First, they make it somewhat more difficult to participate. You must register at least a week before the auction and make a deposit based on the number of properties you intend to bid on. If you don’t make the high bid, the will refund the deposit but still you need to put $1000’s up for at least a couple of weeks; and that is if they return it to you immediately. But maybe this reduces the competition, thus lowering the prices. Good for the ‘investor’, not really so good for taxing entities.
Second, there are so many properties to bid on: Over 25,000 properties in Detroit alone and another 3000 in other towns in the county. That’s right, one auction, 28,000+ properties. That is more than is usually offered in the entire state of Texas in a year.
So is there any opportunity? I was pleasantly surprised at the area I visited; nice mall, busy restaurants, well maintained right of ways, etc. But the area still has a declining population. Finding a deal at a tax auction is a good thing. But does it matter how cheap you buy something if fewer people will need it when you are ready to sell?
Texas is still gaining more jobs and people every year and is forecast to continue that trend for the next couple of decades. I think I’ll keep my focus on Texas.