Here are the most popular questions we receive so we would like to address them here:
Do I have to live in Florida or have a business registered in Florida to work with Florida Tax Deed Surplus?
No (and yes). There is a mis-conception that you need to be a lawyer or Private Investigator in Florida to do this work. This is true only if you are performing asset recovery on unclaimed money being held by the state of Florida.
However, the surplus from tax deed auctions is held by each individual county and they are not under the same law where the licensing is concerned.
With that said, it certainly helps if you are a lawyer, private investigator or even a Realtor because you will at least have expertise in certain areas needed.
And although you are not required to have a business license for asset recovery, you should at the very least acquire one. Think about your potential clients. What will they think if you do not have a business license or website? Do you think strangers will trust you?
There will come a time when your client (the person owed the surplus) will need to sign documents and have them notarized, so being able to go in person to them is a big plus. However, unless you live within driving distance, it doesn’t matter if you are 100 miles or 1200 miles from them, the process would be the same. You would need to mail documents to them so they can sign and return them to you. Or, better yet, we highly recommend hiring ‘Mobile Notaries‘ to visit the person.
If Hundreds of Tax Deeds go to auction every week in Florida.. why are there not hundreds of surplus records each week?
We collect records from 38 out of the 67 counties (why only 38? See next FAQ). When the week begins we collect the records from all the tax deeds that are supposed to go to auction that week. From that point on, several things happen that reduce the amount of surplus records we will have at the end of the week:
- Before the auction begins many of the tax deeds are redeemed as people are paying their back taxes before they lose their home so that takes a lot out of the auction.
- During the auction, some of the tax deeds will get no bids and therefore not sell or produce surplus.
- Some of the tax deeds DO sell but for only a small amount over the starting bid. Therefore, not enough in Surplus to go after. We offer records where the surplus is over $1,000
Now we are left with “Tax Deeds that successfully sold AND the winning bid was high enough to produce at least $1,000 in surplus”
Why we do not provide surplus reports for all 67 counties
In order to produce accurate and complete surplus records, we need to know if there are liens or mortgages on the property because those liens are entitled to take the surplus money before the previous owner can.
To find out if there are liens or mortgages on the property, we have to see the Ownership & Encumbrance report that the county provides on every tax deed that is going up for auction.
38 out of 67 Florida Counties provide their O&E Reports freely online, you just need to know where to find them. These are the counties for which we provide surplus records. The other counties either offer the O&E’s only in person at the Clerk of Court office or they will provide the O&E by email/fax if you ask, but they may charge a fee for them. If you are interested in those other counties, we do provide contact information for the Clerk of Court for every county so you can request the O&E.
On SurplusDatabase.com, we gather all Property Information reports from the counties and upload them to one central location, making it a breeze and major time-saver for you.
Don’t your records create a lot of competition?
- First and most importantly, no matter how many people have access to good surplus records, the ultimate question is not “How many people have this record”… It is “How can I win this client?“. There are multiple strategies of competition: Lower percentage fees, visiting potential client in person, developing a good relationship over the phone, constant contact, services beyond surplus recovery, etc.
- Second, with surplus records, there is a new set of records 4-5 Days a week / every week. Each surplus record is a brand new person/possible client. There is no repeat of potential clients (well, sometimes there is since a person can own more than one property that goes to a tax deed auction). Also, now with the new Florida Statute in effect, lien holders have only 120 days to put in a claim or are barred forever, therefore there is a big push to gain the lien holders as clients as well. So it isn’t as if ALL Asset Recovery Businesses are fighting over a set amount of 100 clients and once the clients are all chosen, there are no more.
- If you are looking at other methods of obtaining surplus records, they ALL create competition. We win by supplying the records the FASTEST way possible. Plus we obtain the Property Information reports for you and upload them to one central location.
So while the short answer is ‘yes, you will have competition’, the correct answer is “if you are going to be in this business at all and have any chance of success, you HAVE TO get to the surplus records long before the county releases them and our websites are the answer’.
If YOU found a county’s old surplus list laying around somewhere, you can’t think you are the only one who found it. Our method has a lot less competition that those surplus lists given a month or year after the auction.
Also, people will subscribe one month, take a break to process all those records, then re-subscribe in another month, etc. We have NO contracts or term limits. You are free to come and go as you please.
Once you receive your surplus records, there is a LOT of other work you have to still do: Locate potential client(s), gather necessary paperwork, submit claim to the county, track the claim, etc. Therefore, having a new set of fresh records every auction day can quickly become overwhelming. With all this in mind, we believe there are plenty of surplus records and potential clients to go around.
We guarantee you that our method is the fastest way of locating great surplus records.
How Many subscribers are there on your websites?
The answer to this always varies. Since there are no contracts or mandatory term lengths, subscribers are free to come and go as you please.
