Recession Properties Auctioned To Highest Bidder - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Recession Properties Auctioned To Highest Bidder

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by Adam Ghassemi

GALLATIN, Tenn. – After seven years of notifications, penalties and waiting for homeowners to pay their property taxes, Sumner County began their first tax lien auction.

With every property there are taxes to be paid, but Thursday people got to bid on property tied to a different time, before the word "recession" was part everyday vocabulary.

"We decided to wait with the economy the way it was," said Sumner County Clerk and Master Darlene Daughtry. "We feel like it's time that the economy is turning around."

Sumner County is finally auctioning off parcels delinquent as far back as 2005.

It's why contractor Floyd Wilkinson got in a bidding war over an old home in the county and won.

"The historical site is what got me to look at it," he said of a Rock Springs Road home he won. "Of course I would have liked to have bought some of the other property, but this is what I really came for."

There was no way to fully know what kind of situation the bidders were buying.

"You could end up with something really good or something that you can't do anything with," said Daughtry.

Up-and-coming real estate investor Chris Isaacson relies on his research.

"Are you able to turn it around, get it back on the market, invest it and rent it out? There's a ton of options with it," he said.

At age 26, he fought off other bidders to write the largest check of the auction – $46,000 for a Hendersonville home on Lakeside Park – to cover $9,955.20 in back taxes.

"Hendersonville holds strong property values. It's a great place to live and it's already got a home on it. Some of the other lots didn't necessarily have developments on them or anything like that, so you're buying more than just raw land," Isaacson said.

"It's the way our system works. You don't pay your taxes then it gets sold at the courthouse steps," he went on to say.

The highest bidders don't get deeds right away. They have to wait at least a year to give the owner, lender or anyone with a lien an opportunity to pay up. If that happens, bidders get all their money back, plus 10%. If not, they get the property for pennies on the dollar.

The county started with 125 delinquent properties with back taxes from 2005 to 2007, but many owners scrambled to pay things off. Thursday's auction shrunk down to only 32.

The next tax lien auction won't likely happen until late 2013.


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