7 Ways to Estimate Repair Costs When Buying At Real Estate Auctions

Estimating Repairs

For those unfamiliar with buying a property at tax foreclosure auctions, you may be shocked to learn that we typically get our first look at the inside of these properties AFTER we purchase them at the auction.  Laws state that tax auction properties are to be purchased as-is and sight unseen, leaving it up to us investors to budget for the repair costs  based only on the observations we make from the outside of the property or if we are lucky, a quick glimpse of the interior through a window. Since we typically don’t get a good look inside to assess the damages, we have to make smart assumptions about the condition of the interior, while still being as cautious as possible that we don’t underestimate the repair costs.

If you are considering buying an investment property at a tax foreclosure auction without the luxury of a walk-through and inspection, here are 7 strategies that will help you gain as much information as possible about the physical condition of the property and determine how much you will have to pay to complete the repairs.

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Tax Deed Property Rehab Project (Introduction)

I am very excited to announce a new tax deed property rehab project I am undertaking here on investmentpropertyusa.ca. Myself and my investor partners just purchased a nice little property at the Harris County tax auction (a.k.a. sheriff sale, tax deed auction) that we are planning to rehab or, for those that prefer the term, fix and flip. I thought it would be fun to document as much of the project as I can through you tube video and blog posts and share it with you from start to finish.

The video above explains more about the property we are calling the “Pickerton” house including some of the pre-auction due diligence that we did on it, the auction details and some of the numbers that we can expect from this rehab deal. In future videos I will show you our very first walk through of the property and various stages of rehab as we turn the worst house on the block into something that someone is going to love to live in.

Here are the numbers as we know them right now. Many are just projections as we have not yet fully assessed the state of repair inside this house.

Related: Tax Deeds! Bought Dirt Cheap!

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Tax Deeds! Bought Dirt Cheap!

For new investors it can be difficult figuring out the difference between Tax Liens and Tax Deeds.

Are they the same thing? Are they different? Why do some states deal only in tax liens while others deal only with tax deeds? What’s with the states that seem to offer both tax liens and deeds or “redeemable deeds”? It can be downright confusing.

In a recent blog post I described the basics of Tax Lien Investing, how they differ from tax deeds and how new investors can get started learning about and investing in this exceptional investment strategy. Today, I would like to dive into the basics of Tax Deed Investing. [Read more…]

Tax Deed Property Shopping in Houston Texas

Tax Deed Property Shopping in Houston Texas

In this video I talk about some of key problem areas I look for when assessing potential investment properties I am considering bidding on at the Tax Deed Auction. I believe that viewing the property in person is the single most important part of our pre-auction due diligence process. You can read more about this golden rule in my recent blog post. [Read more…]

The Most Important Step You Must Do When Investing in Tax Deed Properties


This week’s video blog talks about what I consider to be the single most important due diligence step you must do when investing in tax deed properties[Read more…]

Tax Lien Investing Part II – Where & How to Buy Tax Liens

Welcome back fellow investors to Part Two of my introduction to US Tax Lien Investing. This week I am going to pick up where I left off by explaining where and how to purchase tax lien certificates along with some due diligence basics that you need to know in order to get started investing in US tax liens.   [Read more…]

US Tax Lien Investing – Earn Double Digit Returns In Your Pajamas!

Tax Liens

Hello loyal blog readers. Imagine waking up in the morning, popping in a Kuerig K cup and strolling out to your mailbox with your cup of coffee to find 5 government issued interest cheques waiting there for you. These are earnings from investments you made a few months earlier at your computer whilst sitting in your underwear or pj’s, drinking out of that same coffee mug.  In a span of 6 months to maybe 3 years you earned somewhere between 9% and 24% on your money off of property you never actually owned.  This is what US Tax Lien investing can be like for you.  I call it real estate investing for people who hate real estate.  Although, for those that love real estate, like I do, it can be a great way to acquire investment property for about the same price you paid for that flat screen in your living room.

If the idea of making a 9% to 24% return on your money year after year on an investment that is backed by the US Government and secured by real estate sounds kind of awesome to you then perhaps you should read on.  To me, it sounds a lot better than the 1 – 2% we are getting from our TFSAs, GICs and most Mutual Funds and a lot safer than the volatile stock market. Am I right?

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Cross-border tax specialist sets it straight for Canadians investing in US real estate

I find that the number one fear or reservation that Canadians have about investing in the US is taxes.  Many of us have heard horror stories about double taxation and dealings with the IRS but in my experience, with the right tax advice, bringing money back and forth across the border for real estate transactions is relatively easy.  On the flip-side, investing in a different country without proper tax guidance can leave you paying far more tax than is necessary, drastically depleting the profits you worked so hard for.

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US Real Estate Investing Event Photos – Calgary Sept 15th

Thanks to all who came out to learn about US Tax Deed Investing in Calgary this past Monday evening. I hope you came away with an investment strategy that you can use to propel yourself to a life lived on your own terms.

Huge thanks go out to my mentor, veteran real estate investor and international speaker Mike Wolf for making a special stop in Calgary to speak at my event.  Not only is Mike an incredibly talented investor, he is a fantastic speaker and teacher.  He has helped me get to where I am today as an investor and I strongly recommend taking one of his US Real Estate Investing Educational Tours.

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Canada vs. US Real Estate Investing – Stop 3: Calgary, AB

Here is Part 3 of my mini-video blog series “Canadian vs. US Real Estate Investing”. In this series I looked at three very different Canadian markets, sharing my thoughts and opinions about investing in each and comparing them with my own US real estate investing strategy purchasing Tax Deed properties in Houston, Texas. A strategy that has helped many Canadian investors make huge returns on their money while supplementing their income with positive cashflow month after month. 

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