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Author Topic: Does anyone want to share costs of parcel searches?  (Read 24744 times)
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johny
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« on: February 05, 2014, 07:08:26 PM »

Greetings fellow tax sale hunter's.  I'm finding that there are not many deals to be found in my area.  In my last local tax sale the property likely sold for more than it would have on the mls. 

So now I plan to broaden my horizons and start looking at tax sales in a larger geographical area. 

To keep costs down a bit I was wondering if anyone is interested in sharing the costs of parcel searches in different area's.  For example if we could have 10 people split the cost of an $8 parcel search we could each get a copy of the search for 80 cents each.

Or if 10 people split the costs of 10 different $8 parcel searches we could each get 10 searches for just $8. 

We would have to work out the logistics such as who does the search (ideally someone local), how to make payment (maybe email payment to the searcher?), how many days before the sale to do the search, etc.

Curious if anyone else might be interested in sharing costs?  I'm also open to suggestions if anyone has better idea's, comments or suggestions.

Cheers,
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g2020
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2014, 02:20:57 PM »

Johny, I have been watching to see what the responses to your request would be. Zip! Diddly squat, just as I suspected! It would seem that no one wants to help out their competitors by lowering the cost of a parcel register. However, if the true cost was just 8 bucks, as you infer, then it is not worth the bother. I am cutting back due to the high number of redemptions, but I still budget about $500.00 per sale, and only plan to look into about 10 of the hundreds of sales coming up this year. You can either do your search before, or after visiting the properties - I prefer the later. Consequently I do relatively few searches and the majority of my expenditures are the costs of travel, food and lodging, because us old farts like to spend our time and money looking at what we are tendering. Now Johny, about the 8 buck search. Each parcel register investigated costs 8 or more, and I like to know something about the neighbours, so add in another 8 apiece, and then you have the sheriff's searches checking for lien's against each owner, costs of instruments, and don't forget the parcel map for another buck to make sure you have the correct property for the PIN, part of the PIN, or multiple PINs being sold. You will probably be set back 30 to 50 bucks for each property properly searched, and still have no actionable information. My point is, why even bother doing a parcel search? To put in a good tender you only need to know two things - what is the property worth, and are there government liens and mortgages that you will become responsible for. Have your lawyer do the searches after the sale, and if you have taken my previous advice of never bidding more than 15k for anything, then you just walk away from a deposit of up to 3 k in a very unlikely situation.
Yes, you heard me right, do not do title searches. Buy an MPAC report, a GeoWarehouse report, or the new inclusive MPAC report that just came out to compete with the Taranet's GeoWarehouse offering. What is Teranet? Teranet is a privately owned company that bought the land registry systems from the Province of Ontario - that is who gets your 8 bucks (or more like 30 to 50 if you do it right). Buy the GeoWarehouse report and you get most of what you were after in your parcel search such as selling price, owner information, mortgagee and mortgage data plus much more such as square footage of the buildings, number of washrooms, year it was built, ceiling heights, property dimensions, assessed value etc. - real actionable data so that you can decide what to tender. Is that not all you want to know? - what to tender?
New tools are coming out all the time. Find some realtor buddies to share the costs of the newer tools and I might just be able to stay here in Florida one heck of a lot longer. Count me in!
« Last Edit: February 13, 2014, 07:58:16 PM by g2020 » Logged
Dave2
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2014, 04:31:45 PM »

g2020:  

I must confess to cowardice I guess in your eyes because I will do a property search whatever you want to call it. How and what I search it with will vary but you have covered that already.

Johnny:  My reason for not sharing it is

1.  Copywright rules from those produced by Tri Target and OTS.  

2.  I have enough competition all ready and don't want to tip off more.  

In terms of going in naked no.  I have enough problems with one Dave's folly even though I did a full search and still ran into problems.  Pretty hard to search
a problem if none of the people G2020 mentioned know about it and I found out when it cost me a bottle of Glenn Fiddich scotch with a neighbour.

