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Old 08-03-2018, 02:44 PM
 
12 posts, read 4,245 times
Reputation: 15

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Currently, I'm in the market for a small rural lot in Arkansas and I want to get the best possible price. I'm particularly looking for something in Sharp County. Just looking on zillow and other real estate websites, I can't find anything out of town for less than $3,000. I have found a shady looking websites selling 0.3 acre lots in the area for $500 (GGAssests.com) but I'm not entirely sure how to verify the legitimacy of it.

Recently I came across cosl.org/postauction.aspx which is the website for Commissioner of Lands in Arkansas. In Sharp County alone there are like a hundred properties which are apparently delinquent on taxes, they were put through an auction and no one purchased them. They even list the total amount of back taxes owed, which is typically around $150. Some of the lots have been sitting for over 2 years unsold and apparently the Commissioner of Lands will consider any offer, even if it's below the amount of back taxes. You just have to mail in the form with the total payment and see if they accept it.

My first thought was "is it really that easy?" And "why weren't these properties purchased in the tax auction or for all these years?" I can't travel to look at them at the moment but I simply want a lot out of town in Sharp County to park my campervan on, there isn't much that could be wrong with it for my use. Does anyone have experience buying a post-auction property from the Commissioner of Lands? Say it's a 0.3-acre lot and the back taxes are $250 total, what would be considered an offer that has a fair chance of acceptance by the Commissioner of Lands?

And beyond that, why are there lots for sale for $5,000+ that are equivalent to some of these tax delinquent ones? Is that all profit margin or am I missing something?
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Old 08-04-2018, 11:01 AM
 
Location: SE corner of the Ozark Redoubt
2,116 posts, read 625,203 times
Reputation: 2025
Something doesn't look right.

I could be way out in left field on this (since I don't do internet full time),
but in my experience, Government web sites should not be .org sites,
even if they are linked to from inside of a government web site.

Site doesn't look like it is registered to the government.
https://www.mydomain.com/whois/whois.bml
Registered through someone in Canada, last updated June 9th
Quote:
Registrant Organization: Data Protected
Registrant Street: 123 Data Protected
Registrant City: Toronto
Registrant State/Province: ON
Registrant Postal Code: M6K 3M1
Registrant Country: CA

Last edited by TRex2; 08-04-2018 at 11:19 AM..
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Old 08-04-2018, 12:05 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
69,278 posts, read 79,469,982 times
Reputation: 38646
Quote:
Originally Posted by TRex2 View Post
Something doesn't look right.

I could be way out in left field on this (since I don't do internet full time),
but in my experience, Government web sites should not be .org sites,
even if they are linked to from inside of a government web site.

Site doesn't look like it is registered to the government.
https://www.mydomain.com/whois/whois.bml
Registered through someone in Canada, last updated June 9th
I too would be very suspicious. Usually the government is .gov I think, but regardless, even though there are good deals to be found and the OP has asked about lots on another thread, it is better to be safe than sorry. No buying sight unseen and no thinking because it is super cheap it is a good deal. What is the old saying: If it to good to be true, it isn't. Or you get what you pay for.
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Old 08-04-2018, 12:18 PM
 
12 posts, read 4,245 times
Reputation: 15
It is odd that it's a .org but it is a legitimate website. You can find the link directly on Arkansas.gov: https://portal.arkansas.gov/agency/c...f-state-lands/

Also, they have you mail your offer directly to the Commissioner of Lands in Little Rock. I'm definitely not going to purchase any lot without going to look at it, but before I go out there I'm trying to understand the process of post-auction sales and what a reasonable ballpark offer would be for one of these forgotten little lots. It is very odd to me that these lots haven't been purchased, maybe there is something I'm not considering or maybe the Commissioner of Lands will only consider offers in the thousands of dollars. I'm hoping there is someone on here who has gone through this process that can shed some light on it for me.
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Old 08-04-2018, 01:51 PM
 
Location: SE corner of the Ozark Redoubt
2,116 posts, read 625,203 times
Reputation: 2025
I referred the question about the site name to someone with more expertise than I have, but you are right, it looks legit. Now you got me curious, because I am interested in something similar (in a different county).
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Old 08-04-2018, 03:15 PM
 
Location: SE corner of the Ozark Redoubt
2,116 posts, read 625,203 times
Reputation: 2025
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
I too would be very suspicious. Usually the government is .gov I think, but regardless, even though there are good deals to be found and the OP has asked about lots on another thread, it is better to be safe than sorry. No buying sight unseen and no thinking because it is super cheap it is a good deal. What is the old saying: If it to good to be true, it isn't. Or you get what you pay for.
The guys over in the "Internet" forum (ones whom I trust, somewhat) say government does that sometimes, but no one knows why.

As to the land listings, it appears that, in addition to the back taxes, there may be other liens on the land and also, after the deal is "done" through the state, the previous owner can still come back and file for ownership.

(I can think of one instance, and that would be if the owner was someone covered by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. But I don't know the details of how that would work.)