People constantly think this business is over-saturated. The truth of the matter is that 80-90% of the people who try it will likely not stick with it. This is not a Get Rich Quick Scheme. I’m sure you have seen websites out there that scream success in the surplus recovery business. They are salesmen who “sell the dream”. There is actual hard work involved and the point of our records and training is to greatly reduce the time our clients spend on this end of the process.
It’s about the numbers. You need as many good surplus records you can get your hands on. You cannot just stick with one county. We produce surplus records from 36-38 counties and by the time you do all that needs to be done to find the good records, it’s time for the next week of auctions and you have zero time to locate clients, sign them and submit surplus claims.
Are YOU an Asset Recovery Business? Are you going after potential clients?
100% no! There was a time when I personally thought of doing it. However, at the time, there was practically NO information online and trying to figure out all of the processes and systems of each and every county was mind-boggling. I began gathering the information for myself, keeping notes, making lists and charts. Microsoft Excel and Access became my best friends. As I began to see how massively spread out and ridiculous all the information and links were, I decided THIS was a way better method for me to conduct my business. As it turns out, I am quite an introvert and the ‘salesman’ part of claiming surplus was not for me. I am far better working behind the curtain.
Besides this website, we own FloridaTaxAuction.com, SurplusDatabase.com and iFindFunds.com. We have been in the ‘unclaimed money arena’ since 2010. Our websites and products are the result of many years of research, testing, asking questions and receiving feedback.
How do I know if a claim has been made on any of the records?
We create the list right after the auction, so at the point when we send the new records, you are guaranteed there has been no claim. However, the more time that passes after the auction, you ARE taking a chance that a claim was put in. This is why it is imperative you act fast on new records.
We do not go back and update our lists to show if a claim has been made or not. If you need to know if a claim was made on an older record, you can do that in one of two ways:
- Look up the Tax Deed documents using the methods on our website FloridaOverbids.com and some counties DO show you if a claim was made and by whom.
- Call the Clerk of Court for that county and ask them. They will need the Tax Deed # and Sale Date
We have videos for each of the counties, showing you how to do #1 and we have a PDF Document with the contact information for all 67 counties.
How long does a homeowner have to claim overbid funds once property has been sold? How long do lenders have to claim overbid funds after property has been sold?
I find that each county interprets the Florida Statues about tax deed sales differently and when one county may answer that question one way, the next county has a different answer.
However, in general terms, the county will hold the unclaimed surplus for a year and then turn it over to the state of Florida.
OR they may hold it forever and give a deadline for the previous owner and lien holders to claim after which time, it is forfeited.
The previous home owner can (and should) put in a claim right away, but if there are liens then the county will wait 90 before processing any claim forms from previous owners.
If, after one year**, the lender or other liens have not put in a claim, the previous owner can claim it.
If the county turns it over to the state, the previous owner can claim it from Florida State’s unclaimed website.
Florida has VERY OPEN public record laws. You can call or email ANY of the counties Clerk of Court offices and they will answer your questions based on their own county.
**Update 10/01/18. The New Florida Statute takes effect. Beginning with Tax Deeds that are applied for after Oct 1, 2018, ALL lienholders (except the IRS) will have just 120 Days to put in their claim of they are forever barred from doing so and the entire surplus amount is owed to the previous owner.
Something is off with the math shown on your records. The difference between the Starting bid and ending bid does not match up with the amount of surplus shown on the record. Why is that?
When determining the opening bid, a county takes into account if the property is homestead. If it IS, then 1/2 of the Assessed value of the property is added to the Opening Bid. That shows BIDDERS what they need to start the bidding. However, for the purposes of collecting surplus after the auction, that ‘1/2 of the assessed value’ also goes to the previous owner/lienholders/mortgage company (whoever is claiming the surplus).
No matter what the starting bid and ending bid is, the county only recovers their past due property tax and that’s it. The rest is surplus.
Late Property Taxes: $5,000
Homestead Property Value: $100,000
Starting Bid will be: $55,000 (Amt of Taxes PLUS 1/2 assessed value)
Property sells at auction for: $55,100 <Likely MUCH more since the assessed value is $100k
You may glance at that and see Starting Bid $55,000, Ending Bid $55,100 so the surplus is only $100 – definitely not worth pursuing
However, the surplus is actually $50,100 because THAT is the amount the property sold for over and above the amount due in property taxes.
HERE IS AN ACTUAL EXAMPLE FROM ST. LUCIE COUNTY
At the top, there is a screenshot of a tax deed auction result. Below that is the Notice of Surplus the county mailed out.
CORRECT SURPLUS CALCULATION EXAMPLE
How do I approach the previous owner with this information?
How do we make the transaction and collect payment?
Each county has their own claim forms and procedures. But the basic process is this:
John Doe is selling surplus lists for $29.95 a month. Can’t I use those?
Sure but you are not done. They will give you a “list” of information that you can easily pull right off a county website for free but you still need much more information before you can even begin to use that record. (See Below in another FAQ).
