The simple answer to “What's a tax lien?” is: It's an obligation a delinquent taxpayer has to the local government (typically a county or other local municipality) to pay past-due taxes on property.
These liens are offered for sale to investors, typically at a government auction. By law, the local government must collect the money needed to provide local government services from each property owner.
What is a Tax Lien and Is It Safe?
For the investor, this system provides a safe, secure and predictable investment in government-issued tax lien certificates with maximum annual interest rates, set by the state government, which can be 18% or more annually.
When investing, you are making an investment secured by the real estate on which the taxes are due.
If the delinquent taxes are not paid you can get possession of the property for only the past due taxes and fees… basically for pennies on the dollar!
That means that if you bought a tax lien certificate and the property taxes are not paid, you could end up owning the property for just the back taxes and fees owed to the local government.
So, what is a tax lien? It's considered by many to be the safest investment you can m
The Attorney's Secret to Investing in Tax Lien Certificates is the most comprehensive course we could find offered at an affordable price, which is why it's our choice as the best overall tax lien investing course.
- Comprehensive curriculum
- Reasonably priced
- Online research center
- Money-back guarantee
- Doesn't cover five of the tax lien certificate states
The Attorney's Secrets to Investing in Tax Lien Certificate offers a comprehensive curriculum on the ins and outs of tax lien investing using context-based learning methods to drive the content home. Offered at an affordable price of $249 with a 30-day money-back guarantee, Attorney's Secret makes our list as the best overall tax lien investing course.
The course comes with an audio CD guidebook containing six hours of detailed instruction. The audio CD guidebook follows along with a 240-page course book that provides step-by-step information, including all aspects of finding, researching, selecting, and purchasing tax lien certificates.
The course creator is Darius Barazandeh, a licensed attorney and real estate investor. His is the only course we found that emphasizes the legal and financial pitfalls of tax lien investing. Attorney's Secrets devotes half the course discussing the full spectrum of risk issues, including economic, legal, and asset protection risks, along with step-by-step details on how to avoid them.
The course also provides you with a seven-page, step-by-step action plan to take you from learning to doing, using a proven process. You'll have access to an online research center to conduct tax lien research by county.
Attorneys' Secret also includes legal and investment analysis for 27 tax lien certificate states with detailed analysis of each state's investment climate, filing deadlines, foreclosure rules, tax sales registration rules, and unfavorable laws.
Attorney's Secret is as comprehensive a course on tax lien investing as you will find. The course comes with six months of phone or email access to the instructor for follow-up coaching.
BEST FOR COMMUNITY SUPPORTBiggerPockets.com
While BiggerPockets.com is not a course per se, it has plenty of learning resources and an active community of two million real estate investors, making it our choice as the best tax lien course for community support.
- Massive community of tax lien investors
- Plentiful content, tools, and resources
- Engage with experienced investors
- Fresh insights on real-world tax lien issues
- Reasonable membership costs
- Not a structured course
Often, the best way to learn about a complex topic is from others who are actively participating in the arena. BiggerPockets.com offers content, tools, and a community of members with valuable tips on getting started in tax lien investing while avoiding costly mistakes.
The mission of BiggerPockets is to help ordinary people build wealth through real estate. Specifically, they want to help one million of its members to build $1 million in wealth—and they're well on their way with a membership base over two million. BiggerPockets has a vast library of resources to assist investors in all aspects of real estate investing. But its most valuable resource is the community of experienced investors, who are willing and able to help others through their experience and insight.
To engage with the tax lien investing community, you can simply type “tax liens” in the search box and up pops dozens of threads covering a range of tax lien investing topics. You'll find active conversations on everything from the best way to learn about tax lien certificates to how to win more profitable bids. Best of all, the conversations can get very granular, talking about state- or even country-specific rules and processes.
The cost to become a community member with full access to the forums and blogs is $39 a month. However, you can dip into some tax-lien-related conversations to see what they're about by Googling “BiggerPockets tax liens” or some other variation. The search will reveal several threads on the subject.
By becoming a member, you can ask your own questions and receive responses from the community. Even if you plan to learn about tax lien investing through some other method, the BiggerPockets community is invaluable for getting more specific information.
