Definitions » An Explanation of the Terms We Use

About List Delivery Terms

Standard lists are available for immediate download from our web site. To download your order, sign in, go to "my account" and then to "my purchases". Data enhanced lists that have already been compiled are also available for immediate download. Those data enhanced lists that have not been compiled (we do not do them until they are ordered) are shown with the price in italics and will require an average of four business days before they will be ready for download. Past data enhanced lists (those for sales that have already taken place) will be done on a time available basis and there is no guarantee of delivery time. All of these delivery times are what we expect but are not guaranteed. You should always order your lists as soon as possible to guarantee that you will get them in time for the sales.

Administrative Deed

Administrative deed is the type of deed where you will have to file a "quiet title" action. This is not a major problem, as long as you have already done the work needed.


The selling of a tax lien buyer's rights to the lien to another buyer. This sometimes requires the permission of the taxing authority.

Assignment or OTC Liens

These are liens that went through the sale process and were not purchased at the sale. They can be purchased directly from the taxing jurisdiction and usually earn the maximum interest rate available. Usually they can be purchased by mail. The downside is they are the parcels that nobody wanted to buy at the sale.

Bid Down On the Interest Rate

One of the most common Tax Lien systems used today. Starting at a statutory rate, the interested buyers bid a progressively lower interest rate until nobody is willing to go lower. The lowest bidder is the winner.

Bid Down On The Percentage of Ownership

The property is sold to the bidder who is willing to take the smallest portion of ownership in the property. Has the issue that if a bid is below 100%, you become a tenant in common with the delinquent taxpayer. Because of this, most auctions of this type wind up becoming a lottery.

Bidder's Package

A sales package prepared by the jurisdiction conducting the tax sale that lays out exactly what is expected of the bidder, how the auction is run, and how to pay for the acquisitions.

Contract Sale

A contract sale is when you retain title to the property until the contract amount has been paid. You are the one who determines if you make the deal or not -- because of this you have a wonderful amount of latitude.

Data Enhanced Lists

These are official lists with assessor information added, such as assessed values, land use codes, building descriptions such as year built, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square feet or lot and structure. The cost will vary depending on our costs but will normally run between 5 cents a parcel and 10 cents a parcel. Please keep in mind that we can only get data that is available on the Assessor's public web site. Data enhanced lists are not available in all jurisdictions and should be ordered at least four business days before they are needed. They are sent as an email attachment.

Delinquency List

This is a list of properties that are currently delinquent but IS NOT a tax sale list. We offer these in a number of jurisdictions for those who are attempting to get prepared for an upcoming tax sale. Please be aware that a majority of the properties will pay the delinquent taxes and not be on the tax sale.

Due Process

Constitutional clause that states that no person shall be deprived of property without due process of law.

Foreclosing or Barring The Right Of Redemption

The process undertaken when a lien has not redeemed and the lien holder acts to foreclose on the property, thus preventing the property owner from redeeming the lien after the redemption period has expired.


The lien buyer's interest in the property is known as an inchoate interest. It is an interest in real estate which is not a present interest, but which may ripen into a vested estate, if not barred, extinguished or divested. Simple definition- you have a right to the real estate as long as the following occurs;

  • The redemption period expires and the lien has not been paid back, plus interest.
  • You comply with any State specific rules the statute requires, including providing notice to those who have an interest in the property.
  • Filing certain documents with the court.

Judicial Deed

Judicial Deed is when there has been a hearing and the court has directed the Treasurer (or the appropriate official) to deliver a deed to the lien buyer. A judicial deed will usually give you a "marketable title."

Lands Available

Lands Available is the term that some taxing jurisdictions use to denote an OTC (Over The Counter) Sale. These are properties that did not sell at the auction and are available for purchase directly from the taxing jurisdiction without having to go through the bidding process.

Lands for Sale/Lands Available

These are lists of properties that have been through a tax sale and not sold. We often do not know if we can do a data enhanced list on these until we actually attempt to do one. The reason is often the taxing authority does not put the information on a lands available list that allows us to do a data enhanced list. Please keep in mind that the "sale date" shown is not a sale date as these are available at any time until sold. We have to enter a sale date in the system so we usually put in a quarter ending date.


A claim, encumbrance, or charge on property for payment of some debt, obligation or duty.

List With Maps

"With Maps" means we will provide a map book of the properties. Availability will depend on having an enhanced list. Please inquire if you desire mapping and it is not shown as available.

Lottery Sales

A bidding method where buyers are chosen through a random mechanism. That bidders then says "Yes" I will buy the lien", or "No, I pass."

Marketable Title

Marketable Title means that you can get a title insurance company to issue a title policy on the property.

