New Jersey Tax Sales

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Recently I attended 2 tax sales on the same day in New Jersey and got no liens. At the first sale I went to I only opened my mouth to bid once. Everything except for one small $72 lien got bid down to 0%, and premium was paid even for small sewer liens. This was at the same sale that I had been successful at the year before, so what happened?
It just so happens that you really can't tell how a tax sale is going to be from how it was last year. One year a tax sale will be good for investors and there will be a lot of good liens available and few investors at the sale. And then the next year at that very same tax sale, there's less available and more buyers, thus more competition. Tax sales where there are large liens really bring out the big players and the big investment companies that didn't get the big lien will bid on everything else. It makes it difficult for the individual investor to get tax lien certificates at decent rates.
So what is an investor to do? A couple of weeks prior to this, I went to another tax sale where I was able to pick up three small sewer liens, 2 at 18%, and one at 17%. This sale was in a very little municipality, kind of off the beaten track and a little rural. The 2 sales that I went to and didn't get anything are in the same county as that sale, but they were bigger townships and each of them had one fairly large lien which attracted 4 of the big companies. Two of these companies bid on the small sewer liens as well as the larger liens. At the second sale that I went to one large lien with a certificate amount of over $65,000 went at 0% with a premium of $100,000!

The secret is that if you go to enough tax sales, eventually you will be able to get a decent lien at a good interest rate. I would rather wait until I can a tax lien for 10% or more (I prefer to get 18% on my liens) than bid something down, or bid premium just to get a lien. Do not fall into the trap of bidding something down (or up as in the case of premium) just to get a lien - it's not profitable! Instead, go to a few sales in various places to find one that for one reason or another is poorly attended and has just enough available that you can get some liens.

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