I acknowledge that I need training on how to justify to my significant other
that I lost $3,000 of our money because I did not do a proper search.  

Having seen someone walk away from over $7,000 in the fall I think I will remain a coward  Shocked  My life is too short as it is.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2014, 04:49:21 PM by Dave2 » Logged
g2020
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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2014, 06:40:29 PM »

Johny, at this point 268 people have read your post and you just have the one definite "no" from Dave2. I do appreciate Dave2's point about not submitting a "going in naked" tender - perhaps the risk adverse should not be buying tax sale property in the new areas that you are contemplating. Dave2 appears to tender only in his home area, and you do not appear to be welcome there. Dave2 is a specialist, and I cannot fault that. He takes no chances, and pays accordingly. To each his own! I am routing for 1,000 readers of this string of posts so with just 732 more readers to go, you still have a chance of finding 10. 🚲
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johny
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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2014, 09:47:29 PM »

Johny, I have been watching to see what the responses to your request would be. Zip! Diddly squat, just as I suspected! It would seem that no one wants to help out their competitors by lowering the cost of a parcel register. However, if the true cost was just 8 bucks, as you infer, then it is not worth the bother. I am cutting back due to the high number of redemptions, but I still budget about $500.00 per sale, and only plan to look into about 10 of the hundreds of sales coming up this year. You can either do your search before, or after visiting the properties - I prefer the later. Consequently I do relatively few searches and the majority of my expenditures are the costs of travel, food and lodging, because us old farts like to spend our time and money looking at what we are tendering. Now Johny, about the 8 buck search. Each parcel register investigated costs 8 or more, and I like to know something about the neighbours, so add in another 8 apiece, and then you have the sheriff's searches checking for lien's against each owner, costs of instruments, and don't forget the parcel map for another buck to make sure you have the correct property for the PIN, part of the PIN, or multiple PINs being sold. You will probably be set back 30 to 50 bucks for each property properly searched, and still have no actionable information. My point is, why even bother doing a parcel search? To put in a good tender you only need to know two things - what is the property worth, and are there government liens and mortgages that you will become responsible for. Have your lawyer do the searches after the sale, and if you have taken my previous advice of never bidding more than 15k for anything, then you just walk away from a deposit of up to 3 k in a very unlikely situation.
Yes, you heard me right, do not do title searches. Buy an MPAC report, a GeoWarehouse report, or the new inclusive MPAC report that just came out to compete with the Taranet's GeoWarehouse offering. What is Teranet? Teranet is a privately owned company that bought the land registry systems from the Province of Ontario - that is who gets your 8 bucks (or more like 30 to 50 if you do it right). Buy the GeoWarehouse report and you get most of what you were after in your parcel search such as selling price, owner information, mortgagee and mortgage data plus much more such as square footage of the buildings, number of washrooms, year it was built, ceiling heights, property dimensions, assessed value etc. - real actionable data so that you can decide what to tender. Is that not all you want to know? - what to tender?
New tools are coming out all the time. Find some realtor buddies to share the costs of the newer tools and I might just be able to stay here in Florida one heck of a lot longer. Count me in!


G2020, I guess the parcel search is the first step of the screening process when looking at a property.  If the parcel search shows no crown liens or other scary stuff then it would make sense to invest more time and money into further investigation.

That's an interesting strategy bidding only $15k or less.  I'm still fairly new at this but I assumed $15k wouldn't buy much at a tax sale. I'm guessing maybe some vacant land or a dilapidated house in the boonies?

I do have a Realtor buddy to share the costs of the new tools if you are interested.
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johny
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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2014, 10:14:20 PM »

Dave2,  I was referring to a parcel search from the LRO not a title search from OTS or Tri-Target.  If the parcel search looks clean then time to consider further investment.  I'm not too worried about tipping anyone off.  The properties are advertised in the local papers and they're also all over the internets.  I figure that's why there are so many properties that sell at or above market value.

g2020, Nobody's interested so far. 

