City officials in New Iberia working to clear 30 blighted properties

NEW IBERIA, La (KLFY) – The City of New Iberia is working to clean blighted properties. 

“It’s time to be a little bit more aggressive. We’ve been fortunate to sell properties through civic source which came to about $50,000. All of those funds were generated from adjudicated property so we are putting it right back into the system,” says Mayor Freddie DeCourt. 

The Mayor has put together a two part plan to tackle almost 30 properties in the city.

“We are tearing down about 12 immediately. This is the first time we bring that many at once and then in phase 2 in the fall, Public Works crews will begin boarding houses that could be saved.” he said. 

Phase 2 will involve 18 other properties throughout the city.

“We don’t want to represent empty lots, we want people. By cleaning these properties up, hopefully the ones that are boarded, we will be able to put back on the market and the ones that we tear down now makes a vacant piece of property that could be developed,” Decourt said.  

Original article found here: https://www.klfy.com/news/local/city-officials-in-new-iberia-working-to-clear-30-blighted-properties/1841010784

Councilwoman to host sessions about acquiring adjudicated property

Metro Councilwoman Chauna Banks is hosting information sessions on how to acquire property in East Baton Rouge Parish. The event is free and open to the public. The meeting will include details on getting title insurance and paying the outstanding taxes.

The second session will be at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 28, at Louisiana Leadership Institute, 5763 Hooper Road, Baton Rouge.

The goal is to help bring new life to blighted, abandoned or tax-foreclosed properties, according to a news release. Agency representatives will present five unconventional pathways to acquire these properties. Both residential and commercial investors will learn how to purchase tax-delinquent assets by attending these informational.

A list of invited agencies and programs:

  • East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office sale, a public auction of property repossessed to satisfy an unpaid obligation.
  • Parish Attorney’s Office, which handles the sale of adjudicated properties through public bids and donations.
  • CivicSource, a company partnered with the city-parish to offer an online process for the sale of adjudicated property in excess of five years.
  • Mow to Own Program, which allows certain parties to avoid the public bidding and receive a preference in making an offer to purchase adjudicated properties in excess of three years.
  • East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority, which has the ability to acquire and quickly clear title to tax sale and adjudicated properties.

For information, contact the District 2 office at (225) 389-8331 or email cbanks@brla.gov.​​

Original article found here: https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/communities/zachary/article_8efef842-24c8-11e9-aadd-1353b9410e2c.html

Want to buy a property seized for back taxes? Firm to show you how at meeting in Donaldsonville

DONALDSONVILLE — City officials are launching an online system to auction properties in the city’s hands because of unpaid back taxes.

CivicSource, the contractor running the online auction system, is set to explain the process during a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday inside the City Council Chambers, 609 Railroad Ave.

CivicSource officials will offer training on buying adjudicated properties, including how to acquire title insurance, according a statement by the firm.

CivicSource, which is based in New Orleans, has operated the same online auction for Ascension Parish government since 2017.

The company said its services help restore revenue to local governments by bringing properties back to the tax rolls.

CivicSource’s statement said all adjudicated properties for sale on its website had previously gone unsold at a tax sale and have not had back taxes redeemed.

The company said it specializes in “digitized due diligence, ensuring all homeowners, heirs, and persons of interest affiliated with a tax-delinquent property have been adequately notified” before the property is sold.

Those planning to attend can RSVP at events.civicsource.com.

Original article found here: https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/communities/ascension/article_975d7ebc-fe5a-11e8-94ba-2335c4a04e98.html4ba-2335c4a04e98.html

Police Jury heads in right direction on blighted property

Abandoned, blighted property is a huge drain on a community. Not only does it look bad when an unused building falls into disrepair or a vacant lot gets overgrown, it costs the community money. Sometimes that cost is in maintenance or repairs the government has to invest to prevent a safety hazard. Other times it is the lost tax revenue from the property.

Earlier this week, the Rapides Parish Police Jury’s Parochial Board Liaison and Legal Committee approved contracting with Civic Source, a New Orleans-based company that specializes in auctions of tax-distressed real estate on behalf of parishes and municipalities across the state. The issue will need approval from the full Police Jury before it takes effect.

We see this as a good move and encourage jurors to support the proposal.

A current estimate put the number of adjudicated properties in the parish at about 4,000. “If we put 100 to 200 pieces of property back into use, where somebody is paying taxes on them and somebody is maintaining them, that’s a win,” said Police Jury legal counsel Greg Jones.

But wait, some may say, if the government can seize property for failure to pay, why don’t they just auction it themselves? Why engage an outside company? Isn’t that what Sheriff’s sales are for?

Short answer, yes, governments can do it themselves. But the problem is, it’s a lot more complicated than one might think and often the seized property doesn’t sell.

Buying property at a tax sale is inherently risky. Governing bodies do their best to find the property owners, or the rightful heirs in cases where the property owner has died, but its not that uncommon for a property to be sold and then the rightful heir or owner comes forward.

