It’s a property sale, but it is not a sale.
The buyer only has a piece of paper that can be redeemed by the actual owner until October 2009.
Yet, the annual Tulsa County Property Tax sale attracts scheduled October 1 attracts people from Tulsa, across the state, nation and maybe even the world.
A list of the properties on the list will be published Sept. 7 and Sept. 14 in the Tulsa Daily Commerce and Legal News.
Copies of the tax lists also will be available in these Neighbor Newspaper offices including the Broken Arrow Ledger, Bixby Bulletin, Jenks Journal, Sand Springs Leader, Skiatook Journal, Collinsville News, Owasso Reporter and Tulsa County News. It also will be available in the Tulsa County Treasurer’s office, third floor, Tulsa County Courthouse.
There always is a misunderstanding about the property tax sale, according to Dennis Semler, Tulsa County treasurer. Some people think they will take actual possession of property. What they are doing is paying the tax lien due on the property for 2006. The lien does not mature unless the property owner fails to pay the taxes due for three years.
But the current property owner also has until the tax sale in October 2009 to come to the Tulsa County Treasurer’s office to pay the taxes that have been paid by an outside buyer.
Purchasing these tax liens is a reasonably good investment, Semler added. People who buy the liens get their money back plus 8 percent interest.
Property owners are coming to this office every day to pay their taxes before they go on the sale list, he said. As of August 16, taxes still were due on 7,992 properties. That number will decrease steadily during the next few weeks.
Historically, between 6,000 and 6,500 liens actually will go up for sale. This is for both commercial and residential property.
The vast majority of the liens are redeemed by property owners before they ripen into titles, the county treasurer continued. It is impossible to say which properties actually will result in titles.
Property taxes generally are about one percent of the value of a home, he said. That will depend upon where the property is located. Taxes are much lower in Leonard than they are for people living in the Union and Jenks school districts.
The point of the tax lien sale is first that Tulsa County doesn’t need to be in the real estate business, Semler said. ‘‘I am a firm believer the private sector is more efficient in handling property. In addition, this keeps the land on the tax roles.’’
It also means that various government entities, schools, county, city, library, health department and others depending upon these funds have monies available.
This is a cash flow issue because teachers must be paid ever month as well as those of other government agencies. They do not have to wait to get the money they need.
That is why the Oklahoma legislature established this procedure so money would be available up front.
Semler follows a strict procedure in organizing the sale.
Doors to Rooms A and B to the Tulsa Convention Center open at 7:30 a.m. October 1.
An advanced registration begins Sept. 7, the first day the list is published.
Interested people can go to the website at www.treasurer.tulsacounty.org.
Once on the website, go to the link October tax lien sale. Click on that link to obtain all forms as well as explanation about the sale.
Forms can be printed, then filled out and mailed to the county treasurer’s office. Faxes are acceptable for the immediate registration, Semler said, but this office also wants the original to be mailed in.
Anyone registered between 7:30 a.m. until 9 a.m. all are automatically registered as number one. The sale starts at 9 a.m. and is scheduled to last until 4 p.m.
No sale has lasted that long, Semler said.
Those registering at 9:01 a.m. become number two and the process continues until all interested people have signed in.
If more there is more than one bidder for a piece of property, all names are placed in a container, then one is drawn.
This is a first-come, first-served situation and everyone is treated as equally as possible.
Payments from cash to personal checks and cashier’s checks are accepted. Anyone buying a tax lien has 24 hours to get the funds to the treasurer’s office.
‘‘If a check bounces that transaction is automatically voided,’’ Semler said. If a person has the piece of paper stating they have purchased the property it is just a piece of paper because the transaction has been voided in the treasurer’s office.
The number of tax liens in Tulsa County has been creeping up each year, Semler said. Part of the reason is the number of parcels on the tax rolls also has been increasing. As a result, the percentage of delinquent taxes also has remained about the same.
It’s a property sale, but it is not a sale.