cash envelopeEvery now and then, I hear talk about a “secret new opportunity” in the business of tax sale overages (aka – “excess proceeds”, “overbids”, “tax sale surpluses”, etc).

If you’re completely unfamiliar with this concept – I’d like to give you a quick overview of what’s going on here…

Quick Overview

When a property owner stops paying their property taxes, the local municipality (i.e. – the county) will wait for a period of time before they seize the property in foreclosure and sell it at their annual tax sale auction. Every county in the U.S. uses a similar model to recoup their lost tax revenue by selling properties (either tax deeds or tax liens) at an annual tax sale.

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The information in this article can be impacted by regional legislation and other unique variables. For the real deal, always consult with a qualified legal professional before taking action.

Let’s illustrate this with an example:

Suppose you own a property worth $100,000.

One day – you decide (for whatever reason) to stop paying your property taxes.

Eventually, a couple of years go by and the county treasurer comes in and seizes your property for non-payment of property taxes.

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At the time of foreclosure, you owed somewhere in the neighborhood of $18,000 of taxes and late fees to the county. A few months later – the county brings this property to their annual tax sale – where they sell your property (along with dozens of other delinquent properties) to the highest bidder – all in an effort to recoup their lost tax revenue on each parcel of real estate.

Home being soldSince you owed $18,000 on your property at the time of foreclosure, the county decides to start the bidding process at $18,000 (because this is the minimum they will need in order to recoup the money that you owed them).

But here’s the thing…    your property is easily worth $100,000 (and most of the investors bidding on your property are fully aware of this). In many cases, properties liked yours will receive bids FAR beyond the amount of back taxes actually owed. It wouldn’t be uncommon for a property like yours to actually sell at auction for say – $40,000 (still a great deal for the buyer – at 40% of market value, and FAR more than the $18,000 you originally owed).

But get this – the county only needed $18,000 out of this property. The margin between the $18,000 they needed and the $40,000 they got is known as “excess proceeds” (i.e. – or at “tax sales overage”, “overbid”, “surplus”, etc). Many states throughout the U.S. have statutes that prohibit the county from keeping the excess payment for these properties. 

This is where the “secret business opportunity” exists in collecting excess proceeds. The county has rules in place where these excess proceeds can be claimed by their rightful owner – usually for a designated period of time (which varies from state to state).

And who exactly is the “rightful owner” of this money?? In most cases, it’s the last owner of record at the time of foreclosure (aka – YOU).

That’s right! If you lost your property to tax foreclosure because you owed $18,000 of taxes – and if that property subsequently sold at the tax sale auction for $40,000 – you could feasibly go and collect this $22,000 difference after going through a few simple steps to claim the money (e.g. – proving you were the prior owner, completing some paperwork, waiting for the funds to be delivered).

Who Should Be Using This Strategy?

businessman questionNow – for the average person who paid full market value for their property – this strategy doesn’t make much sense. If you have a serious amount of cash invested into a property, there’s way too much on the line to just “let it go” on the off-chance that you’ll be able to milk some extra cash out of it.

However, this approach DOES make sense for an investor who has almost nothing to lose.

For example, with the investing strategy I use, I’m able to buy properties free and clear for pennies on the dollar. To the surprise of some investors – these deals are all over the place and assuming you know where to look, it’s frankly not difficult to find them.

When you’re able to buy a property for a ridiculously cheap price AND you know it’s worth substantially more than you paid for it…   it may very well make sense for you to “roll the dice” and try to collect the excess proceeds that are generated through the tax foreclosure and auction process.

The real beauty behind this strategy is that you don’t have to do anything to sell your property. Rather than spending your money, energy, and efforts to create a great real estate listing and promote the heck out of itthe county will do all the work for you. If you’re the “rightful owner” of any excess sale proceeds generated from their selling efforts (which will happen on their dime, not yours), you just need to be smart enough to claim those excess proceeds after the fact (and most people have no idea that this opportunity exists).

The Truth About Tax Sale Overages

This is all sounding pretty interesting, right?

