys they’re talking about on late-night television? They don’t tell you how much all of that costs. So, I don’t do any of that work.

I’m going to teach you to buy it low, sell it low, and go on to the next deal. Why? Because this is a business of abundance. There are always going to be too many properties. They’re never going to be able to sell them all.

Why No One Ever Told You About This

I’ve been doing this for 30 years and teaching it for 25. If you’re sitting there saying, “How come no one else has told me about this?”

The brokers and bankers know about this, but they’re not going to tell you about it. Why? Because they can’t make a commission from it. No commissions are going to be made on tax lien certificates or tax-defaulted properties. This is one that you’ve got to learn yourself.

Not a Get-Rich-Quick Scheme

The government made this for the little guy. These auctions have been going on for 200 years, and these properties aren’t going to be advertised by other people.

You’re not going to see them on television except for people who tell you, “You’re going to get rich.” and I’m going to tell you that you’re going to not get rich by Friday. This is a process and once you learn it, you can do it for the rest of your life.


We hope you enjoyed Ted’s lesson, “How to Buy Tax Liens in North Carolina.”

North Carolina does not sell tax lien certificates. The state sells tax deeds so you can purchase real estate outright, and you get the property without a mortgage or deed of trust.

Properties that don’t sell at the auction go on the Surplus Lands List, and you can purchase them at the minimum price at the county office with no bidding necessary.

Be aware that North Carolina has a unique bidding process for their tax deed auctions. Even after placing the winning bid, you could still be outbid months later. Be sure to keep an eye on that.

If you’d like to know more, Ted provides full support and complete training with home study courses, Q&A webinars, live tutorials, workshops, web classes, and personal coaching with certified coaches.


Ted Thomas

Ted Thomas is America’s Leading Authority on Tax Lien Certificates and Tax Deed Auctions, as well as a publisher and author of more than 30 books. His guidebooks on Real Estate have sold in four corners of the world. He has been teaching people just like you for over 30 years how to buy houses in good neighborhoods for pennies on the dollar. He teaches how to create wealth with minimum risk and easy-to-learn methods.

The Ted Thomas Difference:

  • Ted is recognized as America’s Tax Lien Certificate & Tax Deed Authority and has been helping people with investing in tax defaulted properties for over 30 years.
  • Ted has built a team of certified coaches that have 70 combined years of auction experience and are available to his students by phone to guide and mentor you to avoid getting overwhelmed or worse, losing money
  • Ted has ironclad PROOF that what he is teaching you does work. With hundreds of successful students providing testimonials and a 4.9 Google rating which is unheard of in this industry.
  • Ted and his staff don’t hide behind a website; they can be reached during office hours at 321-449-9940.

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