I think discussing this with an Abstract and Title Lawyer would be a good idea. They would also be the ones you would get insurance through, against the problems listed above.
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Old 08-04-2018, 04:31 PM
 
12 posts, read 4,245 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by TRex2 View Post
The guys over in the "Internet" forum (ones whom I trust, somewhat) say government does that sometimes, but no one knows why.

As to the land listings, it appears that, in addition to the back taxes, there may be other liens on the land and also, after the deal is "done" through the state, the previous owner can still come back and file for ownership.

(I can think of one instance, and that would be if the owner was someone covered by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. But I don't know the details of how that would work.)

I think discussing this with an Abstract and Title Lawyer would be a good idea. They would also be the ones you would get insurance through, against the problems listed above.
Yeah it would be a good idea for them to get a .gov just to avoid confusion.

That is a good point regarding liens, according to cosl.org: "Sales conducted by the Commissioner of State Lands office do not extinguish liens for improvement district assessments, municipal liens, or liens for other "special taxes". Research the land for such encumbrances."
I wonder if this would apply to a lot that is outside of city limits and planned communities. It sounds like the county assessor will have this information if you inquire about a specific parcel.

The real obstacle seems to be turning the limited warranty deed into an actual clear title. Apparently, the land is open for litigation by the previous owner for 90 days. It sounds like if they successfully regain ownership you're out of luck for the money you paid the Commissioner of Lands and any legal costs you incurred.

If it's possible to make it through the legal process of getting a clear title from the limited warranty deed without a lawyer it would probably be worth it, but it does sound relatively complicated and potentially expensive either way. A quiet title action is essentially filing a lawsuit against the previous owner which could involve having to going to court with them. I am beginning to understand why this is mainly done by real estate investors.

There is some good information here:
https://www.arkansaslaw.com/news/201...tate-investors

https://thehardinlawfirm.com/2014/05...itle-arkansas/
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:46 AM
 
266 posts, read 830,737 times
Reputation: 120
COSL.org is a legitimate website. Anything you buy from the COSL is *not* a marketable title, meaning you can't get a Title Company to write Title Insurance without going through a legal process. You need to read the FAQ at Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands

if you are buying within Cherokee Village SID, there are Improvement District fees that you might have to pay. When I last visited CV 10 years ago, there were large areas that had been neglected. I'm not sure that you can put a camper on a lot within the SID, so you should check on that too.

<<why are there lots for sale for $5,000+ that are equivalent to some of these tax delinquent ones? Is that all profit margin or am I missing something?>> Probably because they are on paved roads with water, and SID fees paid up, with "marketable titles".
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Old 08-06-2018, 11:29 AM
 
12 posts, read 4,245 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffAtkins View Post
COSL.org is a legitimate website. Anything you buy from the COSL is *not* a marketable title, meaning you can't get a Title Company to write Title Insurance without going through a legal process. You need to read the FAQ at Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands

if you are buying within Cherokee Village SID, there are Improvement District fees that you might have to pay. When I last visited CV 10 years ago, there were large areas that had been neglected. I'm not sure that you can put a camper on a lot within the SID, so you should check on that too.

<<why are there lots for sale for $5,000+ that are equivalent to some of these tax delinquent ones? Is that all profit margin or am I missing something?>> Probably because they are on paved roads with water, and SID fees paid up, with "marketable titles".
Thanks for the info. Yeah, I will definitely stay out of CV and any SIDs in Sharp County like Ozark Acres due to the strict regulations. It's kind of hilarious how many delinquent lots are in CV.

I am beginning to understand why there is a price discrepancy between a marketable title and what the CoSL is selling even if they're near identical. It turns out that the shady website I mentioned with $500 lots is selling Special Warranty Deeds which were obtained through tax sales, so those titles would be just as cloudy as buying directly from CoSL.

For my use case, I am still considering going through the CoSL. I won't be making any significant improvements to the land and all I really want is the legal right to camp there. If a previous owner were to challenge the tax sale, I would probably just haul my stuff away and cut my losses. They would have to be the one posting notices on the property, mailing me, and going through an expensive uphill legal battle. That would seem unlikely for a 0.4-acre oddball lot in the middle of nowhere.

Also, if I live on the land and pay taxes for two years, apparently the statute of limitation runs out for any jurisdictional defects that the CoSL may have missed. So after two years if I wanted to build a tiny home I could feel secure in knowing that I have strong legal rights to the property and in the off chance my rights were challenged I could defend myself by proving actual possession and use of the land during those years. I could always just spend $3,000 on a property with a marketable title, but that is probably comparable to what I would spend defending the land or filing a suit to quiet title.
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Old 08-06-2018, 12:15 PM
 
Location: SE corner of the Ozark Redoubt
2,116 posts, read 625,203 times
Reputation: 2025
Just want to thank all of those who posted to this thread.
I have similar plans, but didn't even know where to begin.

Now I do.
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