The only problem with everything I’ve said so far is… I’ve been describing the most ideal situation ever. While it can certainly pan out very similar to the way I’ve described it above – there are also a few downsides to the excess proceeds approach you really ought to be aware of…

1. Many properties will never generate excess proceeds.

While it depends greatly on the characteristics of the property, it is entirely possible (and in some cases, very likely) that there will be no excess proceeds generated at the tax sale auction. Often times this happens when a property isn’t very “desirable” in the first place or perhaps the county doesn’t generate much public interest in their auctions. Either way – if you’re buying a property with the sole intent of letting it go to tax foreclosure so you can collect your excess proceeds… what if that money never comes through? Would it be worth the time and money you will have wasted once you reach this conclusion?

2. In nearly all cases, it takes a long time to collect tax sale overages.

If you’re expecting the county to “do all the work” for you, then guess what – you’ll have to work by their schedule. In many cases, their schedule will literally take years to pan out. So tell me…    is it worth your time to sit around for that long, all so you can maybe get paid one day?

3. Several states don’t even allow the collection of excess proceeds.

I actually had to learn this lesson the hard way. The first time I pursued this strategy in my home state – I was told that I didn’t have the option of claiming the surplus funds that were generated from the sale of my property (because my state was one that didn’t allow it). In states like these (and there are several of them), when they generate a tax sale overage at an auction – the state becomes the “rightful owner” automatically. They just keep it!

Does your state allow for the collection of excess proceeds?

If you’re thinking about using this strategy in your business – you’ll want to think long and hard about where you’re doing business and whether their laws and statues will even allow you to do it. I spent several hours doing some very high-level research on all 50 states and this was what I found (click the map below to find out)…


Disclaimer: Some of these states were rather vague in the way they addressed the specific issue of tax sale overages (and several states had different versions of similar rules). I did my best to give the correct answer for each state above – but I’d recommend that you verify this information for yourself before proceeding with the assumption that I’m 100% correct. Remember, I am not an attorney or a CPA and I am not trying to give out professional legal or tax advice. Talk to your attorney or CPA before you act on this information.

When and Why is this a Legitimate Strategy?

It’s impossible for me to make a blanket statement that this type of business IS or ISN’T a valid opportunity. The fact of the matter is – there are thousands of auctions all around the country every year. At many of these auctions, hundreds (or even thousands) of investors will show up, get into a bidding war over many of the properties and drive prices WAY higher than they should be (note: this is part of why I’ve never been a huge fan of tax sale auctions).

If you want to pursue this strategy – here’s how you can get started:

Step 1: Verify that you can actually collect excess proceeds in your state (use the map above as a starting point – but verify its accuracy with a third-party professional before you get started).

Step 2: Get a delinquent tax list. There are a few ways to do this (another of which is described here).

Step 3: Send out a direct mail campaign (preferably, a few months from the foreclosure date – when motivated sellers are most motivated to unload their property for next-to-nothing prices).

Step 4: Send out offers for as low as possible and buy as many as you can (preferably – ones that are actually desirable).

IMPORTANT: You should NOT pay off the delinquent tax balance during your purchase process (you will most likely have to accept a Quit Claim Deed rather than a Warranty Deed for the property).

Step 5: Play the waiting game until the property has been foreclosed by the county and sold and the tax sale.

Step 6: File a claim for the excess proceeds with the County Treasurer / Tax Collector (follow the applicable rules/process in your state).

Closing Thoughts

Pursuing Excess Proceeds as a business offers some pros and cons. All are important to weigh in your decision on whether or not to add this strategy to your real estate investing repertoire.


  • This strategy requires minimal effort on the selling side (and if selling is something you absolutely hate – this may influence your decision).
  • There can be some HUGE upside potential if & when the stars align in your favor (and they seriously need to align in your favor in order to achieve the best possible outcome).


