county-rules-depositphotos_7168212-RESEARCH.-Magnifying-glass-over-background-with-different-association-terms.Knowing the county rules very well where you want do your tax lien certificate and tax defaulted property investing is not only the first step, but also the most important step of doing your own research for a successful purchase or bidding at the auction.

Fortunately these days, most counties have their rules written in a very plain and easy to read format on their website, and most legal terms are explained very clearly too. If you still have any questions after going through the rules, just pick up the phone and call the help line provided on the site. You are more likely to be surprised by how helpful county clerks can be.


If you only invest in one particular county, then it should be easy to master that county rules, however, most investors don’t limit themselves to just one county, and as rules vary from county to county, one can get overwhelmed and confused very quickly. So how do you tackle this challenge? Organization is the key!

To organize all the information from different counties, there’s no better way than to make up a check list or a worksheet. Here’s an example of the basic starting fields to list, and as you study along, you will know what to add to it or modify for your own need:

  • County and State Name: Your first step to clarity!
  • Sale Date: also put a reminder on your calendar a week before or when you want to start doing serious property research
  • Where the sale will be advertised: Which newspapers or on what websites
  • Location of the sale/auction: a live, physical auction or an online auction? If it’s a live auction, what’s the street address, if it’s an online auction, what’s the website address (URL). You might want to include a street map too.
  • Registration Requirement: Is pre-registration required or you just need to show up at the time of the auction?
  • What kind of funds are accepted: Will it be cashier’s check only? How’s personal check? How soon you need to pay in full?
  • What kind of certificate you will get? A tax lien certificate or a tax defaulted property? and when will you get it?
  • Are there closing cost? Usually when auction is conducted by auction house instead county itself, there’s extra fee over your bidding price.
  • What happens to the left over properties?

Happy investing and master your county rules!

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