Interested in property but dealing with habitual defaulter

Hi all, I am looking to purchase a property that is in the perfect location for myself and girlfriend, I noticed it scanning the neighbor and it is roughly 9k in debt from back taxes. Most is from 2013(6k + fees/penalties) which I am guessing is from foreclosure proceedings as the average cost is around $800 a year.

I did a title search on the owner, saw the certificate of forfeiture, etc for the property but noticed he owns other properties as well all of which are behind on payments as well. These date back to 2007 or so, I am guessing this guy is purposely getting behind on taxes and buying the property back cheaper than if he paid taxes.

My question is how do you beat someone like this and get the properties from them? Obviously he is confident enough to keep defaulting on purpose, just to get the property back. I have to find when this particular property is up for auction(not sure how long it’ll be, but it was quit claimed back to the county recently).

Should we bid high immediately(5k or so) to force him to either cough up for the property or let it go, or should just try to inch up the price?(I am willing to go 10k-15k maybe more).

I notice he slips frequently on multiple properties and gets them right back, so I don’t know what kind of leverage he has or if there is something we need to watch out for to compete and get the house.

We’re more interested in this place for a personal residence. The location is perfect for us and we really want it bad so we’re trying to see what we can do to get it. Anybody with experience dealing with this type of people would be greatly appreciated.



In most states tax sale homes come up for sale once a year by either closed bid auction or public open (Live) bid auction depending on where you live, however if this owner just lost this to taxes it may be next year or the year after before it comes up for sale in the tax auction. 

Now hopefully your in a tax sale state and not a tax lien certificate state because if your state is tax lien certificates it’s possible someone already owns the rights to this property by ownership of the tax lien certificate. It is likely that if an investor buys the tax lien certificate and it is defaulted on for non payment the investor will fix it up and sell it for FMV.

This tells me this owner did not pay taxes for upwards of 6 years.

The other question would be in your state is there a redemption period where the owner can buy back his home from the county? If so this may not be sold by your local authorities until after a redemption period expires!

Good luck,


I’m in Michigan, not sure if we’re tax lien state or not.

It looks like the property was lost the first time in 2001, then there’s a discharge by someone else(family member) and a redemption certificate followed. It looks like it was paid off around 1997 and quit claimed to him by his father maybe? I am guessing it was borrowed against(says mortgage) twice within 1 month apart in 2006 for two different amounts.

in 2012 it says “Assignment” with his name and a banks name. The last two documents are two separate forfeitures to the county treasury one that is around April 2012 and another around April 2013.

In Michigan is it possible for me to just go to the treasure, hand them 10k for the home, and take ownership of the house?


The auction in Detroit is about the 10th of September, give or take a few days.

Depending on county will depend on when they auction property? Check with your county tax authority?

Good luck,


Okay, thanks for your help! I guess I will have to call the treasury to get info on the house. I hate having to wait until next September but it’s worth the wait, we really want that house. I was thinking they were going to give the house back to him yet again, but I don’t think that will happen again this time(hopefully!).