Property purchases win-win for city: Online program puts buyers in touch with tax-delinquent real estate

A recent effort to tackle neighborhood blight in north Lake Charles has seen real returns over the past year, officials said Thursday, giving hope to longtime residents who want to see their area improve.

About 34 tax-delinquent properties in north Lake Charles have been auctioned off online since the launch of a pilot program in late 2016.

The Lake Charles North Redevelopment Authority spearheaded the program through a partnership with New Orleans-based, which brings adjudicated properties to market through its online platform.

About 94 properties are on the website, and more should go up later this year, said authority President Kathleen Dorsey Bellow.

Bellow said she was pleased to see nearly three dozen properties find new owners through the process, especially since most buyers are local — about 90 percent of people who buy properties through CivicSource statewide are residents of that area, according to company officials.

“I am encouraged because people who either grew up in the neighborhood or go to church here are buying properties, so it’s people affiliated with the neighborhood,” said Bellow.

Representatives of CivicSource hosted two outreach meetings on Thursday for people interested in learning more about the program. They took residents through the process of ownership, from putting down the $850 deposit to bidding on auction day.

About 20 residents attended the morning session, asking questions about the overall cost and how to navigate the website.

Resident Jerry Adams, who attended the morning session, said he was surprised to learn that properties often go for as little as $5,000-$10,000 — a nominal charge compared with the high cost of real estate on the private market. He said new construction could only be a good thing for the area.

“Anytime the public is offered to buy property in their own neighborhood and community it’s a good thing,” said Darol King, who also attended the meeting.

King, owner of Mariah’s Christian Preschool, said he plans to buy two properties within the year for either a business or housing development. He may consider expanding the preschool if he finds the right property.

“We have to turn so many people away because it’s a needed service,” King said. “If we can find a building I can renovate, boy that would be really nice.”

Beau Buyers, a title agent for CivicSource, said the company usually collects $5,100 of the sale price to cover the cost of legal work, with the remainder going to the city. So far, property sales through CivicSource have brought the city $43,000.

Buyers said this money helps alleviate the financial burden Lake Charles has experienced from years of taking care of tax-delinquent properties — mowing lawns and making sure they were in compliance.

He said on average the properties CivicSource sells have been tax delinquent for over 20 years.


Original article published here:

New property project in Bossier City designed to boost economy

(BOSSIER CITY, LA) – The City of Bossier has launched a new project in an effort to sell adjudicated property online.

After five years of no payment of property taxes to a city or parish, a property becomes adjudicated. The city or parish then becomes responsible for the upkeep and security of the property.

“Primarily most of our adjudicated property falling in the five or more a year category are vacant lots. And we spent probably $335,000-$340,000 a year and just maintaining those properties,” said Pam Glorioso, Chief Administration Officer in Bossier City.

With the sale of the properties, the city will not have the expense of maintaining the mostly vacant lots. It will ultimately put them back into commerce. Tax dollars will flow back into the city, because someone would then own that property. The new owner would maintain it as a private property and pay property taxes.

The city has contracted a company called Civic Source to sell the real estate online. The city is now preparing to launch that service which is set to roll out this Fall in about 6 to 8 months.

The company’s primary objective is to look at the title of the property then see if it’s a marketable property. At that point the lot can be put up for sale. This company can also write title insurance to the new purchaser to ensure they do have a good title.

Bossier Parish Police Jury also uses Civic Source and they have been successful in using it to sell properties for the parish.


Original article published here:

Bossier City looks to online auctions for sales of blighted properties

Bossier City is looking to return abandoned, blighted buildings back into productive use by partnering with a company that will make it easier to sell adjudicated properties.

The Bossier City Council on Tuesday will vote on an ordinance that would allow the city to contract with CivicSource, a New Orleans-based company that will establish and administrate online auctions and sales of the city’s adjudicated properties.

These are properties that have been adjudicated to the city due to non-payment of ad valorem property taxes. According to the draft ordinance, many of these properties remain abandoned and contribute to blight in the area.

“CivicSource is in the business of returning adjudicated properties back into commerce,” Ronnie Harris, director of business development for CivicSource, told the city council at a meeting in January. “We do that in a process where we get information from your assessor, we look at the information to ensure the property is marketable and insurable, and we market it by posting signs, placing it on our website and having an informational session here in your city with potential investors.”

The city says it does not have resources to market and fulfill legal requirements for the sale of these properties, or to offer any warranty of title or title insurance to purchasers of adjudicated properties.

These are services CivicSource can provide, Harris said.

“At the end of the process, it goes to an auction and the successful bidder will obtain title insurance for the properties that have been sold,” Harris said. “CivicSource has married the governmental process with information technology and title insurance, in order to wrap it all up and provide a service for our government clients.”

The city’s goal in entering this process is “to encourage the redemption of these properties, to bring these properties back into commerce and productive use, to return these properties back to the active tax rolls, to stimulate economic development and to increase property tax and other tax revenue,” according to the ordinance.

The Bossier Parish Police Jury entered into a contract with CivicSource in 2015 and continues to use its services today because it has proven to be good for the parish, said Parish Administrator Bill Altimus.

