2017 Realauction Frequently Asked QuestionsTax Lien Auction
As a bidder, what is required of me?
It is the responsibility of the bidder:
1) To be completely familiar with the pertinent tax certificate sections of the Maryland Statutes.
2) To research each item thoroughly before bidding.
3) To know all deposit, registration or payment deadlines if applicable.
All bids placed, whether intentional or not, are the responsibility of the bidder.
What is a Tax Lien?
A tax lien is a lien representing unpaid real estate taxes, assessments, penalties, advertising costs, fees and other charges that are statutory liens on the property. If the property owner fails to pay these charges during a specified period of time, the county government will hold a tax sale and sell tax lien certificates to investors to recoup the delinquent charges.
Where can I find more information about tax liens and certificate auctions?
Delinquent taxes, tax liens and the sale of tax certificates at public auction are administered by the County Tax Collectors and provided for in Section 14 of the Tax-Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
It is the bidder's responsibility to know the law governing these sales prior to participating in an auction.
What equipment and software will I need?
In order to participate, bidders must have a computer with access to the Internet. There is no special hardware or software needed.
Realauction supports the latest two production versions of Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox browsers. No other web browsers are supported.
Please visit the bidding rules page for information regarding public access in Harford County.
Is training available for the auction software and how do I get it?
Live webinar bidder training classes will be held via the Internet once a week for several weeks prior to the close of the auction. The classes generally last about 2 hours and cover use of the web site only.
Attendance is by registration only. Please click Here for additional information on upcoming classes or you may contact Realauction Customer Service at (877) 361-7325.
What is a Batch?
In order to make the bidding process more manageable, liens are divided into groups called batches. A batch is a grouping of properties with outstanding tax liens that are offered individually, at auction, during a pre-specified time slot.
How much does it cost to participate? Is the Registration Fee refundable?
In Maryland, a registration fee may be required to participate in the tax sale auction. The amount of the registration fee varies by county and may or may not be applied toward winning bids. Depending on the county, the fee may or may not be refundable.
Please visit the bidding rules page for registration fee requirements in Harford County.
What is a Budget?
All bidders are required to create a budget prior to placing bids. In Harford County, the budget limits the amount you can win based on the whole bid amount. It does NOT affect the amount of money that will be due at the close of the auction. At the close of the auction, the successful bidder will be debited for the face amount of all successful bids. As each item closes, if a bidder does not have sufficient budget to cover the cost of the item, the bid will not be counted.
Please visit the bidding rules page for budget requirements in Harford County.
How do I pay for my registration fee and liens purchased?
Payment methods vary for each county. Generally, the registration fee and final payment are made via ACH (electronic check).
For counties that utilize ACH transactions for the registration fee and payment, funds transfers will be made electronically on this web site. ACH registration fees should be submitted early so input errors can be corrected prior to the due date. If you are a successful bidder at the close of the auction, final payment will be automatically deducted from the bank account used to submit the registration fee.
Wire transfers, cash, cashier’s checks and money orders may also be accepted, however, these forms of payments must be delivered to the proper Tax Collector's office in the time allotted.
ACH transactions generated on this site will include two (2) authorizations – one for the registration fee and one for the automatic debit of your final payment at the close of the auction.
Depending on the county, wire transfers, cash, cashier’s checks, or money orders may also be accepted. These forms of payments must be delivered to the designated Treasurer’s office in the time allotted.
Some banks may charge a fee for handling a wire transaction. This is especially prevalent for international wires. It is the bidder’s responsibility to add additional funds to the amount wired to ensure full payment reaches the Tax Collector’s account in the time allotted.
It is the bidder’s responsibility to make all deposits and payments in the time specified using the payment method(s) permitted. There are NO exceptions.
Please visit the bidding rules page for the registration fee / payment methods permitted in Harford County.
When does the auction start and end? How does the auction work?
The auction web site generally opens for registration, submitting registration fees, research and in some cases preliminary bidding three to four weeks prior to the official auction date. On the day of the auction, bids are submitted and made official.
The auction officially begins at the time and date announced by each county. Batches will close at specified intervals (different per county) until all batches have been complete. In some counties, a supplemental batch will be created to reoffer any items that were not awarded.
If you are “live” on your computer on the day of the sale, you will be able to view your winnings at the close of each batch. You may adjust your bids for any batches that have not yet closed.
Please visit the bidding rules page for the auction dates, times and options in Harford County.
How does the bidding work?
Auction participants enter their highest acceptable bid for the property. Bids may be entered as either a percentage of the Assessed Value or as a dollar amount.
At the close of each batch, the auction software evaluates all bids and the lien is awarded to the bidder with the highest bid.
It is the bidder’s responsibility to research liens prior to placing bids.
What is a proxy bid auction? What is a direct bid auction?
Direct Bids - In a direct bid auction, participants enter their highest acceptable bid for an item. If you are the highest bidder, you will be awarded the lien/certificate at the price entered. The system will not enter competitive bids on your behalf.
Proxy Bids - In a proxy bid auction, participants enter their highest acceptable bid for an item. The auction system monitors all other bids and enters competitive bids on your behalf at one bid increment greater than the next highest bid. The system stops entering bids on your behalf when you either win the auction or your maximum bid is reached.
In Maryland, most counties utilize a direct bid style auction.
Please visit the bidding rules page to determine the bidding style used in Harford County.
What happens if I exhaust my budget while I still have active bids?
Any bids remaining will NOT be placed.
Can other participants see my bids?
The county specifies whether or not the high bid is displayed prior to the close of the auction. If displayed, this is known as an “open” auction. After placing bids, the bidder must refresh the bid page to see the Current High Bid.
Please visit the bidding rules page to determine if high bids are displayed in Harford County.
What happens in case of a tie bid?
There are no tie bids. All bids entered must exceed the current high bid by at least one bid increment.
What happens if I don’t pay for successful bids?
If the successful bidder fails to pay for liens purchased for any reason, the deposit shall be forfeited, all bids canceled and future bidding privileges may be revoked.
All bids placed, whether intentional or not, are the responsibility of the bidder.
The auction is closed, what happens next?
Successful bidders will receive an email with an accounting of their winnings. Certificates issued for tax liens that were not sold during the auction are struck to the County and may be available for purchase from the Treasurer’s office once the auction is closed and balanced.
How do I contact Customer Service?
Click Here for Customer Service
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