  • This is a unique approach to real estate investing in that it creates a major lack of control in the selling process.
  • There is the very real possibility that you will earn nothing in the end – which means you’ll lose not only your money (which hopefully won’t be very much), but you’ll also lose your time as well (which, in my mind, is worth a lot more).
  • Waiting to collect on tax sale overages requires a lot of sitting, waiting & hoping for results that usually have a 50/50 chance (on average) of panning out favorably. If you’re the kind of person who needs control and immediate results, this approach will probably drive you insane.
  • Collecting excess proceeds isn’t something you can do in all 50 states – so if you’ve already got a property that you want to “roll the dice” on with this strategy, you’d better hope it’s not in the wrong part of the country.

Want To Learn More?

I’ll be honest – I haven’t spent a lot of time dabbling in this area of investing because I can’t handle the mind-numbingly slow pace and the complete lack of control over the process – it drives me crazy. With that being said, I still know there is a lot of money to be made in this arena, it’s just not the primary niche that I’ve chosen to pursue myself.

Jack BoschIf this sounds like a business opportunity you want to dive into (or at least learn more about) – I know of one guy who has created a full-blown course around this specific kind of system. His name is Jack Bosch and he has explored this realm in great detail. I have been through a couple of his courses in the past and have found his methods to be highly effective and legitimate money-making strategies that work extremely well (seriously – I’ve got some big checks to prove it). If you want to learn about his system for collecting hidden tax sale cash, you can find out more through this affiliate link (if you sign up through this link, will earn a commission at no extra cost to you).

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About the author

Seth Williams is a land investor with hundreds of closed transactions and nearly a decade of experience in the commercial real estate banking industry. He is also the Founder of - a real estate investing blog that offers real-world guidance for part-time real estate investors.

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  1. Tate says:

    Alsome post Seth.. I actually might be using this one a property i have. Thanks!

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks Tate, I’m glad you dig it!

  2. Eve says:

    Never thought about this niche, nice article.

    With the marketing I have done in land in the last couple of months, I have found my state have real high property tax rate which makes it hard to acquire. 90% of the motivated sellers have situations like this: their land appraisal value is only 3000-5000 while the late taxes is above 1000. The owner only wants a few hundreds for their land, but even with that, the deal is tight. I am start wondering should I start looking at the lower property tax state. Your thoughts?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Eve, I’ve run into this before too – it could be that you just need to target property owners who aren’t quite as close to their foreclosure date. If you go after people who are a few months away from their drop-dead date, you’re much more likely to see tax balances that kill the deal. However, if you target people who are only 1 year behind, or even just a few months behind (rather than 2 or 3 years), you’ll probably find that there is a much larger spread for you to make a profit. In my experience, it usually has less to do with the state I’m working in and more to do with contacting property owners at the right time.

      Food for thought anyway.

      1. Daniel Gutierrez says:

        I see there is a huge potential in helping folks recover what’s owed to them plus make a few earned dollars.

  3. No Nonsense Landlord says:

    Why not just sell it yourself? If the county can get $40K, you should be able to sell for $40K. Or are the underlying mortgages extinguished with the tax sale?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      The answer is twofold:

      1. Yes – underlying mortgages are extinguished with the tax sale
      2. If you want to collect the excess proceeds, the county will do all the “selling work” for you (advertising, listing, closing, etc.) – you just collect the cash after the fact (assuming there is anything leftover for you).

      But to your point… selling it yourself does give you much more control over the process. Personally – I wouldn’t go this route with a property unless it was REALLY tough to sell. I think in most cases, selling it yourself is probably in your best interests.

      1. Andrew says:

        Aren’t the other lien holders, 1st, 2nd mtg. holders able to get the excess funds before the owner??

        1. Seth Williams says:

          Hi Andrew – that’s a good question. I can’t say for sure (because I honestly don’t know), though it would make sense to me if the answer was “Yes” (since they did have a claim to the property). The properties that I typically deal with (vacant land) usually don’t have any liens or mortgages on them in the first place – just the tax foreclosure, so it isn’t something I’ve encountered very often in my business.