“This partnership is helpful to the parish in that it gives our adjudicated property that is eligible to be sold to a company that does all the necessary legal legwork, which is substantial,” Altimus said. “It’s a turnkey process, and in the end allows the purchaser to obtain good and legal title to that property according to current Louisiana law. This property is now back on the tax rolls and is being maintained by the new purchaser.”

The city believes that this process “will increase the redemptions of adjudicated property and increase the number (of) sales of adjudicated property in the City of Bossier City, thus fostering the goals of returning these properties to commerce and productive use and will provide the buyers of these properties a chance to purchase property with title insurance,” the ordinance states.

The city council will meet 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Bossier City Municipal Complex council chambers, 620 Benton Road.

Original article published here:

Iberia Parish holds meeting on delinquent property sales

Iberia Parish Government will hold a meeting Thursday night to let residents know how they can participate in the parish’s delinquent property sale program.

The parish entered into an agreement with CivicSource, a developer that handles the sale of tax-delinquent properties through an online auction site. The company already handles sales for the city of New Iberia and St. Martin Parish, among others.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m., at the Iberia Parish Central Library, 445 E. Main St. New Iberia. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Original article published here:

City of Franklin Enters Deal with Firm for Sale of Properties

The City of Franklin is entering into a year-long contract with CivicSource, a company that specializes in selling tax adjudicated properties.
The resolution empowering Franklin Mayor Raymond Harris to execute a contract to such effect was passed Tuesday night at the council meeting.
Ronnie Harris, director of business development for CivicSource, explained that his company will execute the reclamation of owed back taxes on properties in Franklin which have been abandoned or the owners are delinquent. He said they will do this by locating the titleholders of such properties, or if not, by selling the properties at auction, if such properties qualify to be sold.
The fee for those services, Ronnie Harris said they will not collect from the city, rather from the price of the sold properties, the remainder of which proceeds belong to Franklin. If the properties do not go to auction or get sold through other means, Franklin will recoup the taxes that are owed and have remained unpaid.
Ronnie Harris said they are able to provide this service through securing title insurance on the properties that they sell. This, they say, is the difference between an abandoned property becoming an unsafe, financial and civic blight, or being afforded a second life through the surety that comes with title insurance, and so, new ownership.
In short, he said Franklin benefits in either regard. If the property owner is found and wishes to retain the property, then Franklin will reclaim the delinquent taxes and penalties. However, if the titleholder cannot be located or wishes to be free of the property, Franklin receives the proceeds of the sale, less CivicSource’s $5,000 fee, and may begin to collect the owed property taxes on the property anew.
Mayor Harris stated that he thought the partnership was a good one; and before the resolution was put to a council vote, it received the advocacy of Franklin City Attorney Russell J. Cremaldi.
In addition to the contract with CivicSource, the city’s Christmas parade contest and Christmas lighting contest winners were announced.
The recipients of first place residence awards were announced by district:
A: Gretchen Brennan
B: Edwin Bonin
C: Robin Ecuers
D: Audrey Depass.
The winner of the first place award for business lights was: Franklin Glass and Mirror, and the winner of first place in the golf cart lighting contest was the Franklin Rotary.
In other news, Alan Offner, with Foley and Judell, L.L.P, discussed with the council, the status of funding for the city’s sewer plant renovation project.
Offner said that 30 percent of the cost for the project will be covered by the parish, and that the rest, according to Reid Miller with Miller Engineers, is expected to come to $2,285,000. The project is expected to be underway by late March or early April.
Lastly, Pastor Allen R. Randle Sr. of Lighthouse Missionary Baptist Church, introduced the council to his invention, The Swing Thing.
Randle demonstrated the operation of the baseball training aid by modeling it, and passed one around for inspection.
He announced that he will be offering an hour-long clinic in the correct operation and benefits of the training aid, Thursday at Caffrey Park from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.


Original article published here:

Facing eviction, New Orleans Resident gets unprecedented offer to save her home

November 9, 2017 (New Orleans) – For local resident Ms. Betty Ann Johnson keeping ownership of her family’s 1969 two-story wood frame home hasn’t been an easy road. The original structure was weak due to shoddy work and contractor fraud, but was exacerbated after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc with flood waters entering the home. Once retired, there wasn’t spare cash to make the necessary repairs, and she fell behind on her property taxes. “I understand the importance of paying taxes I just ran out of resources because of various challenges, said Ms. Johnson, “Today is a blessing, my home is being saved and repaired.”

For any repairs to begin on the house, Rebuild Together New Orleans required the delinquent property taxes be paid in full.   On October 26th from a most unlikely source, Ms. Betty’s prayers were answered.  The NTLA Foundation, a non-profit who saves elderly or disabled homeowners from property tax foreclosure, paid the delinquent taxes.  Beyond saving Ms. Betty’s homeownership, volunteers from the NTLA Foundation, CivicSource and Rebuild Together New Orleans spent a day of service painting, removing moldy drywall, and prepping the home for a new roof.   Collectively, they raised over $20,000 to make the necessary repairs.