Under Louisiana law, there is a three year window in which the property could be reclaimed. So buyers have that issue to deal with. But even if that isn’t a problem, real estate acquired through tax sales can face title issues. And if a buyer can’t secure a clear title they are less likely to buy the property.

Doing all of the necessary due diligence work on the front end is costly and time consuming. Contracting with a company that specializes in such minutia and has an established reputation with other communities in the state makes sense. Larger areas, including New Orleans, Lake Charles and Shreveport, have chosen to use Civic Source as well.

Using an established broker hosting online auctions also expands the base of potential buyers. There are many regional and national investors who look for tax sales and are willing to take the risk of purchasing a property for the past due taxes in the hopes that they can fix it up and sell it at a profit. That’s a win-win, for the investor and for the community that sees its property values increase and the government regains its recurring tax revenue. Sites that aggregate tax sales are a natural place those investors will check regularly. And, with the online auction system, potential buyers initiate the sale and cover associated costs — so the process costs local governments and taxpayers nothing.

In Shreveport, which last year had an estimated 1,000 adjudicated properties when they contracted with Civic Source, the estimate was $250,000 in new revenue from the program. With the financial challenges currently facing Rapides Parish, bringing in outside expertise to help get blighted property back into productive use and generating revenue without adding to the burden of local taxpayers sounds like a good plan.

Original article found here: https://www.thetowntalk.com/story/opinion/2018/07/08/editorial-police-jury-heads-right-direction-blighted-property/763741002/

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: https://www.stmarynow.com/news/city-enters-deal-firm-sale-properties

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 civicsource.com.

Article originally published here: http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/article_3dee4b62-bf05-11e7-9bf4-5f8acdcd28fc.html

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 civicsource.com.

Avoyelles Police Jury Tax Sale Property Meeting Generates Interest

Potential buyers learn process of online auction

About a dozen potential buyers attended an informational meeting on the Avoyelles Parish Police Jury’s new program to sell adjudicated — or “tax sale” — properties on its books.

At this time, there are five sites listed on the CivicSource website seeking potential bidders. One of the five has attracted at least one interested party who has put up an $850 deposit to get the process moving. That parcel is on Boggy Bayou Road near Marksville.

Beau Byers, a real estate attorney with CivicSource, said the company was created following Hurricane Katrina when many property owners in the New Orleans area abandoned their storm-damaged homes.

CivicSource helped to track down property owners to pursue tax payments and to help taxing authorities sell the abandoned properties. The company now helps parish and municipal governments around Louisiana and in a few other states to sell adjudicated properties and return them to the tax rolls.

Police Jury President Charles Jones said the parish “just wants to dispose of our adjudicated property. We want to stop having to cut the grass on these little lots around the parish and return the property to the tax rolls.”

Byers said adjudicated properties are those parcels that did not sell at a sheriff’s tax sale for five years and the taxes are still delinquent. At that time, the properties are turned over to the parish to manage. The five Avoyelles Parish properties have all been under Police Jury control for at least 10 years.

Byers said CivicSource sells title insurance with each piece of property it sells. That ensures the buyer has clear title to the property and that a long-lost heir won’t show up and stake a claim to the property. CivicSource tracks down all known heirs as part of its pre-auction work.

FIGHTS BLIGHT & CRIME

Abandoned houses not only look bad but can attract illegal activities, Byers said. For that reason, this program not only returns property to commerce and removes a cost and responsibility from the local government, it also fights blight and crime.

The average starting cost of a piece of property is $4,800, Byers said. That cost has little to do with the size of the parcel or its market value. It reflects the cost of tracking down heirs and completing all necessary paperwork for the sale.

Before a property is put up for auction, it has to be “nominated” by a potential buyer who is willing to submit an $850 deposit. If that person wins the auction, the deposit is applied toward the final cost. If he loses, the deposit is refunded. If he or any other bidder does not bid at least enough to cover all closing costs, he forfeits the deposit and can be banned from participating in future auctions.

CivicSource Investor Relations Manager Madelyn Duran said the Police Jury has 70 potential parcels of property to put up for auction.

The process takes about three months from the time a deposit is submitted to put the property up for auction to the day of the online auction. Most of that time is legally mandated waiting periods to give potential heirs time to respond.

Should an heir come forward with an interest to retain the property, they would be given an opportunity to redeem the property. If that happens, the deposit will be returned to the potential bidder.

Byers said the property still technically belongs to the previous owner. The parish merely maintains it. However, once the process is finished the previous owner and/or heirs relinquish all rights to the property.

If a parcel with closing costs of $4,800 is sold for a high bid of $10,000, the additional $5,200 would go to the Police Jury. If the closing costs are $4,800 and only one person bids that amount, then the property is essentially purchased for $0 plus closing costs, which is paid to CivicSource.

TITLE INSURANCE

“Title insurance allows you to get a mortgage or a loan to improve that property,” Byers said.

“The property may not seem like it is worth the closing costs of, on average, $4,800,” Duran said. “The investor is not necessarily looking at what that property is worth now, in its current condition, but what it will be worth once improvements are made to it in the future.”