          1. MarZia RiVera says:

            Hello Andrew and Seth,
            You will need to check with the individual county and state but i have discovered when there is a mortgage and other RECORD liens the county has a process for them to be collected first. Again check with the county of interest, but usually there is a time period in which the country holds the overages so that the Lien holders can collect, after this time period the owner may collect any overages remaining.

          2. Seth Williams says:

            Thanks for sharing Marzia!

          3. Rhaz says:

            While reading over lightly the laws for SC & GA, the line or motgage holders will get their share before what is left goes to the buyer (us). I haven’t read through it all but that was made clear rather soon in their laws.

          4. Judy says:

            The mortgage holder will have priority.

      2. No One says:

        What? How would the underlying mortgage be extinguished? The bank is who pays the property taxes. If the mortgage owner can’t pay, the bank will foreclose and sell the house themselves. This whole thing makes no sense.

        1. If nobody pays the taxes (be in the bank or the private owner), the county can seize the property and wipe out any/all other parties on title (including mortgage holders). The mortgage holder can lose their collateral if those taxes aren’t paid. This is part of the reason behind escrow accounts (so banks can collect the money along with the borrower’s mortgage payment and make sure the taxes are being paid on time each year) and it’s why a lot of lenders will constantly monitor the property taxes on all of the properties they have mortgages against, to make sure the tax situation is staying in check.

  4. Eve says:

    Hi Seth,
    Agentpro doesn’t provide the delinquent list indicating how many years the owner is behind the taxes, does it?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Eve, it all depends on which county & state you are looking in. Every county is a little bit different in the quantity and quality of information they provide to the general public (which AgentPro then pulls from) – I don’t think it’s terribly common to see precisely how far behind they are, but it’s more common to at least find a “Yes” or “No” answer to whether they are delinquent in the first place. Does that make sense?

  5. hayley says:

    This happened to my family! There was $7,000 left over after the property sale of our land, but I am wondering HOW we go about claiming it? Or at least getting the process started? Do we contact the appraisal district? ( It is in Grimes county, Texas )

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Hayley, that’s a good question. I honestly don’t know how the process works in Texas, but if you do some searching and calling around, I’m sure you can probably find the answer somewhere else. Good luck!

    2. Note Dashboard says:


      You can also try the County Tax Assesor. In Grimes county their number is 936-873-4465

    3. Jason Arms says:

      Did you ever find out how to claim your excess funds?

      1. Seth Williams says:

        Not in my state, no. Apparently it’s not allowed in my part of the country.

      2. John Free says:

        I can and Have collected on anything, if you wanna call or email me,I am a paralegal, also.

        1. Helen says:

          Are you in Texas, if so, can you help me? I’m having a hard time with the new law that limits lawyer fees to $1000. Haven’t found anyone to take it on. What can I do?

          1. Seth Williams says:

            Hi Helen, unfortunately I’m not in Texas. Sorry I can’t be of more help here!

        2. Tammy Archer says:

          I have a question about a tax sale on piece of property I own in Georgia that the county has sold and holds my excess funds. Can you please call me at 6786182852.

        3. Douglas Grover says:

          John, can you give a little detail to the comment “I have and can collect on anything”. I want to talk to someone who has actually received finder fees for this service and have recovered overages for a client.

          1. Terry says:

            That’s the process I want to find out, charging a fee to get former mortgage owner overage money they are due that is held by a county from a property sold at a tax sale.

        4. Indira Edwards says:


          How do I get started on a tax excess collection business in Georgia?

          1. Mary pegues says:

            Purchase a tax delinquent list or call tax collectors office. I need to know how do I get the overage or excess fund list

          2. Angel P says:

            Did you ever find out how to claim overage as a business in georgia? Most say a third party can not collect on behalf of the owner unless you’re an attorney.

        5. Richard says:

          What state are you in?

  6. Curtis Lewis says:

    Hello Seth, how are you? How recent is this post? Are you still in the excess funds business?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hey Curtis! This post is almost exactly a year old now (published on June 23, 2014). I’ve never been huge into the excess proceeds business, mainly because I took a lot of time to understand how it really works before jumping into it in my area, and I learned that it doesn’t work all that well in my state.

