STURGIS — Last week’s tax foreclosure sale showed just how strong the real estate market in Branch County has become with 13 of 14properties selling for more than the owed taxes.
In fact, total sale price without the 10 percent auction fee was $344,250, with only $70,250 needed for local jurisdiction to be made whole on owed taxes.
The excess $274,000 will go to the state of Michigan general revenue fund under the program which has the Department of Treasury conducting sales for Branch and a majority of the state’s 83 counties. Even larger counties such as Kent, Jackson, Ottawa, and Kalamazoo use the state for the program.
Treasurer Ann Vrablic last year had considered trying to hold the auction in house so the county would capture the excess funds. But Deputy Treasurer Kelli Talbot, who represented the county at the sale in the basement of Sturges-Young Auditorium in Sturgis, said it was not economical.
“It would take at least to more full time employees (for the additional paper work and process).” she said.
“If there wasn’t the extra money, the county could not afford it.” In many of the last 10 years, during a poor economy, there has not been the excess.
Tax-Sale.Info, Michigan County Tax Auction,advertises the property statewide. It also sets up an online bidding platform for those who invest in tax foreclosure property.
Others were investors looking to buy cheap for resale or to renovate and put the property into rental.
All of the property had taxes owing from 2016 when the counties went to court to foreclose out all other liens this April 3 in Branch County Circuit Court. The minimum bid became the taxes owed through 2017 and current 2018 summer taxes. That meant all money owed, except the taxes, was wiped out including utility bills.
Tax deeds would be delivered to winning bidders within six weeks.