Those interested in participating can go to civicsource.com and click on the adjudicated property tab to view available properties in not only Avoyelles but surrounding parishes.

Adjoining landowners who have maintained the adjudicated parcel for at least a year — such as mow the grass — can purchase the property for the closing costs only and would not have to compete for the property at auction.

Police Juror Marsha Wiley, who is heading the jury’s program, said she was pleased with the interest shown in the meeting.
“This is a way to get property back into the hands of the public and receive taxes for the parish,” she said. “These properties have been off the tax books for at least 10 years. It’s time to do something with them.”

Article originally published here: https://www.avoyellestoday.com/news/avoyelles-police-jury-%E2%80%98tax-sale-property%E2%80%99-meeting-generates-interest

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, Sept. 6, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Click here to see a map 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 civicsource.com.

Article originally published here: http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/article_127e9b3a-929b-11e7-8ad7-0bef2b1948c8.html

Avoyelles Police Jury to Hold Meeting on How to Buy Tax Sale Property

6:30 p.m. Thursday in Mansura AgCenter

For more than 10 years, five parcels of land have sat idle as property of the Avoyelles Parish Police Jury, waiting to be useful again.

The beginning of the end of that wait may be at hand with an informational meeting on how to purchase “tax-adjudicated” real estate, set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 24) at the LSU AgCenter on La. Hwy 1 in Mansura.

The parish has made no use of these tracts and no taxes have been paid to those government entities receiving property taxes for a decade. The Police Jury is making these parcels its first group to be sold because of the length of time since the original owners lost their possession rights.

Earlier this year the Police Jury decided to address the problem of returning “adjudicated property” to the tax rolls by selling them to interested buyers. Representatives of the Assessor’s Office, Sheriff’s Office Tax Division, District Attorney’s Office and Police Jury worked together to research possible options.

The result of that work was a recommendation to hire CivicSource, a New Orleans-based company specializing in online auctions for “tax-distressed real estate.”

In short, Civic Source researches the title and does all the “heavy lifting” to prepare to sell a property that was obtained by a government due to non-payment of taxes.

The Thursday meeting will explain the process to the public and describe the properties going up for auction.

The meeting is open to the public and free of charge. To RSVP, visit events.CivicSource. com. Registration is recommended but not required.

Police Juror Marsha Wiley is heading the jury’s efforts to return tax sale properties to the tax rolls.

‘WIN-WIN SITUATION

“This is a win-win situation for everyone involved,” Wiley said. “The parish gets rid of property that has just been sitting on the books for over 10 years and the buyer gets a piece of property with clear title. This means abandoned properties that have been maintained by the parish for years will be back on the tax rolls and no longer a burden on taxpayers,” she added.

Wiley said she is especially grateful to Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Gaspard, who has worked with adjudicated properties in the past and provided a wealth of legal expertise to ensure the parish was not stepping out on unstable legal ground.

She said CivicSource “does this for a living. They are doing this in other parishes across the state. They do all the legwork, contact all the heirs, etc., and makes sure there is clear title to the property so the buyer does not have to worry about the original owner coming back and reclaiming the property.”

CivicSource conducts adjudicated property auctions in 50 parishes and municipalities in the state, as well as many other out-of-state taxing authorities.

All properties in the auction will have gone unsold in a tax sale and not been redeemed by the original owners. CivicSource ensures all owners, heirs and interested persons affiliated with a tax-delinquent property have been properly notified and given ample opportunity to redeem the property before it qualifies for one of its adjudicated property auctions, a CivicSource spokesperson said.

The five parcels to be discussed are 716 Branch St. in Simmesport and four lots in or near Marksville — one on Boggy Bayou Road, one off Ferdinand Street, one near Deanna Drive and one on Brouillette Street.

$4,800 AVERAGE COST

The auction price for a piece of property begins at $0 plus closing costs. Closing costs vary, but CivicSource spokesperson Molly Richard said the average is $4,800. That includes all of the legal fees involved in obtaining clear title to the property. The past taxes on the property are not included in the closing costs, she said.

The final price of a property depends on the bidders. The Police Jury would receive anything in addition to the closing costs. For example, if closing costs were $4,800 and the high bid was $5,000, CivicSource would receive $4,800 and the parish would receive $200. If the high bid was $10,000, CivicSource would get $4,800 and the parish would get $5,200.
CivicSource’s payment is included in the closing costs. The company does not get paid a commission or percentage of the bid price.

For a property to be placed on the list for auction and for CivicSource to begin its research to prepare it for sale, an interested buyer must make an $850 deposit. That ensures there is at least one person bidding on the property.

If that bidder loses the auction, he gets his deposit back. If he wins, the deposit is applied to the final auction price. If he decides not to bid, he forfeits the deposit. Once a pool of interested buyers has been trained in CivicSource’s process, the technology-driven property auction will occur online at CivicSource.com.

Bidders will be able to research the properties and participate in the auction from anywhere with internet access.

Original article available here: https://www.avoyellestoday.com/news/avoyelles-police-jury-hold-%E2%80%98how-buy-tax-sale-property%E2%80%99-meeting