“The NTLA Foundation was formed to help the elderly and disabled avoid property tax foreclosure by paying off their back taxes,” said NTLA’s Executive Director Brad Westover. “We can’t solve all the world’s problems, but it sure feels great to save the homes of some wonderful people in need.”

Recipient applications are available to members of the National Tax Lien Association or through Tax Collectors and Treasurers from the 30 states that sell delinquent taxes to the private sector.

The National Tax Lien Association (NTLA) was founded in 1997 as a nonprofit professional trade organization for the tax lien industry. It is dedicated to representing the interest of local governments, investors, lenders and service providers in regard to tax lien sales, as well as promoting the benefit of those sales as reliable income for municipal, county, and some state budgets. The NTLA also provides networking and training for those in the tax lien industry. More information on the association can be found at or

Article originally published here:

Baton Rouge properties up for auction Wednesday after owners fail to pay taxes

East Baton Rouge holds auctions the first Wednesday of each month to sell property seized when the owners did not pay their taxes.

Properties are up for auction on Wednesday, Nov. 1, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Click here to see a list of available properties.

The city partnered with CivicSource, a New Orleans-based company that allows prospective buyers to place bids online for tax adjudicated properties, many abandoned and blighted.

By law, the government can hold an auction once someone puts down a deposit, typically $850. The city then advertises the sale, puts it on the block and sells it to the highest bidder.

The winning bid covers the price of the title, closing cost and title insurance. The person who pays the deposit gets the money back if he or she doesn’t win the auction.

More information and a list of adjudicated property for sale is available at

Article originally published here:

CivicSource to hold regional info session

CivicSource will hold a community information session on purchasing tax-adjudicated real estate in Northwest Louisiana at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 17 at the Vernon Parish Fairgrounds Auditorium, 276 HM Stevens Blvd in Leesville.

Comprehensive training on all aspects of purchasing adjudicated properties, including how to acquire title insurance, will be covered. The event is free and open to the public.

All adjudicated properties for sale at went unsold in a previous tax sale.

Taxing authorities across Northwest Louisiana, including Vernon Parish Police Jury, the City of Leesville, Natchitoches Parish, and the City of Natchitoches auction these tax-delinquent properties online through

By hosting the sale online, bidders who would normally be unable to attend the auction in person are able to participate from their homes or places of business. The sales return blighted, abandoned or tax-delinquent properties to commerce while regenerating significant annual tax revenues to the parish. 

Visit to view a complete listing of qualified tax-distressed adjudicated properties or to nominate properties for auction through a deposit of $850.

The properties are listed for $0 plus closing costs. Both commercial and residential properties are available for purchase.

To RSVP for the upcoming information session on purchasing adjudicated properties, visit

Article originally posted here:

CivicSource featured on Out to Lunch

Virtually Real
October 5, 2017

From the beginning of recorded history we’ve  had a fascination with the blurred lines between the real world and the supernatural world. Greek gods and Hindu gods were described as humans with superpowers who lived in other dimensions and interacted with people on Earth. In biblical times, an all-powerful but invisible God granted some humans super powers, like parting seas and feeding multitudes. In our own times we’ve continued to blur the lines between the real and non-real worlds. We’ve created a non-real online world where a regular person can have a whole different persona – on places like Facebook. We can strap on goggles and walk, swim and even fly, in what we call virtual reality. And when it comes to business, we’re coming to accept the blurred line between transactions that happen in the online world and real world as perfectly normal.

Peter’s lunch guests are both on the cutting edge of this blurred line – if in fact a blurred line can have a cutting edge.

Stephen Morel

Stephen Morel is Chief Legal Officer at a company called CivicSource. CivicSource takes real world houses that are blighted – or what they call “tax-distressed” – and puts them online where they are auctioned and sold. You can find CivicSource here in Louisiana,  as well as Tennessee, Mississippi and Missouri. Since 2008 CivicSource has sold over 37,000 pieces of property.

Matt Findley

Matt Findley is President and Voice of Reason at inXile Entertainment. inXile is one of the most influential and successful creators of online games in the country. They’re responsible for titles like The Mage’s Tale, The Bard’s Tale, and Wasteland. If you play video games you’re already impressed. If you’ve never heard of any of this, you’re going to be impressed by the multi millions of dollars involved and the unique crowdfunding business model that inXile has pioneered.

Matt Findley, Stephen Morel, Peter Ricchiuti

Photos at Commander’s Palace by Alison Moon.

Original article and live recording found here:

Baton Rouge properties up for auction Wednesday, including 11-site bundle, after owners fail to pay taxes

East Baton Rouge holds auctions the first Wednesday of each month to sell property seized when the owners did not pay their taxes.

Properties are up for auction on Wednesday, Oct. 4, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Click here to see a list of available properties.

The city partnered with CivicSource, a New Orleans-based company that allows prospective buyers to place bids online for tax adjudicated properties, many abandoned and blighted.

By law, the government can hold an auction once someone puts down a deposit, typically $850. The city then advertises the sale, puts it on the block and sells it to the highest bidder.

The winning bid covers the price of the title, closing cost and title insurance. The person who pays the deposit gets the money back if he or she doesn’t win the auction.

More information and a list of adjudicated property for sale is available at