Mendocino CA. county tax auctions question

Question:

Hi,

Thanks for the information.  I did not see the taxes currently owed, until just now.  It all seems so odd, typically a property should be given 5 years worth of defaults before it’s auctioned off. But with the 1915 Act improvement bond it accelerates it to 6 months.  That bond only adds an additional .077% to the property tax.  That just seems so draconian.  But with that and all the zoning issues, the egress easement being tied up with a busy highway, no power, water, or sewer at the property line.  It would be nearly impossible to build on.  I saw a few mortgage defaults over the years, so it has been an unusable weight on the owner’s shoulder.  So I guess I can see why the owner would just let it go.  Perhaps working with Mendocino County is difficult, on top of everything else.

Did you speak with anybody from the county? If so could you give me your impression?

Answer:
Rem,
I did not speak with anyone at the county. Since the tax liens were not recorded, I had our abstract department research the county tax records and produce the tax sheets.
We never fully appreciate counties that render access to documents and information difficult.  Among other things, it makes it hard to service our clients within the time frame we prefer. Over the years, I have noted that seasoned investor clients err on the side of minimum risk, recognizing potential issues on similar grounds that you cited – which is just one example.
On the other hand, appearances can be deceiving because the unknowns are too vast, i.e., is the owner facing a unique personal and/or financial situation? Sometimes owners inherit property or simply do not explore every angle so they are not aware of all the options and/or do not have the time, money or motivation to conduct their research and make a truly informed decision.
In my experience, our seasoned investor clients do their research, ask questions as they arise and ultimately rely on their instinct to make a final decision.  It is my understanding that this auction closes on Monday so it sounds like you have some time to ask additional questions before the bidding window is closed.
As you know, the sense in whatever decision you make also depends on your personal or business objectives.  For example, are you only interested in building or do you plan on leasing the property until some future date?  Have you researched pending or potential plans for the property? In some cases, our client investors look for property in areas that they know from the transportation or other department will eventually be purchased, annexed or condemned by a governmental entity to expand a highway or whatever the case.  (Again, that’s just an example).
There are too many factors to consider from the outside so it is difficult for a third party to opine.  Please let me know if you have additional questions or need more information.
Please note that my suggestion that you may want to consult an attorney is related to our policies and procedures during the consulting process.  We are required to make clear that we are not real estate attorneys in our email signature and when it is appropriate during the communication process.
In other words, it is not because I have recognized some particular risk or issue.  It is a general disclaimer we are required to be clear about to call clients.
Thank you,
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