If you're lucky at D.C.'s annual tax sale, you may get to foreclose on a mortgage-free house.
But beware the fine print. The auction is not for the over 5,200 residential and commercial properties that have unpaid taxes from 2008; it's for the tax liens on the properties.
As Urban Turf notes:
It’s a little complicated but the gist of it is: If you are the winning bidder for one of the property tax liens, you may have the opportunity to foreclose on the property in question because of the unpaid taxes. The current delinquent owner still has a chance to pay those outstanding taxes, in which case you don’t get the property. If the owner never pays what is due, you can foreclose and win title -- though you’ll have to pay down the overdue property tax first.
In Shaw recommends going for the interest rates instead.
How to figure out all this tax lien and interest rate mumbo jumbo? Go to the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue's tax sale seminars Aug. 19-20, 10 a.m.-noon and 2-4 p.m. at 941 N. Capitol St. N.E.