How to Read a Sheriff's Tax Deed Sale List - By Saen Higgins

An important part of our mentor programs involve teaching students how to read lists. This is a critical skill, without it people pass on opportunities without even realizing it. A common point of confusion among beginners is interpreting sheriff sale lists. Now, not all sheriff sales are tax deed sales, but some are.

Delaware and Ohio are just two states whose tax deed properties are sold alongside mortgage foreclosure properties at sheriff sales. I mentioned Delaware and Ohio because I know how tricky their lists can be, and will be using one as an example for today’s lesson.

Above is an image of Ohio’s Erie County Sheriff’s sale list. The first thing you’ll have to do when looking at this list is to determine whether there are any tax deed properties listed for sale. I see five tax deed properties, not because the list has explicitly said which were which, but because I know if the plaintiff is the County, then it is a tax deed property. You must know the basic mechanics of how tax deeds come to be to know to look for this, so if this is a surprise to you then brush up on the home study course! You’ll notice there are other properties with different financial institutions listed as the plaintiff; these are not tax deed properties.

This list is pretty thorough due to listing the parcel number for us. Not all lists are created equal; however, so always look for a series of digits after the listed address or legal description. Experiment with plugging the digits into the assessors property search to see if in fact the right property card can be found… or if you’re impatient just give the county a call, I’m sure they will be happy to let you know if you are looking at the parcel number.

Some sheriff sale lists do not list the parcel number at all, labeled or not labeled as such. If you stumble across a list like this, don’t be stumped. Likely the case number is listed; you can use that to look up the case documents at the county. The case documents will have the parcel number for the property in question and they can also be used to confirm that the property is a tax deed foreclosure.

The next time you stumble across a sheriff sale list in your tax deed search don’t shy away from it. Feel free to download the list and challenge yourself by not only practicing to read it, but also by attending the auction.

Saen Higgins

Saen Higgins is the Co-Founder of US Tax Lien Association. He is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the subject of investing in Tax Lien Certificates and Tax Foreclosed Properties. He has been training and speaking internationally for over 25 years. Saen is passionate about sharing his philosophies on real estate investment and creating financial freedom. His extensive knowledge in the field of self-directed retirement accounts has changed the quality of life for thousands and the way they invest. Saen’s devotion to helping people creates true financial independence and is only matched by his business partner, Tony Martinez.


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