WIUM Tristates Public Radio

SE Iowa Tax Sales Bring in Investors

Jun 20, 2014

Des Moines and Lee Counties were able to recover plenty of late property taxes thanks to their recent tax sales.  The sales are held the third Monday in June each year. 

Deputy Treasurer Jeanne Cooper said a home, building or lot ends up in the sale because owners failed to pay the property taxes on time. 

She says they were "sold" during the tax sale to someone who agreed to pay the late property taxes.

Cooper says that money will be distributed to the various governmental bodies that are entitled to it, be it a school board or city council.

She said if the original property owner comes in and pays the taxes they owe, they do not risk losing the property.

Instead, Cooper said the money is returned to the purchaser plus any interest accrued, which is paid by the original property owner.

She said if the original property owner chooses not to pay the taxes, the purchaser at the sale can fully acquire the property in less than three years.

Cooper says the sale is not over, either, as there are still hundreds of properties available.

Credit tspr.org

"I can have what we call an adjourned tax sale. These bidders can come in again if they wish, they do not have to pre-register for that part again, but if they still want to pick up anything that was still not picked up they can," said Cooper.

Cooper said potential buyers can take another look at the properties for no additional cost after 60 days.

So far, Des Moines and Lee Counties have collected more than $1 million worth of property taxes through the sales.