      That’s not to say it can’t work elsewhere (because I’m sure it can) – but in my situation, I didn’t find it to be all that pliable with my existing business.

  7. Alex says:

    Hi Seth
    if property is purchase is closed after tax sale, but before 1 year redemption period is over buyer can still claim overage, right?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Alex. I don’t understand your question – can you rephrase that? The answer also depends on what state you’re working in, as every state has different rules on this.

      1. Alex says:

        Some states have a delinquent tax sale, then 1 year of redemption time .
        If a delinquent tax property is sold during this 1 year redemption period,
        the buyer can still claim overage, even though the buyer was not the delinquent tax property owner at the tax sale time, right?

        1. Seth Williams says:

          Hi Alex – I’m sorry. I’ve read your question a few times now and I still don’t follow what you’re saying.

          As the article above explains, not every state allows the original owner to claim these excess proceeds, so it would depend on which state you’re working in and what the rules in that state allow.

        2. Alan says:

          Alex, no. The tax sale happens first followed by a redemption period. During the redemption period the property owner (the one foreclosed on) can buy back the property for the auction sales price less taxes plus interest and fees. That’s not what this is about. What this is about: After the tax sale and all the taxes and fees are paid, and there is money left over (overage) the owner (the one foreclosed on) can collect on that overage, not the buyer at the tax sale. The business opportunity is you contacting the foreclosed owner and for a fee you act and collect the overage on his/her behalf. The owner get’s the overage minus your fee. Jack Bosch has a program on this opportunity.

          1. Alan says:

            Alex, In the first part of my previous statement I should have said that the property owner can buy back the property for the auction price plus interest and fees. Not less the taxes owed.

  8. Sue says:

    Hi Seth,
    I have collected my excess proceeds and I want to know is it taxable?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      I’m not sure – you’d have to ask your accountant.

  9. ron boren says:

    I’m in LA county, CA. I understand CA takes a while to pay on a claim.
    What states are best; still good profits and timely too, with no big drawbacks?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Ron – that’s a great question. Unfortunately, I haven’t done enough of this to have a good answer for you… but you could start with the states that allow it (as noted by the map above) and be sure to avoid the ones that don’t, as you’ll only be wasting your time and money in those areas if this is your end goal. Good luck!

  10. Victor H. says:

    Hello. I received a letter noting excess funds on a property sold at auction in the state of Texas where I was an heir to. Can I handle this on my own by available forms or do we need to get a lawyer involved? Or if no other involvement is necessary, is there a link to forms needed to take care of receiving those funds for the state of Texas. Thanks for your help! 🙂

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Victor – cool! I’ve never been through the process in Texas, but in most areas, I believe you can handle it on your own IF you can figure out what paperwork needs to be filled out. I’ve got a blog post talking about the process here (you probably won’t find the specific instructions you’re looking for, but it might give you some perspective on how it works). You can find it here:

    2. John Freeland says:

      “Won’t find the specific instructions.. “I do have all the necessary forms and only charge a nominal fee or percent of funds, We have a group of paralegals here that do this regularly.
      freelandegroup2 , at gmail

  11. John Free says:

    You might be able to do it yourself if you have the forms, we use.

  12. Jackie says:

    Received a letter today (7/5/16) from “GLOBAL DISCOVERIES, LTD” in reference to our son.
    stated company recently discovered money that our son is entitled to claim and their company
    specializes in locating lost and unclaimed assets and helping clients recover those assets. No
    risk or money is involved as they work on contingency fee basis for percentage of funds recovered.

