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Monday, June 15, 2009

I Asked Pete Richardson Why So Many Homes Were Up For Tax Sale


You asked the question what is driving so many homes and I assume you also mean properties in to tax sales this year...

The answer is simple..."The economy" . There is no simple answer.

Many people are laid off and some mortgages, especially mortgages written prior to 2000 that were written for less then 70% of value did not combine the cost of the tax payment in the monthly payment. It was considered somewhat of an insult if your local bank required you to pay your taxes monthly...That all changed several years ago..Many people did not budget well...The tax bill came and they could not pay it...... Lots of Landlords have a higher percentage of vacancy's and no pay's then they have ever experienced.......A very secure landlord told me last week he had a garnishment of wages on several tenants who still lived in his houses and he was comfortable with that...He said getting the rent over a period of time was better then no rent at all, and the people in the house took good care of the property...Go Figure........

Remember we are only about 10 months from 4.00 plus gas....The economy is not over that yet..our money is gone, we spent it on gas and heating oil....I don't know all the answers or all the reasons...But I do know this...I have been paying interest and buying, selling and Auctioning properties since 1972 when I finished college...I have paid as high as 21% interest on first mortgages,...I have never experienced an economy like this.....The people in the country are scared. Those that have cash are very cautious about spending their money..The people who have debt are looking at things in a whole new prospective....Never before has everybody in the work force been so uncertain of their future including all Government employees...Municipal, State or Federal...I am very worried about the economy.

Perhaps some of this is a good thing...Hopefully we as a country will learn to control our spending and our debt...I think I am seeing that now....The amount of money charged on credit cards at our personal property auctions has decreased bye 50% compared to last year.

Those of us who live on the Delmarva Peninsula need several things to happen...We need the Resorts to have a big year the last two years have been " Soft"

...I can live with some traffic for 60 or 90 days, for what those " Across the Bay " people spend here their cash is very important to all of us.

We need the price and demand for Chickens to maintain at a break even or better price for the Companies...the growers will get a little more, but everybody will get to work....We need Corn to stay above 4.00 per bu. We need all the Micro Wave and Electronic contracts...that come from all over the world, to land in Salisbury at one of our Electronic companies.

We need all of these things to happen and more ..and then maybe we won't have 750 properties in the Tax sale

Your asked for a simple answer and got a bible....Sorry about that.

The Wicomico County Tax Sales will be held on Wednesday, June 17, 2009, beginning at 10:00 and will be conducted in the Government Office building at room 301, the Council Meeting room.

Normally this sale consist of 200 to 225 properties...As of Thursday June 11, there were still 700 plus properties still on the unpaid list.
This represents over a 1,000,000 in tax dollars due the County.

The early Tax Sale advertisement, stated that buyers must pre-register at the Treasures office. This has been changed.

Buyers are encouraged to pre-register, but there will be registration the morning of the sale.

Registration this year will take longer, I really encourage buyers to pre-register or at least get the forms off line and have them filled out prior to coming the sale.


Registration will begin at 9 am.

The sale will begin at 10 Sharp, the large number of properties to be sold will prevent us from delaying the start of the sale.

We will sell about 100 or so items an hour, last year I think we sold about 115 per hour. The pace of the sale will be very quick. Be ready to bid when the item you want comes up.

All purchases must be paid for the day of the Auction.

The forms that a buyer must fill out in order to register are available on line at When you get to this site on the right side is a slide bar and you will need to scroll down to Tax Sale. Click on this and you will find the registration form. Registered bidders will also be required to fill out a W-9, which is a Federal Form, his is also available at the same web site.

People may ask why do they have to fill out a W-9 before the sale. I asked the same question. I really had questions and doubts about this when I first learned a buyer was going to have to give out tax information prior to buying and item...However, there is good reason. Since almost all of the properties purchased at the tax sale are later redeemed by the owners, the County must send the buyer at the tax sale, the money they paid at the sale and the interest collected. Before they can send the interest they are required bye Federal Law , to have a W-9 filled out. This has become a problem for the County employees. The buyers frequently don't come to the office, or do not mail back the W-9's. All of this takes a lot of the Staff's time. You would think the buyers at the tax sale would want there money back,,,but getting these forms fill out has become an increasingly larger problem each year. My first reaction was...Just keep the money Wicomico County can sure use it...But ...The cost of keeping the money and running the newspaper ads and jumping through all the hoops to keep the money is just not worth doing it. Besides that the County is responsible to return the money and they don't want to screw anybody, Filling out the W-9 prior to sale is a good thing. When a property is redeemed the buyer at the tax sale will receive there return in a shorter period of time and in a very efficient method for the Finance office.

