Basic Investing Insights

Insider Tips for Oklahoma Tax Deed Sales Success

Rachel Seidensticker
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Introduction to Oklahoma Tax Deed Sales

Oklahoma offers a ripe landscape of investment opportunities for both seasoned and beginner investors. 

It is widely known for offering real estate acquisitions at below-market pricing. However, it's important to note that Oklahoma is a tax deed state. This means there are several essential rules you need to know to understand the risks and potential of this investment.

Luckily, Tax Sales Resources brings years of experience and extensive tax sale records to provide valuable insights. 

So, let’s dive into the basics of investing in tax deed sales in Oklahoma, and the various processes involved.

The Basics of Oklahoma Tax Deed Sales

To begin, let’s take a moment to review the basics of Oklahoma’s tax deed sales.  

What Are Tax Deed Sales in Oklahoma?

Tax deed sales are known as tax deed auctions. Simply put, these are auctions that take place after a homeowner has not paid their property taxes for three years despite warnings. The county treasurer holds an auction that awards the highest bidder with a tax deed.

How Oklahoma Tax Deed Auctions Work

Oklahoma tax deed sales are held in person. It is a true bidding process in which you typically pre-register during a registration period, show up on the day, and are given a paddle. 

This paddle is for you to raise during the bidding process, as is the case in every standard auction. Bids can only be placed in minimum increments of $100.

It’s important to note that this is a deed sale, There are many other sales in the state, so be sure that you locate the correct one. It is also called a resale tax sale. 

Differences Between Tax Deed Sales and Tax Lien Sales in Oklahoma

Oklahoma is a tax deed state, so there is no tax lien procedure. In tax lien states, the original owner is able to pay the investor back and obtain ownership of the property once more. In tax deed states, once the tax deed is provided to the highest bidder, they own the property and have responsibility for it.  

Oklahoma Tax Deed Laws and Regulations

Steps in the Oklahoma Tax Deed Sale Process

In Oklahoma, the tax deed laws and regulations should be carefully considered before attempting to bid. 

As mentioned above, since it is a tax deed state, you are responsible for the property once you win the bid. The tax deed is not a warranty deed; it is a buyer beware, and you should clear the title with an attorney’s help to have a marketable title for the property.

After securing the deed, there are a few steps that you should take. Once you are given the deed, so long as the previous owner doesn’t come forward before you’re given it, you should consult with an attorney. You will want to go through a quiet title action in order to ensure that there aren’t any tie-ups and the previous owners had been contacted by the treasury before it was auctioned.

Once you have received a clear title, you are in possession of the property and can move forward with your plans.

Key Legal Considerations for Oklahoma Tax Deed Investors

When it comes to legal considerations, like the Tyler vs. Hennepin ruling, Oklahoma doesn’t have any restrictions and isn’t affected by this as other states are. 

The only thing to note is that you are getting that buyer-beware bid, which translates to some risk. 

You have to do your due diligence to ensure the title is clear, or else you can be on the hook for repercussions.

You should also be on the lookout for federal IRS-type liens, municipal fines and liens. These traditionally aren’t wiped out. You can check for this; however, not all counties will have a tax list.

How to Buy a Tax Deed Property in Oklahoma?

Most of the Oklahoma tax deed sales are listed on the state’s website. You can also find the Oklahoma sales from within our Research application.

Once you find an auction you’d like to attend, the process is pretty seamless. You will have a pre-registration period where you can sign up to attend. Typically, this is a one month period before the auction takes place.

The tax deed auctions in this state are always live, in-person events. In terms of day-of auction preparation, make sure that you arrive earlier to have time to settle yourself, get everything in order, and get your paddle for bidding.

You need to have all your funds with you and readily available. All payments will be required the same-day of the sale. This payment can be made either in cash or with a cashier’s check via a trust (set up during registration). You are not able to leave an auction and come back. You must stay throughout the entire auction to be granted your bid.

Researching Properties in Oklahoma Tax Deed Sales

From our research, it seems most people are concerned about Oklahoma being in tornado alley, and therefore, unknowingly bidding on properties that are in bad shape. It’s important to know that’s not the case. Oklahoma isn’t a part of Tornado Alley’ however, it is vital to any sale – lien or tax deed – that you conduct due diligence beforehand. 

You should be looking for things like flooding, environmental hazards, and other weather-related patterns that can signal property troubles.  

When it comes to assessing property value and potential returns, this due diligence will pay off. You’ll be able to infer if something is worthless or vacant land.

