INDUSTRY NEWS: TAX SALES

This Coast county is auctioning land and properties for a bargain

Friday, June 29, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Carly Cahur
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Online bidding for tax-forfeited properties in Jackson County opened Wednesday and bidders have until July 25 to get a real bargain.

The 376 properties are spread throughout the county in Moss Point, Gautier, Ocean Springs and Pascagoula and have a combined estimated value of $1.6 million.

These are lots and buildings that weren't sold at the county tax sale. One of the properties in Jackson County is worth more than $50,000 and four are worth between $25,000 and $50,000.

Bidders can get a good deal, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said, since the minimum bid typically is about 10 percent of the market value of the property, or $1,500 on a $15,000 parcel. The highest sale price in an online auction typically is 25 percent of the appraised value, he said.

The idea is to clean up the neighborhoods and get the properties back on the tax rolls, Hosemann said.

During the last year, his office collected $1.5 million from the sales and returned all of the funds to the local communities.

“Online auctions are great for local communities because they make it easier for citizens to purchase property forfeited to the state for nonpayment of ad valorem taxes,” Hosemann said. “Formerly neglected properties are restored to the tax rolls and money raised is distributed to cities, counties and schools.”

How it works
Bids must be submitted at the secretary of state’s online auction portal by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 25, 2018. Paper bids will not be accepted.

Details such as parcel location, legal description, market values of the properties and an auction map are on the website. Users can put the street address into Google Earth and get a street view and look 360 degrees at surrounding properties.

Bidders must register online. They won't be able to see any other bids on a property, but have the option to pay a "buy it now" price instead of waiting until the end of the auction to see if they are the highest bidder.

"We are faster than any Realtor," Hosemann said. Within 24 hours, his office will either accept a bid or make a counter offer. The entire process generally happens within 30 days, he said.

Successful bidders will be notified by email soon after the auction closes. Payment by cash, check, credit card or other form must be paid within 15 days of notification. 

The buyer will receive the equivalent of a quitclaim. To clear the title, the buyer can file in local court and notice will be published in a newspaper three times, Hosemann said. Those who buy smaller lots generally skip this step and after 7 years own it by possession, he said.

Who has benefited
In recent years, auctions were held in Bay St. Louis, Greenville, Greenwood, Hinds County, Jackson, McComb, Meridian, Pearl River County, Rankin County, Washington County, Waveland, Vicksburg and Yazoo City.

The state Legislature allows the parcels to be given to a municipality if they become a public park, Hosemann said, or to community churches where neighboring properties can be used for a basketball court or other use.

Hosemann said when he first came into office the state had more than 15,000 tax forfeiture parcels, and the policy was to wait for people to call before any were sold.

"The first thing was to get it all online," he said. His office handles 700,000 documents a year online and he said no other state has full online auctions, the lowest business filing fees in the country and Y'all Business that provides extensive demographics and data for business owners.

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