Sunday, July 17, 2011

March 2010
The house was empty and right next door. So my daughter and I asked a lot of questions at the Marion County Court House. We got a lot of run around and with 4 small children in tow it was a task... I did resort to bribery at one point - gum ball machines are wonderful!!! We found out the house was mortgaged for more than it is worth ($80,000) and then abandoned but no other liens. We got on the county treasurers website to see how much back taxes were. The house is a fairly nice house (it does sit next to a very Ugly Little Cottage... ours) So we searched how to buy a house in the tax auction. You have to have enough money on had at the auction to pay for what ever the winning bid comes to. It cannot be cash. The tax auction was a wonder to behold. It was quite an experience I will say that. If you want to bid you go to a bank and get a cashiers check for a deposit - I forget how much that was. Then you get a check from the bank for the minimum bid minus the deposit. Then you get additional checks for $100 or maybe $1000 so you have enough if you have to bid up. (We got ours for the asking amount.) Before they have the auction you go in and give them the deposit check from the bank. Then they give you a bid number. You sit and wait for the number of the house you are wanting to come up on a big screen. They post 20 or so at a time. If someone wants to bid on a house they hold up the house's number and the bidding starts. Some get quite a bit of action some sell for the asking price. It took a day and a half before ours came up. There were maybe 10,000 houses in the auction that lasted two days in Indianapolis. Most of them went for the minimum bid. So we won the bid. Now the bank or the home owner has one year to redeem the house. If they redeem it they have to pay us 10% interest in the first 6 months. Then they have to pay 15% interest in the second 6 months. We are not allowed to go in the property until we have the title. So we wait. The end of March we can apply for a title. Then we can go in and repair the damage and maybe have a decent house for not much money and an Ugly Little Cottage with two garages and a very nice back yard next door.

One long year of waiting. We waited and we waited and we waited...

APRIL 1, 2011 and this is no joke.
OK at long & last.... drum roll... the tax house is ours! We just found out today. Nobody had redeemed it. As soon as the deed comes we can go in it. That should be sometime in June! Two more months of waiting and wondering... I wonder what scary stuff is in the refrigerator? Is it moldy or worse is it NOT moldy? I wonder if the old metal kitchen cabinets are any good. Do the drawers work - how much of it is rusted out. (We did peek in the windows you know) Can the cabinets be cleaned & painted. Would a retro kitchen be cool to live with? I wonder what kind of shape the hardwood floors are in under that carpet in the rest of the house. I wonder how much damage the water in the basement has caused. I'm sure it needs a furnace if it even has one. The air conditioner is long gone. I wonder how much we have to gut? I wonder what this is going to cost? How long will it take to get it livable? What have we done? Are we crazy?

How about 'NOT MUCH IS NEW' for a blog title?
Well we know it is coming but we have 60 days +- to wait for the deed to the tax house. Meanwhile we WAIT and DREAM...
We are hoping to fix up the tax house using as much used or recycled parts as possible. There will of course be some new stuff. Like doors - it is very hard to get a good fit with used doors. Having a door that fits keeps the heat in. Of course we will re-purpose the old wooden doors. Kitchen cabinets & bathroom fixtures can be somewhat used/reused or use cast offs, repaired or re-purposed items. hopefully hard wood under the carpet can get refinished if needed and some new varnish put on. Yeah we will buy paint - probably mis-tint paint though. We might have to buy drywall if the walls are in bad shape. I have been collecting scraps and excess tiles to put somewhere - but I'll have to buy mortar and grout. I'm pretty sure we'll have to get a new furnace and water heater. We also don't know if the house has any insulation. We don't know if the drywall has holes. We do know what ever is in the finished basement has to be thrown away - water damage is so not good.

FAST FORWARD 4th of July, 2011
well we FINALLY got our tax deed it really is our house... I probably should call this one from here on out the house of horrors.... eye roll. The basement is full of stuff and it is held together by mucky water.

July 11, 2011
Postmodern Red Neck and some friends pumped water out of the basement.
Then we found out how much stuff was being 'stored' in the basement... They have spent the past week shoveling, bagging and hauling unidentified floating objects - and some not so floating. I've taken pictures but there is NO WAY to document stink. You just had to be there to get the full effect.


  1. When we went to the court house we were looking at the plat and parcel number for that house. We had to have an exact location of the house. We we then used that information to see if there were any liens against the property besides the mortgage & back taxes. I think there should be a way to search that in what ever city you live in. We searched by going from one office in the court house to another. The staff at the court house was fairly helpful. There was some waiting in lines and some going from one office to another (kids in tow)The exact location of the house is very necessary if you are going to watch & then bid & hopefully buy an exact house.

  2. There will be some variation from state to state on how they handle selling property for back taxes. Even in Indiana, different counties have their sales at different times. But most state have some provision for selling properties for the back taxes and assessments (on this house the county had sent in crews to cut the grass and brush at least once a year since it was abandoned, which was added to the tax balance).
    Most mortgages have provisions that allow the lender to pay insurance and taxes to protect their interest if the homeowner fails to--in this case they did not do so, possibly because of the backlog of foreclosed houses in the system.