The following information comes from Hennepin County:
Open houses for eight of the properties up for sale at the Hennepin County Tax-forfeited Land Auction will be hosted between Tuesday, Nov. 6 and Tuesday, Nov. 20.
The Tax-forfeited Land Auction will be Friday, Dec. 7.
The open houses are for all properties that include structures – including four single-family houses and two double bungalows/duplexes in Minneapolis, and two single-family houses in Maple Grove and Richfield.
Information on the auction and all properties for sale, including the open-house schedule, is available online. Details on the properties include virtual tours, so you can see what the homes look like, what condition they are in, special features and more.
Other properties for sale at the auction include 14 vacant lots in Minneapolis, six large commercial lots in Brooklyn Park and six vacant lots in Hanover.
“These properties can be a good bargain for the right buyer,” said Mark Chapin, director of county Taxpayer Services, which oversees the county’s Tax-forfeited Land Program and conducts the auctions. “Many of the properties are vacant lots – some may be suitable for building, and some have substantial acreage."
Chapin cautions buyers that many of these properties are in poor condition and are sold "as is." Bidders are encouraged to go to the website and thoroughly investigate each property before bidding, including consulting a real-estate attorney and the city in which the property is located for zoning and building conditions.
Chapin said people often confuse mortgage foreclosure – in which an owner fails to make their mortgage payments and is foreclosed on by their lender; and tax forfeiture – in which the owner fails to pay their property taxes.
"Foreclosure is a process between you and your bank," Chapin explained. “Tax forfeiture is a process between the property taxpayer and the state, which holds the properties in trust; and the county, which administers the land on behalf of the state."
The big difference is that foreclosure can happen very quickly, but tax forfeiture takes a long time – sometimes years – primarily because the county works very hard to help owners arrange payment for their taxes, according to Chapin.
“We don’t want to see people lose their land,” Chapin said, “and the county gains nothing by ending up with these properties. Empty, boarded houses; vacant, unkempt lots; and deteriorating commercial buildings are an eyesore and the first sign of blight in neighborhoods. It’s expensive for the county to maintain them, and they affect property values and encourage unwanted criminal activity and vandalism."
The Tax-forfeited Land Auction on Friday, Dec. 7 begins at 9 a.m. in the A Level Auditorium of the Hennepin County Government Center (300 S. Sixth Street) in downtown Minneapolis.
Registration for bidders starts at 8:15 a.m. Bidders are encouraged to read as much as possible about the auction process and the properties before they come to bid. Bidders must bring a valid photo ID and certified funds for earnest money in the amount specified for the particular property. Properties are sold “as is” – they may be damaged or need a lot of work. Some have unclear titles and assessments or may no longer conform to building and zoning ordinances. All sales are final.
For further information on the auctions, visit the website, contact Taxpayer Services at 612-348-3734, or come to the offices on the sixth floor of the Administrative Tower in the Hennepin County Government Center between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on week days.