    Do you think this is legit….our son has nothing we can think of where he is due any money. He
    has been sick and recovering from lung cancer and only thing we can think of is a home he owned that was lost to foreclosure or tax auction…not sure as he lived in another state and
    did not provide details only that he lost his home?? Don’t want to mention letter to him until
    we know it is no hoax…letter was addressed to his father at our address and stated it was to
    let us know our son (used his full name) could be entitled to “unclaimed assets” .
    THANKS, jackie

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Jackie, I can’t say for sure (as it depends on the company that contacted you), but it could be. I actually looked pretty closely at this type of business before – and there is a surprising number of people in the world with unclaimed funds they don’t know about. If your son really does have unclaimed funds out there, you or he could probably find it on your own… but if you’ve never done it before, the process can be a little confusing (which is why these people may have some value to bring to the table… if they know what they’re doing – they can make the process easy… but they’ll also take a cut from the money too). As long as it doesn’t cost you anything, I can’t see the harm in contacting them to find out more. Just be careful and don’t give out any sensitive information without first getting some verifiable evidence of what the situation is.

      Good luck!

  13. Cynthia Blakely says:

    Omg that I left my comment, guess not. Anyway, my aunt was left the home of my grandparents appeox 7 or 8 years ago when the last one passed away. I have just learned the past 2 weeks that my aunt, now elderly, has never put title in her name nor paid any property taxes whatsoever. She never asked any family members to assist or we would have. And now that I’m aware of this much do I just move on in the house and squat lol? Repairs are needed now and I will also pay the overdue taxes if allowed to make monthly payments. I am a fairly recent amputee with limited income from ss disability but definitely do able if taxes can be made into payments til caught up. It has not appeared to be listed as a tax lien as of yet and am just panicked to just learn of this when I could have avoided this a while ago. I am in Texas and hope that u can help me with any info u may have and asap please. Thanking u in advance. Cindy B

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Cynthia, thanks for your comment! Your situations sounds fairly complex and I’m not sure I’m understanding all the details from your explanation (and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t be qualified to give you advice on this). You might consider talking to an attorney in your area for some ideas on what to do… a lot of attorneys will give you a free 30 minute consultation, so it may be worth a few calls to find one who is willing to help you out in this way.

      Sorry I can’t be of more help here. Best of luck!

  14. Robert Burkett says:

    People this don’t work…. Waste of time, keep your day jobs, TRUST ME….-R-

  15. Stacy Sample says:

    I am actually in the process of requesting excess funds for property my husband and I were purchasing and fell into some financial hardships and it was sold at a tax sale. I have a question for you if you don’t mind telling me if you had heard of our situation.

    We are in Texas and had a piece of land (no house on it) and we fell into a financial hardship. We had a balloon payment, could not pay it and the bank would not refinance. We stopped paying on the mortgage attempting to refinance the balloon….no luck. We basically found ourselves telling the bank to just take it back. In all that time, the bank never actually foreclosed (land prices dropped a lot and I guess they did not feel it was worth the trouble) and they also never paid the taxes on the property. We never paid the taxes either. The property went to a tax sale. The taxes owed were just over $5K. The property sold for $22K. Apparently we were notified of the overages around two years ago but I never remember seeing the notice OR did not understand what I was looking at. The bank has not made any attempt to get the funds even after two years. I found out the money is still there at the clerks office in Comal County and the window to collect it closes after the first of the year in 2017.

    The clerk told me what papers to file and wrote them up myself. I realized we had to notify the bank of our intentions, which we did. The court set a date for a hearing in October and of course the bank was notified of the hearing. IF they never foreclosed, paid the taxes AND never tried to get the excess funds up to this point…..if all of a sudden they show up at this hearing, do I have any standing against them to claim the funds? Any advice?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Stacy, wow – that sounds like an exciting situation. Honestly, I’ve never been in your shoes before (nor have I known anyone in that situation), so I couldn’t give you any solid advice about what kind of power or standing you have against the bank… I just don’t know enough about how the law works in Texas.

      It might be worth you while to talk to an attorney (preferably, a free 30 minute prospect call with one) to run the facts past them and get their input on what you can/should do. Even if it comes at a small cost, it sounds like the cost might be worth it if you’re able to cash in on this unique situation.

      I wish you all the best!

