Many Audrain County residents have noticed delinquent tax lien sale signs posted in area properties, including the one in front of the former KFC building on Jackson St. in Mexico.
The location is one of 31 properties to receive signs and is among 81 total properties scheduled to be offered for sale on the East Courthouse steps at 10 a.m. Monday, August 24.
Audrain County Collector Kate Becker said the county is required to hold the sale within three years of a property’s tax becoming delinquent, according to the provisions of Chapter 140 Missouri Revised Statutes of 2011.
Becker said Audrain County does their sale after two years like most counties in the state of Missouri.
“There’s 75% interest paying it for the oldest year so it doesn’t help anyone to let it go three years,” Becker added.
The complete list of properties up for a tax lien sale is located at audraincounty.org after clicking the “2015 Tax Sale Listing” link. The list was also published in the July 22 issue of The Vandalia Leader.
The sale includes 33 properties in Mexico, 25 in Vandalia, 10 from Laddonia, nine from outside the city limits, and two properties in both Rush Hill and Vandiver Village.
Becker said it is important the residents understand the sale is not the same as a foreclosure sale from a mortgage company.
“We are essentially selling our lien against the property to a third party; that lien being the delinquent taxes,” she said. “And after a set amount of time, that lien purchase can become a collector’s fee.”
Becker said Audrain County began the year in February with 472 properties on its list subject to a tax sale. A total of 391 property owners have come into her office since to pay.
Current property owners who have locations on the list can still visit the Audrain County Collector’s office before the sale to pay what is owed to get off the final sale list.
Properties being offered for a first and second time will have minimum bids set and there is a one year wait until the sale winner can receive the deed.
The original owners have one year to come back and pay taxes and fees owed that minimum bid plus 10% over a year interest. If they don’t the winning bidder gets the property as it would pay the 2015 taxes and get 8% interest over the year on concurrent taxes.
Properties up for a third offering is the same but has just a 90 day wait for a winning bidder to possibly receive a deed.
Bidders on properties up for a fourth offering or more nearly get the deeds instantly as they just have a couple day wait for paperwork to be processed.
Becker taught a class to explain the tax lien sale process the past two years but very few attended due to the Collector’s office explaining the process when asked about it inside the Audrain County Courthouse.
Those wishing to bid on the properties must be a resident of Missouri and can show proof with a driver’s license and must be current on their taxes.
Thirteen of the properties received signs in the first year the county has used signs to mark the sale for properties on its third offering or later. This was done due to the large amount of post third offering properties being nearly a 1/4 of the properties on an average sized list of 56 properties.
“The only real way to make taxes cheaper is for everyone to pay their part,” Becker noted.
Since the signs are new, they have brought attention to the tax lien sale this year.
Though there are signs on some of the properties, Becker reminds interested bidders that they should not go on the properties before the sale like a realtor might.
“Where people have a misconception is we are not realtors,” Becker noted. “If you go on a property, you can still be considered trespassing and you can be arrested for that. Literally, until the deed is in your hands, if you go on that property, it is trespassing.”
Unfortunately, there have been instances of signs being moved or disappearing.
“We are turning those over to the Sheriff’s office,” Becker added. “Just because there is no sign in the year, it doesn’t mean it isn’t a post third offering. It just means someone might have tampered with a sign.”
Becker is hoping the sale will help to cut down on some properties that have been deserted and growing tall grass, which offers a habitat for snakes.
Becker also said that in her office, they cannot give legal advice.
“Anything that comes from this office can and should not be construed as legal advice because it is not meant to be,” she said.