Please take note, we are talking about Florida Only! There are different laws and statutes regarding tax deed surplus in other states and counties. There may be a list provider for another state that does not require lienholders to be paid first. We are not talking about them. Our training and surplus lists pertain to Florida.
Although Florida Surplus Recovery can seem intimidating with the statutes and liens, the state also has the most open public record laws in the country. You are able to get your hands on every document and piece of information you need concerning the property, owners and liens.
Why can’t I just use the surplus lists the counties post on their website?
First, not all counties put a list up on their website. In fact, most do not. Some will put a PDF list up once a year, others have a search form to search records.
However, as stated above, the information the county provides on their “lists and records” is not user-friendly to asset recovery companies. The lists they provide are meant for the previous owners to look and see if they have surplus.
There is not enough information to be helpful to asset recovery companies.
For example, the county list will provide something like:
Case# Auction Date Parcel ID Surplus Amount
2017-4515TD 08/20/2016 00012854J62A4 $25,621.55
If you were the previous owner of that property, you know that is the Parcel Number of your property and therefore, you found surplus for yourself. However, as an Asset Recovery person, the above information doesn’t help you. Using what the county gives, you will need to:
- Look up the Parcel ID on the Property Appraisers website and find out who the owner was at the time of the auction. So you have to look back at the sale date (8/20/2016). If you look at the Property Appraisers site, it will show you who owns it now, NOT the person who owned it at the time of the sale… so you have to go deeper and look at the sale date that matches the auction date to find the correct owner who is entitled to the surplus.
- Locate the Tax Deed documents pertaining to the Case # and within those documents, find the Ownership & Encumbrance Report or Title Report that the county was obligated to create at the time of the auction so all owners and lienholders could be notified. Therefore, you are able to see if there are liens or mortgages on the property that would be entitled to the surplus before the previous owner. Plus you may find additional addresses for the owner to help you locate them because they highly likely no longer live at the property that was auctioned off. (We say ‘highly likely’ because it is possible the person who purchased the tax deed at auction allowed them to continue living at the property in exchange for rent)
Performing those tasks above takes a tremendous amount of time. Therefore, after you have spent so much time on the above, you STILL have to deal with convincing the previous owner to hire you and putting in a claim with the county. Meanwhile, a whole new batch of surplus records is ready and waiting for you to begin with. It can quickly overwhelm you.
Can you begin to see why we say there is no over-saturation? There are massive amounts of auctions, records, documents and more to where it can become too much to handle and people give up trying to keep up.
And THAT is why we also created https://www.SurplusDatabase.com
You NEED help in keeping up with the tax deed surplus cycle. We have a team that is laser-focused on the tax deed records in Florida. We provide the great, researched records, you relax and deal with the rest.
Which Florida County is the best one to work?
The short answer is “ALL of the counties, ALL of the time”. If you limit yourself to one or two counties, you will quickly become disappointed and here is why:
All counties hold their auctions on different days and different intervals (weekly, monthly, every 2 months, etc). There are typically auctions every Monday through Thursday and occasionally some on Friday (but very few).
We provide surplus for every county that has their auctions online plus about 10 that hold auctions offline (Total of about 37 counties out of 67) and here is a general outlook on how many records we get each week from ALL of those counties combined…
Starting each week, there are about 300-600 tax deeds headed to auctions.
Before an auction even starts, roughly 50% of them get redeemed by the owner (they pay their taxes and save their property from being auctioned).
So then, we watch the auctions that are left to get the ending bid and determine IF there is surplus money left over.
Within those, about 20% receive NO bids and therefore produce no surplus.
10% receive bids but the surplus is not over $1000 so we don’t bother.
That leaves 20% (an average of about 75/week) where:
- Auction actually happened AND
- Surplus is over $1000 (anything less is really not worth going after)
THOSE go on our Surplus List and this is pretty much the list you could buy anywhere else or that the county will put out themselves. It is a bare bones list that is almost useless if you do not know what you are doing.
We then we add the Owner and all mailing addresses we find, plus locate and download the Property Information Report for you
You then need to know if there are liens on the property that are so high, it will take all the surplus.
In short, the records get dwindled down so much that you need all you can get your hands on from as many counties as possible, to make an impact and do well in this business.
Trying to stick with just one county will not do you any good.
There is ONE exception to this rule. You can go after the records in counties where they hold their auctions in person and they do not provide their tax deed documents and claim information online. These would be the counties that are the least saturated with asset recovery companies because so much more work is involved and in-person visits to the Clerks office are needed. If you happen to live in or near one of those counties, I would highly recommend you digging in there.
New counties are going online with their auctions all the time. However as of right now (2/2019) here is a list of the in-person auction counties that do not provide their documents online, therefore would be the least saturated by asset recovery companies who do not live near them.