      1. Stacy Sample says:

        Hey Seth I meant to tell you I drew up all the paperwork myself with help from online sources and we got a court date last November. We showed up and had the local tax assessor dispute our legal right to the money due to statute. The judge looked at everything and asked the assessor if the money was still in the counties account (which it was). The assessor told the judge it was. The judge asked him if we were to have been there before the statute ran if we he would have allowed the funds to be distributed to us and the assessor said yes. The judge said then “why not now? They are here and they are the rightful owners to the money”. The judge also reminded that the county did not do their part either by dispersing the funds to other sources when the statute ran out. Basically the judge ordered the $16K to be distributed to us since the county never did anything with it. He saw I wrote up all the necessary documents myself. The judge signed the decision and we got our money two weeks later. 🙂 Just wanted you to know the outcome.

        1. Stacy Sample says:

          Sorry the court date was October not November.

  16. greg says:

    It would be very grateful if I could get a hand on the letters/forms you use…

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Greg – I’m not sure what forms you’re referring to?

  17. Karla says:

    Hi, quick question? I will have to have the owner deed the property to me before the trustees sale to received excess proceeds.
    Is there any possibility for me to do something after. I have a case like that?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Karla – to the best of my knowledge, you would have to be the titled owner before, not after (but as always – there can be weird nuances from state to state… if you want to be 100% sure, you’d have to talk to a legal professional in your area). Good luck!

  18. Diana says:

    Hi, quick question! I reside in NY. Is it possible for me to claim the tax sale overages in different states?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Diana – you can claim sale overages (assuming you have rights to them) in some states, but not all. It just depends on which state the property is in, and whether there are any overages to collect.

  19. John says:

    Hi Seth- How do I figure out who was the last owner of the property before it went for tax sale auction? I have come across the deeds- and it seems like the mortgage was sold to other various companies once they got acquired by other prominent ones.

    What is the best way to get to the last owner of property before it went to tax auction?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi John, you might want to pull a title search to find out what the previous ownership was… or sometimes you can also find ownership histories through services like AgentPro247 too:

  20. Albert says:

    Current Holder of real property in Ohio that had foreclosure overage back in 2002 from previous owner foreclosure case. Monies went to Treasurers office. Approx. four thousand dollars sitting there since 2002. Do I as the current holder of this property have any claim to these funds, I believe previous owner is deceased.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hmm, good question. Seems like it would belong to the heirs of the previous owner (if anyone).

  21. Alex Ebert says:

    Hi folks, I’m a reporter with Bloomberg BNA looking into property tax foreclosure cases in Michigan that involve excess proceeds on the sales. I’d love to speak with anyone in this comment section that has experience with the procedures Seth is speaking about here. As Seth indicates, Michigan doesn’t return excess proceeds and property owners are suing to get that excess saying denying them the amount of their debt violates the state and federal constitutions. Feel free to give me a call at 571-302-0959.

  22. bob digger says:

    how do I find the forms needed to file a claim for overages?

    1. Hi Bob – these are usually state-specific forms, and I’m not sure of any single central place where you can find them all. You’ll probably want to try calling the county office where the overage funds are located and see if they can give you any direction.

  23. Gilbert says:

    I am in San Diego and I found this about assigning rights to excess proceeds:
    Any person or entity who in any way acts on behalf of, or in place of, any party of interest with respect to filing a claim for any excess proceeds shall submit proof with the claim that the amount and source of excess proceeds have been disclosed to the party of interest and that the party of interest has been advised of his or her right to file a claim for the excess proceeds on his or her own behalf directly with the county at no cost

    Does this mean I would have to show them how much they are entitled to and where to find the money before they assign their rights to me?

    How do you say to a person I know where you have $100k and for $40k i will get it for you? Why would anyone owed this money take such a discount?

    1. You wouldn’t necessarily have to take such a huge chunk. For $5K – $10K, you could still get paid pretty well and give them a compelling reason to work with you. Also, knowing where to get the excess proceeds isn’t the same as knowing how to claim them (some counties do a very poor job of ushering people through this process). If you’re the expert, they may be happy to work with you simply because you’re able to make a difficult (or seemingly impossible) process easy for them.

