Investing in Property Tax Liens


For the investment savvy, property tax liens provide a welcome relief to the volatile stock exchanges and historically low-interest rates offered by financial markets. Property tax liens offer an avenue of reasonable and stable returns.

To the novice investor, property tax lien investing should be approached with care as they also carry substantial risk. Anyone venturing into this investment class of assets should strive to understand the rules and potential pitfalls that come with this market.

How you can invest in property tax liens

Tax lien certificates are created by the local municipality. These certificates show the amount of lien that is owed on a property plus any interest and penalties that have accrued up to the date of issue. The certificates are auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Tax lien certificates can be purchased either low or high, running into the thousands of dollars.

Investors who are willing to accept a low-interest rate on a lien certificate or those who pay a high premium on the amount will be awarded the lien.

If you are interested in holding onto a lien you need to take into account, the following:

  • Whether the property is residential or commercial 
  • Whether the land is undeveloped or contains property improvements 

Interested people can contact their local municipal office to find out details about lien auctions. They will find rules defining such issues as pre-registration requirements, accepted methods of payment and other pertinent issues.

Making profit from the lien

Investors who purchase the lien certificate are required to immediately pay the lien in full, then notify the property owner that they are the new holders of the lien. The property owner becomes fully indebted to the new lien holder. He must pay the entire amount of the lien, plus any interest.

If the investor paid a premium on the lien, this may be added to the amount that is repaid in some instances. If the property owner cannot pay the lien by the deadline, then the investor has the authority to foreclose on the property just as the municipal would have had done.



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When preparing your home for sale, you need to fix things up, declutter, perhaps slap a fresh coat of paint on a few walls. That’s all part of getting your property ready for buyers.

But there’s another type of preparation that you also need to do. And, the sooner you do it, the less stressful your move will be.

You need to get all your paperwork together.

Here’s what to gather:

  • Property documents such as deeds, easements, surveys, liens, etc.
  • Mortgage documents, plus any other loans (i.e., line of credit) that use the property as collateral.
  • Maintenance and service agreements that may continue with the new owners.
  • Warranties and guarantees that are transferrable to the new owners.
  • Recent utility bills, such as water, electricity, etc.
  • Rentals (i.e., water heater rental.)
  • Home security agreements and codes.
  • Contracts for any work done on an ongoing basis. For example,
         lawn maintenance.

Getting these records together early will ensure you’re not scrambling at the last minute to find them. Some of these documents, such as warranties, also make for attractive selling features.


When considering whether or not to sell their home, many people think about market conditions. They consider whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market. They look at trends. They try to time the sale to get the best price for
their property.

While market conditions certainly can play a role in deciding whether you should sell now rather than later, many other factors can influence that decision too.

For example, you might have outgrown your home and need more space. Perhaps you need an extra bedroom or a larger kitchen. If you wait until market conditions are perfect, you may languish for months — or even years — in a home that’s too small for you.

The same can be said for downsizing.

Another “non-market” reason you might want to sell your home sooner rather than later is the neighbourhood. Is there another community more suited to your lifestyle that you want to get into? If it’s a particularly desirable area, you don’t want to wait too long to make a move. If you do, you might lose some good opportunities.

There’s also the emotional side of the decision to consider. You might simply want to move for no other reason than you need a change. That’s as good a reason as any to put up the For Sale sign and find your next dream home.

Other non-market reasons for selling include:

  • Wanting a shorter commute to work.
  • Desiring a different style of neighbourhood. (Rural rather than urban.)
  • A change in family situation.
  • Living closer to relatives and friends.
  • Wanting a particular property feature, such as a backyard with
    mature trees.

The point is, don’t just consider market conditions when deciding to sell. Look at all the reasons and then move forward with confidence. After all, you can sell and buy in any market.


What is it about your property that stands out? What will buyers like most about it? What are your home’s most enticing features?
Answering those questions will help you determine which features to emphasize when selling your home. After all, you want buyers to notice and appreciate your property’s best characteristics.
But here’s the challenge...
It can be difficult to determine which features of your home are particularly desirable to buyers. You live there! So, there might be a fantastic characteristic of your property that you’ve gotten used to. You might not even realize its value.
One way to gain perspective is to ask friends, “What is it about our property that you like most? What stands out to you?” Ask them to be candid. Often, they’ll reveal characteristics about your home that may surprise you. You’ll definitely gain insights that will help you when listing.
Another technique is to compare your property to others in the neighbourhood. Buyers often target neighbourhoods, so realizing how your home stands out can be helpful when marketing it. For example, your property might have a larger backyard than most others on the street, or it might have a lot of recent upgrades.
Another way to discover your home’s most attractive features is to talk to me. I can tell you what buyers will like most about your property.