Official Lists

This is the list the taxing jurisdiction publishes. We will include the information that the taxing jurisdiction included with the exception of photographs and long legal descriptions if the parcel number or some other method of identifying the parcel is given. These lists will never be more than $70.00 and average around $8.00. The lists are done in Microsoft Excel or ASCII. Official list are usually delivered within 2 business days of receipt of the order. They are sent as an email attachment.

Parties of Interest

Parties who have an interest in the real estate involved.

Premium Bid: Premium Lost

System used in Colorado and Mississippi. The lien is sold to the bidder who is willing to pay the taxes, interest, penalties and costs and will bid the most money above that amount. The catch is that the premium bid above the minimum bid is gone forever. The county keeps it.

Premium Bid: Premium Returned But No Interest On The Premium

This system is used in a number of states. The lien is sold to the bidder who is willing to pay the taxes, interest, penalties and costs and will bid the most money above that amount. The premium bid above the minimum is returned to the bidder, but with no interest.

In this sale type you should determine the minimum return you are willing to accept on a property (or a type of property) and calculate the maximum premium you can bid to acquire that return on each property you are going to bid on.

The formula for doing this is:

(Lien amount X statutory rate / by acceptable return on investment = maximum bid – lien amount = maximum Premium bid.)
Premium Bidding: Earning Interest On The Premium

Used in Alabama, Indiana, South Carolina, Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas. In all of these states the premium or overbid (that amount above the taxes and penalties owed and the winning bid) earns interest. The amount of interest that is earned depends on the state.


Quiet-title is when you notify the parties of interest (sound familiar?) to appear in court in order to claim an interest in the property. Since you have already notified these folks prior to applying for the deed, you should have no trouble with a quiet title action.

Redeemable Deed

Redeemable deed states auction off property deeds, but there is a period during which the delinquent property owner can come back and redeem the property. If a deed is redeemed during that period, it works much like a lien; the property owner must pay what is often a large penalty or interest rate.

Redeemable Deed Sales

This is a sale that is called a Tax Deed Sale, but the sale is subject to a right of redemption during a specified time period by the delinquent property owner. For most purposes the sale is very similar to a Tax Lien Sale.

Redemption Period

All tax lien states, with the exception of Kentucky, have a stated redemption period in the statutes. The redemption period is the time allowed for the property owner, or, in some cases, any "interested party" to redeem the property by paying the tax lien, which includes the delinquent taxes, penalties, interest and costs.

This redemption period varies in length by jurisdiction but the shortest is six months (Maryland) and the longest is four years (Wyoming).

Round Robin Bidding

A fairly simple tax lien bidding process. The bidding goes around the room in a fixed order and each person is given the opportunity to buy a lien. The bidder pays the delinquent taxes (plus any penalties, interest and/ or costs) for the lien.


The term that describes all of the administrative tasks that must be completed to successfully hold a tax lien portfolio through the redemption period and, if necessary, perfect your interest in the property if there is no redemption.

Situs Address

The property address

Subsequent Taxes

Subsequent taxes are the future taxes that are due after the tax sale (in which you buy the lien) is held.

Tax Deed Sale

A tax deed sale give the buyer immediate ownership of the property. This ownership often requires the filing of a quiet title action to have marketable title but it is not subject to redemption by the delinquent tax payer.

Tax Deed Sales

Tax sales where the property is sold outright.

Tax Defaulted Land Sale

These are lands that have gone through a sale and were not purchased by a tax sale buyer. They, instead were purchased by the taxing jurisdiction or the state and are available for purchase on a negotiated purchase. In some cases these lists may be called "Lands Available", "Assignment Lists", "OTC lists", or "Lands for Sale". Please understand that the sale date for these lists is, in fact, not sale date. Our system requires a "sale date" be input so we put a quarter ending date for these lists.

Tax Lien

A lien on real estate in favor of a state or local government which may be foreclosed for nonpayment of taxes. A tax lien can be imposed by the state, county, city or town, water district, school district, port authority or district, park district, sewer district, hospital district or any other entity of government authorized by statute to levy taxes or special assessments.

Tax Lien Sale

A tax lien sale does not give the lien buyer ownership of the property. It gives the buyer a claim for money that is superior to almost all other liens, including mortgages and is secured by the real estate. If this claim for money is not satisfied the lien holder can apply for and receive the property, subject to the conditions set by the statutes for the jurisdiction. Approximate redemption rate for residential properties is somewhat above 90% in most jurisdictions.

Tax Lien Sales

Tax sales that offer the property owner some method of saving his/her property.

Tax Sale

Sale held by taxing authorities, usually once a year, in order to sell their interest in a lien to third party investors. By doing this, the taxing jurisdiction is able to collect the outstanding delinquent taxes much more quickly than just waiting for payment from the delinquent property owner These sales are usually held in an auction format, open to the public, and, depending on the auction method used, the properties are sold to the highest bidder.

Tax Taking

The taxing jurisdiction "takes" the property and becomes the owner. The property is later sold, either through a negotiated sale or an auction.