El Dorado taxes-due property auctioned

Bargain hunters who spend weekends scouring estate and tax-default property auctions may want to mark their calendar for Nov. 7.

That's when 220 time shares will be auctioned off -- some with starting bids as low as $700 -- to anyone in the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors' chambers, 330 Fair Lane in Placerville, at 1:30 p.m.

The annual auction is a means for the county to collect on property taxes that have been delinquent for five years, said C.L. Rafferty, county tax collector.

"Very often, the time share parties say they no longer want the property anymore, that their circumstances have changed and, very often, they just want us to sell it," Rafferty said.

Two months before the auction, the county tax collector sends certified letters to the property owner, mortgage holder and other parties with a financial interest in the property. The letters state that if back taxes are not paid, it will be subject to auction.

The opening bid for all properties at the auction is the amount of what is owed in back taxes, Rafferty said. At a minimum, all the county wants is what it is owed. If a bid goes for more than what the county is owed, the property owner is entitled to it.

There have been cases when the property owner makes good on the back taxes before it goes to auction.

The auction typically attracts about 100 or more bidders on the properties. The bidders can be property owners' family and friends or even time-share company representatives.

"You can get some really good buys if you know what you are looking for," said El Dorado County Supervisor Dave Solaro. "The auction is a way for the county to recoup our tax dollars, and it's a way for folks looking for a good deal."

Of the 300 properties to be auctioned, the majority are time shares on the South Shore, Rafferty said.

If the properties are not sold, the county will sell them by sealed bid, which is more successful than the public auction, Rafferty said. In a seal-bid sale, the county sends out notices to all time-share owners in the county, asking them if they would like to purchase the property.

The success rate for the county in recouping what is owed to them is good, Rafferty said.


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