BEST FOR CERTIFICATIONNational Tax Lien Association University
For investors who want to be recognized as a certified tax lien professional, the National Tax Lien Association's Certified Tax Lien Professional Program is the industry standard, making it our pick as the best tax lien investing course for certification.
- Extensive educational resources
- Sets industry standard for assessing knowledge of tax lien sales
- Access to institutional investor program
- Access to experienced tax lien investors
- Certification is a bit pricey
- Certification requires travel to workshops and conferences
While it's not necessary to be certified to invest in tax liens, it can give you more options for ways to develop in the business. Plus, the educational resources and training provided by the National Tax Lien Association (NTLA) are top-notch, with excellent networking opportunities.
Founded in 1997, the NTLA is a non-profit trade organization for the tax sale industry, representing investors, lenders, service providers, and local and state governments regarding tax lien sales. In addition to its educational and training resources available to anyone, it provides advanced education courses for those who want to become a Certified Tax Lien Professional (CTLP).
The CTLP program consists of a rigorous curriculum to prepare candidates to sit for a credentialing exam. Besides completing the course work at NTLA University, the program requires participation in additional NTLA webinars and workshops, attending NTLA conferences and symposiums, and completing a case study or an industry-related charity project.
In addition to preparing you to invest safely in tax lien certificates, CTLP certification allows you to invest through NTLA's institutional investor program for a more passive approach to tax lien investing.
The cost of certification for NTLA non-members is $995 or $795 for members. The cost of NTLA membership is $500 annually.
BEST FOR STATE SPECIFICUdemy
Udemy consistently produces quality investment education courses. Its course on Investing in Real Estate Tax Lien Certificates in Florida is no different, making it our top pick as the best state-specific tax lien investing course.
- Great introductory course
- Highly rated instructor
- Low cost
- Money-back guarantee
- Limited to one state
All tax lien investing is state- or even county-specific, and Florida is target-rich for tax lien sales. Because Florida employs online tax lien certificate auctions, it's easy for anyone in the U.S. to participate. The Udemy instructor is a life-long resident of Florida who has taught more than 1,800 students, earning a 4.3 rating.
The course includes 2.5 hours of on-demand video consisting of 12 sections and 34 lectures. Students have lifetime access to all course material, including three downloadable resources. The course explores all the ins and outs of tax lien investing in Florida through a case study and visits to actual auction websites. It costs $24.99.
The course may not be as extensive as other tax lien investing courses on this list, but for the price, it's a small investment of time and money to get solid introductory instruction on the topic.
Finding a tax lien investing course that is all about delivering quality and comprehensive instruction without resorting to upselling to a more expensive course can be difficult. But Attorney's Secret to Investing in Tax Lien Certificates does just that at an all-inclusive cost of $249 with a money-back guarantee, which is why we selected it as the best overall tax lien investing course.
We also like that it devotes half its extensive curriculum to the legal and financial pitfalls, which is extremely valuable for investors. It's one of the very few courses covering the rules and processes for 19 tax lien certificate states.
Compare the Tax Lien Investing Courses
|Course||Cost||Guarantee||Learning Method||Student Support|
|Attorney's Secret Best Overall||$249||30-day money-back||Audio CD guidebook, 240-page coursebook||6-month access to instructor via email and phone|
|BiggerPockets.com Best for Community Support||$39 per month||None||Resource library, interaction with community members||Massive community of interactive members|
|National Tax Lien Association Best for Certification||$995 for non-members||None||On-demand courses, workshops, and conferences||Access to instructors and mentors|
|Udemy Best for State Specific||$24.99||30-day money-back||On-demand course, downloadable resources||Email access to instructor|
What to Look for in a Tax Lien Investing Course
The first thing to consider in choosing a tax lien investing course is the curriculum. Is it comprehensive? Will it teach you what you need to know to start investing in tax liens? Is there student support from the instructor or mentors?
The second key component is the expertise and track record of the instructor. The instructor should have the experience to provide critical insights. The third component is the compatibility of the teaching method with your learning preferences and schedule availability.
Cost is also a consideration and any tax lien courses try to upsell you to courses that can cost $20,000 or more. While tax lien investing has the potential to produce substantial returns, you first need to test the waters. Combining a lower-cost course with your own research might be a better way to go.