Bidding Strategies for Oklahoma Tax Deed Sales

The bidding strategies for Oklahoma tax deed sales is something to be careful about, just as you should in any other state. 

The fact that these auctions happen on the same day and are live can be a potential snag as you’ll have to bring your cash with you. 

This means planning ahead and estimating the right figures you’ll need available to you at the time of purchase. So, be sure that you have enough or you will likely not be as successful with your bidding. 

Additionally, if you are pre-registering, you can place a specific amount of cash you want to have at the time of bidding in a trust. This is a deposit trust and can be used on auction day. Again, this means insightful planning on your part.

Outside of those common pitfalls, once you secure your deed, you will pay in cash or via a trust, and be ready to move into the next phase – quiet title action. 

This will be when you get an attorney involved to make sure that everything is cleared and you have a marketable title. 

This will allow you to get title insurance for your property. This legal process is an administrative one and so long as nobody comes forward to claim the property, you own it. If someone does come forward, or the current owner makes good before your deed is handed to you, then the sale is null and void. 

Remember that in Oklahoma, there isn’t a redemption period, but this is a rule that stands during the same day before you receive your deed

Post-Auction Steps and Property Acquisition

Once you win the bid, it’s time for payment and paperwork. The payment is to be given in cash at the time of the sale. You are unable to leave to get cash. Once paid, any unused funds will be returned to you through a refund check one week from the sale. 

According to the Oklahoma County Treasurer, a  successful bid will include: the amount bid and any cost, abstract fee, and resale advertising. 

Once the property is auctioned, the sale stops. The highest bidder pays the cash, and the sale continues until transactions are complete. There is a $10.00 fee for each deed issued and an additional fee of $22.00 for any additional filing. 

The receipts must be sent to the County Treasurer’s Office before the recorded deed is given. 

As far as reselling, the law requires that all property is sold for ”a sum not less than two-thirds of the assessed value of such real estate as fixed for the current fiscal year, or for the total amount of taxes, penalties, interest and cost due on such property, whichever is the lesser.”

Maximizing Returns from Oklahoma Tax Deed Investments

Now that the bidding process and transaction is complete, congratulations, you’re the owner of a new property. There’s plenty of options available to you and of course, the decision on what to do with the property is an individual decision. 

You can sell the property as is with an insurable title, or you can do a remodel to increase value and then resell. There’s no wrong way of going about this. 

At Tax Sale Resources, we believe in enhancing the community through our purchases. This often involves either handling the remodel ourselves or hiring someone to do it before selling.  That’s not an investment recommendation, just an opinion. 

There are many models you can use. Our Accelerator Program is helpful for those of you that want to learn more. Inside the program you will become familiar with the right strategies to scale your tax sale investing business. 

From expert guidance to research data and access to exclusive capital programs, it’s a great way to set yourself up for success. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How can I finance my Oklahoma tax deed purchases?

At this time, you can finance your Oklahoma tax deed purchases through cash at the time of auction. Or through our in house financing program.

What Are Some Risks Associated with Oklahoma Tax Deed Investing?

The risks associated with Oklahoma tax deed investing are similar to those in other states — the potential for federal liens that don’t get wiped out or a current owner claiming property before you clear your title. 

How Do I Find Oklahoma Tax Deed Sales?

All Oklahoma tax deed sales can be found online in the Tax Sale Resources Research platform. 

Final Thoughts on Oklahoma Tax Deed Sales

Engaging in Oklahoma tax deed sales is a straightforward process if you plan ahead and understand the rules. 

However, be aware that this is a buyer beware auction, and there is inherent risk involved. The deed you receive at the time of sale does not guarantee ownership of the property. You must work with an attorney to initiate a quiet title action to clear the title before obtaining lending or title insurance.

Once you complete this process, you can secure the property and decide whether to remodel or sell it as is. 

Since Oklahoma is not as popular as other states, you can find good, below-market properties. 

Always review legal concerns and conduct thorough due diligence before committing to anything.

Author - Rachel Seidensticker
Rachel Seidensticker
Chief Operations Officer
In the Tax Sale Industry Since 2010
Rachel is responsible for managing and overseeing the daily operations of Tax Sale Resources, which produces data for approximately 8,000 nationwide tax sales yearly. She started in the tax sale industry originally as an investor but decided to change course and team up with her brother (Brian Seidensticker) to build Tax Sale Resources quickly thereafter.

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