Either nobody wants to tip anyone off that they're interested in a property or maybe I'm the only frugal/cheap one looking to cut costs.
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g2020
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« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2014, 09:57:51 AM »

"That's an interesting strategy bidding only $15k or less.  I'm still fairly new at this but I assumed $15k wouldn't buy much at a tax sale. I'm guessing maybe some vacant land or a dilapidated house in the boonies?"
Johny, it was interesting to read your quote above, but you have already seen that it is too crowded a space at the high end to make any money. No, today the money, if any, appears to be made at the low end where you may be the only bidder. Then you have a long wait, and a lot of improvement, to make a few bucks. Not even government creditors seem to want to bother with liens on cheap properties, or if they do the lien would likely blanket a much more valuable property of the same owner. The risk is at the high end - the bread and butter profit is at the low end. At Tax Sale the greedy always lose money with their ridiculously low bids on the prime properties that everyone wants. If you decide to bid the more remote, and lower priced properties then you need to keep your costs to a minimum. Perhaps you have received no response because everyone else is expecting to pick up a grand home for next to nothing - in that case who needs to save a few dollars? 🚲
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Dave2
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2014, 03:06:37 PM »

Dave2 appears to tender only in his home area, and you do not appear to be welcome there. Dave2 is a specialist, and I cannot fault that. He takes no chances, and pays accordingly.

We are going to have a great friendly argument when I finally pay the overdue timbit bet I owe you.   My reputation being a home body is interesting.   It results from two factors.  One of which is one I have no control over because some of the municipalitys run the most open tender systems I think in Ontario.

The other is the interesting one and I am surprised it may not have occured to you. Double or nothing on the Timbits.  What is it?
« Last Edit: February 22, 2014, 01:27:11 AM by Dave2 » Logged
g2020
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« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2014, 04:56:22 PM »

So Dave2 wants to bet - NetPred gets premium Irish beer, and I get Timbits - is that fair! Oh well, here goes. Dave2 says I know him as a homebody because "some of the municipalities run the most open systems I think in Ontario". Yes, I see Dave2's real name posted on the web site of the municipalities near his home, so I am able to keep track of what he bids. That is the first reason that he appears to be a homebody. Secondly Dave2 may be referring to the fact that he tells us he stays close to home. So that is my bet. I bet that we think he is a homebody because he tells us he is.
Last year I went to as many tender openings as possible, and recorded the name of every bidder, and their bids. This would further my suspicion that Dave2 is a home body, except for conflicting facts - he bought an Island in Lake Huron, and property near Cochrane, in prior years, and last year he got over half of the properties that he tendered, and only had one redeemed. I would post post what he got but that would be inappropriate - sometimes those who appear to be blabber mouths on this blog, are really quite cagey in what they disclose, and why they make those disclosures. The bet is on. Double or nothing.
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NDR
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2014, 10:35:32 AM »

I just finished writing cheques to my municipality for my own property taxes and it inspired me to see what I had been missing here on the board.

Not necessarily speaking for Dave2, but my approach is if I already know the territory it gives me a comfort level with estimating the value and how I could potentially realize it.  I can't bring myself to 'mail one in' for Algoma or Cochrane, because I don't know the area and my day job doesn't allow me to take the time off to head up there -- even if the allure of unspoiled acreage is appealing, I think my wife would kick me out if I ever told her I had bought land site-unseen.  Though I suppose if that did happened, I'd have somewhere to go...  But I digress.

Even if I did do a drive-by for a property in the far north, what would that really tell me about the area?  I would see what it looks like from the road but wouldn't know the surrounding area well enough to see what the big picture could potentially be for the purchase.  I.E., is the lot in a high-traffic area, can I setup a chip-truck for boaters in the summer and snowmobilers in the winter, while I wait for the value of the land to increase, etc etc.

In the spirit of full disclosure, this wisdom has only resulted in several second-place bids and bids on properties that ultimately redeem, so its worth is reflective of that.  I do suspect -- and could be way off -- that the 'mailing it in' factor is one of the contributors to some of the excessive bids we see.


« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 10:37:26 AM by NDR » Logged
johny
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2014, 11:12:26 AM »

If the deals are out in the boonies then perhaps instead of asking who wants to share costs on searches I should have been asking who wants to carpool? Cheesy
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g2020
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2014, 02:09:12 PM »

Carpool? - now you are getting to the true cost of submitting a tender. The next time you are looking at a property north of Huntsville and then realize that the registry office involves a 200 km trip to Parry Sound, you will understand that the $8.00 parcel register fee is only a small part of the title search true cost. Spending 50.00 and up for an OTS or Tri-Target title search may actually be a way to save money. Since I budget $500.00 per municipality inspected, and want to cut back to 10 tax sales per year, then I can in fact lose $5,000.00 per year on tax sales if I get nothing. I have gone as many as 3 years without getting anything but fortunately my wife does not do the arithmetic the way I do. Dave2 feels he would have wife problems if he walked away on a $3,000.00 deposit, but he can easily have a true cost of twice that much if he does not bid high enough. The losses are even greater if he has not done his homework. The advantages of carpooling are that one person may see what the other missed - we all have different strengths! I usually travel with another experienced tax sale purchaser, so one of us can rescue the other, or call 911. It is always good to have a witness! 🚑
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Dave2
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« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2014, 03:41:30 PM »

I usually travel with another experienced tax sale purchaser, so one of us can rescue the other, or call 911. 

wait until you go after water access property and the boat runs out of gas out in the boonies.  Not a good time to find out that the 3 different cell phone carriers
(you and your tax sale friend, and the driver) none of them can get a signal.   Angry
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g2020
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« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2014, 12:52:53 PM »

Quote
I do suspect -- and could be way off -- that the 'mailing it in' factor is one of the contributors to some of the excessive bids we see.
The above quote from NDR a few days ago has been puzzling me - I think he is correct, but why? Why would someone bid too much on a mail in bid. The only thing that I can think of is reliance. Reliance on assessed values available from sites such as OTS (for a fee) are probably the route cause. The assessed value tends to reflect what a property would sell for if a property were it top condition for sale. I regularly see a house displayed on the OTS site that shows a lovely looking century home that sold at tax sale for $100,000.00 less than assessed value. I bought that house! I made no money due to a combination of urea formaldehyde insulation and asbestos wrapped plumbing - I made the mistake of relying upon the assessed value whereas locals knew the issues and bid accordingly. I was proud of my extensive title searching and market value research until I was proven to be just another "excessive bidder". I think NDR is correct - insufficient on the ground investigation, by all of us, is what has made today's tax sales a poor investment choice. 🚦
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NDR
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« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2014, 03:32:53 PM »

The other piece/side of 'mailing it in' is the fad variable.  Using G2020's OTS example, if you go there (as I just did, looking to see that century home) I see a parcel of land in Wasaga that sold for $971,000 below assessed value.  Wow!  With bargains like that to be had, who wouldn't want to get involved with Tax Sales?  I'd be stupid NOT to get involved in this!

Plus every now and then you have a writer or journalist do a story on tax sales and that attracts a new flock of people into the field.  I'll admit that's what got me into it years ago, and I jumped in with both feet, driving around the province, dragging whatever family member I could, along for the investigation.  I took a hiatus when one particular outing we ran into the same car at every property we went to (if you recall being stalked by a blue Saab 93, 'Hi!  Nice to meet you again!').  But what prompted the hiatus wasn't the potential competition, but each property of interest that trip had either a dump on the grounds or a building that had been taken over by wildlife/nature and couldn't possibly be anywhere close to the assessed value in the info package.

But the lure is there hence my own renewed interest.  As already mentioned, the search isn't the real cost -- it's the investment in time to do the research (whatever way you do it).  G2020's accounting is a very valuable insight.

Though I'm still curious to know if we hit on the reason Dave2 sticks to his marked territory.   

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