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The Sale of Distressed Properties and the Role of Renew Indianapolis

Distressed Property Sale

In Indiana and Indianapolis distressed properties are sold through a variety of channels and it could get a little confusing if you are looking to buy one of those properties. We’ll walk through each stage of a property’s sale and where the Renew Indianapolis Land Bank plays it’s part to help unlock the value of problem properties and convert them into assets for community revitalization.

Tax Sale

Marion County holds a tax lien auction every October for the properties that are in tax foreclosure due to nonpayment of their property taxes. Typically, the list of properties to be auctioned is published in the newspaper and listed on the Treasurer’s website.

The minimum bid is the amount of taxes, fees, and fines owed, which, in some cases, may exceed the market value of the property. The winning bidder is not technically buying the property, but rather a tax sale certificate. 

If all taxes, fines, and fees due on the property are not paid by the original owner within a year, then the winning bidder can exchange it for a tax deed, granting them ownership. However, if the original property owner settles their account within the year redemption period then the tax sale certificate holder gets their bid money back plus interest. It’s important to note that bidders, even the winning bidder, may not trespass on a property offered at the tax sale until they receive a tax deed.

County Surplus Auctions

For the properties not purchased at the tax sale noted above, the original owner still receives the 120-day redemption period to clear all fines and penalties. Though if those remain unpaid, the property is awarded to Marion County via a lien.

Marion County holds surplus auctions four times a year to auction these properties. Any back taxes, fines, and fees are wiped out and the minimum bid is set by the County, often starting at $500. Buyers are awarded the properties via a quitclaim deed, though the title may be clouded by various liens, mortgages, judgments, etc. The winning bidder typically takes ownership of the property within a month or two after the auction. Similar to the tax sale auction, surplus bidders, even the winning bidder, may not trespass on a property offered at the sale until they take ownership.

For more information on the tax or surplus auctions contact the Marion County Treasurer’s office

Renew Indianapolis’ Role

Currently, many of the properties that are offered but not sold at the tax sale are acquired from Marion County by the City of Indianapolis’ Department of Metropolitan Development. These are most of the properties that are sold through the Renew Indianapolis Land Bank. When the city takes these properties back, taxes and city liens are wiped out. Approved buyers typically close through title companies, which allows them to get title insurance, thus minimizing liabilities and risks.

Once the Renew Indianapolis Land Bank takes ownership of these properties. We convert vacant, abandoned, and tax-delinquent properties into productive use, transferring them to new, responsible owners. From weed‐choked lot to a thriving business, abandoned building to brightly lit home, we Renew Indianapolis one space at a time.

If you’re interested in buying one of these properties, start the process.

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