  24. German says:

    Hi Seth,
    First off, just want to say thank you for this blog. I’m in the process of taking the first few steps to get my wholesale business going and your blog has definitely given me the confidence to finally move forward and eliminate all the BS excuses I’ve been making the last few years. With that said, I am wanting to target the tax delinquent list through the county first. I called them and asked for this list using the 4 different terms you use on your post regarding this topic but they kept insisting that what I needed to do was register to get be able to buy tax liens. I kept trying to tell them that I wasn’t trying to purchase tax liens but rather obtain a list of properties/people who were behind on their taxes before they even became a tax lien sale or went into tax foreclosure but they insisted I needed to register to obtain a CD of properties that still hadn’t sold yet.. I felt like we were speaking different languages. Can you give me some guidance as to how to clear up the miscommunication and ask for what I need so they understand? Any advice or tips would be super helpful. Thanks again for all that you do!

    1. Hi German. Yeah, what you’re experiencing isn’t terribly uncommon. Sometimes the best solution is to just hang up and keep calling until someone else picks up the phone (someone who is actually willing to listen and understand what you’re asking for). You could also try calling someone from the IT department at the county, usually, they’re more familiar with the existence of this list and how to generate a current copy for you.

      If all else fails, you could just try calling a different county and/or using a service like DataTree instead, like I explain in this blog post:

      I know this process can definitely be frustrating, but it’s worth all the effort when you finally start getting some amazing deals under contract.

      Good luck!

  25. Larry says:

    The foreclosing attorney has sent me documents to fill out including a w-9 aka w9 irs tax form. Do I have to pay taxes on a tax sale excess proceeds???

  26. Kris says:

    What happens if the property value is less that the tax liability. Does heirs who have abandoned the property have to make up the deficit?

    1. In that case, it sounds like it’s more the county’s problem than anyone else’s (because they’ve got an asset they won’t be able to sell for enough to recoup their lost tax revenue).

  27. David Kochevar says:

    Does Indiana ie lake county give back excess MONEY to home owner from tax sales

    1. I’m not sure David. You’d have to call the county office and see how their system works.

  28. Gerry Cadena says:

    Question – county does not want to give out list.

    1. I’ve encountered this PLENTY of times, so I understand the frustration. Plan A would be to try contacting a few other people within the county (try the Treasurer/Tax Collector, Assessor or the IT department). If you’ve talked to 5 different people and you still can’t get it, I would move on to a different county. It’s always worth a good hard try, but it’s not worth beating the issue to death. Plan B is to keep trying other counties until you find one that will work with you.

  29. Clarence Blackett says:

    What forms do u need to collect surplus funds for someone else

    1. Those forms usually vary by state, so you’d have to check with the county/state department in the state where you’re working.

  30. Nick says:

    I would like to add that you can also use this strategy with mortgage foreclosures and there lots of opportunity out there in this niche as well. I learned this on a youtube channel called the overage syndicate

    1. That’s great to know Nick, thanks for sharing!

  31. No One says:

    So this would only work for properties that are owned outright. Most properties are owned by the bank, and the bank pays the taxes, to the house would never get auctioned, it would get foreclosed by the bank who would resell it. Are there that many properties around that are owned free and clear and are getting foreclosed by their respective city? Wouldn’t you think that someone who owns property outright, and who can’t pay the taxes, would just go ahead and sell themselves?

    1. Approximately 37% of all properties in the US are owned free and clear (source). And yes, any rational person would pay their taxes if they owned it… but there are plenty of outlier situations where the taxes are ignored or forgotten about. This happens a lot with properties that are inherited by heirs who have no interest in property ownership.

  32. Tamera Moreland says:

    If u are the owner of a foreclosed property from the State. How do you petition the court for overages from the sale.

    1. Most states have some standard paperwork you have to fill out, and a time period you have to wait to get the money. I would start by contacting the Treasurer in your county to see if they can provide any information on how to do this.

  33. Lee Sugai says:

    Interested in overages from tax sales and forclosures.

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