Owners of property in the sale are not permitted to bid on their own properties. The Finance office has devised a system to do a running check during the sale.

IF it is discovered that an owner has purchased their own property at the sale, that parcel will be re-offered either immediately or after all the other properties are sold.

We are not sure what type of attendance we will have at the auction. Normally the room is full at the beginning of the sale. It appears that this sale will have many more properties then in the past , the crowd could be much larger We will have some chairs set up in the Hall set in a safe manner. There will be a bid spotter in the hall if necessary. However, the Daily Times reported that the attendance at the Tax Sales in Worcester and Somerset Counties was not any larger then in the past. Wicomico County is much different, there has always been good attendance at the Tax Sales in this County. I am expecting a large number of people in attendance.

Some people may ask why the location of the sale was not changed. Well, we could use the Court room in the old Court house. But everyone who comes to the sale would have to go through the security system and that would take a long time and delay the start of the sale by at least an hour.

Another thought was to move the entire sale to the Flanders room at the Civic Center. This won't work because of the paper work involved with each sale, the properties must be paid for at the Finance Office and it would be inconvenient for the buyers to purchase a property and then go Downtown. In order for the purchasers to be able to pay for the items while the sale was going on someone from the County would have to make a trip from the Civic Center to the GOB every 6 or 7 minutes.

After this Auction the Finance Department staff and the Auction staff will study ways to eliminate any problems that occur this year.

Going from 200 or so items to having to sell any where from 500 to 700 items is a big jump for the Finance Office Staff and the Auction Staff.
There are things the Finance Staff must do at a tax sale that are much different then a normal Auction. I ask the buyers to work with us and be patient, they will get your paper work done as soon as possible.

We will do all we can to make this a Sale with a good flow and speed. I am asking everyone who can to pay please their taxes before the sale.
We really don't want to have to sell your house.
To the Buyers at the sale.Work with us. Pre Register if you can. The pace of the sale will be fast, Please pay for your items as soon as you are done buying.

I hope everyone has a pleasant day at the Tax Sale .


Pete Richardson


Anonymous said...

Its blood money, enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Let me give you some free advise partner, (security might not be a bad ideal). Your not selling houses, your selling someones broken dreams.

Anonymous said...

Oh please! It's not the auctioneer's fault that he has so many defaulted properties!
People should not borrow more than they can realistically pay back AND they should know what costs are associated with the property INCLUDING THE TAXES! If a lot of these people had followed that, there wouldn't be so many properties up for auction.
SOME of them maybe came from the owners being laid off, in which case is sad, but still not the auctioneers fault.
Most properties that end up in his hands and others like him are properties which knew they were behind and CHOSE not to make the necessary contacts to fix the situation.
I don't know of any mortgage company that will not set up an escrow for taxes and insurance if you ask them to do so. Sadly some don't ask because they "think" they can pay it each year when it comes due rather than thinking about being proactive with their own finances.

joealbero said...

anonymous 10:33, AMEN!

Anonymous said...

Maybe food for their families was more important. There are so many people that have lost their jobs and had nothing to do with it. If this stuff happened to me for reasons I could not control, trust me the third one will show up, have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if Rick Pollitt can get get rid of the tax cap it will help the local economy.Mr Richarson can hire more employees to work the auction,the county can hire more employees to do the paperwork and the taxpayers can pay to rent the civic center.Thats called trickle down, haven"t got the message yet have you Mr Pollitt

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Where can you get a listing of all the properties for sale?

Anonymous said...

I think we need a second American Revolution! Government policy's have brought this upon us! Our jobs were sent out of the country to Mexico, China, and any other third world hell holes! First it was blue collar, then white collar jobs to India and Pakistan. Whatever jobs were left were given to illegals and Mexicans. My job was outsourced to India because I worked in tech support. I am one of many for who are trying to find work for half the wages I used to make. I for one will join that revolution. I will be lucky if I get to keep my house this year. Wages are going down as well as household incomes, but taxes keep going up and services are going down! Lets get the addresses of all local and state officials, and lets have our own "tax" sale!!!!

Anonymous said...

I saw two properties on that list in the newspaper that I am familiar with. I know for a fact that these houses are paid off -they just plain don't pay their taxes. They seem to have money for food and anything the kids want or want to do, but can't pay the taxes. How stupid can a home owner get.