Did this person only pay $5k for this house on this list? See details?

This website shows the results of a tax sale that took place in 2020 in the county where I live in the state of Maryland:


If you look under "owner name" for the name "Dawe, Dorothy," it says the bid amount on her property was $120,000, but the sale amount is listed as $5,060.71. There is also a "balance of bid" listed, which is the "bid amount" minus the "sale amount," but at the top it also says "Balance of Bids are only applicable if the bidder has received the Final Judgment to take title to the property from the Circuit Court Judge."

Question: does this mean that the bidder would have had to pay the entire $120,000 in order to take the title/take posession of the property, or would they only have had to pay the "sale amount"? Otherwise why is there even a "sale amount" listed and what does it mean?

I'm asking because I had been interested in that particular property for awhile and I didn't even know until a few days ago that this tax sale auction had taken place, or that the property was part of it. I was planning to write a letter to the property address asking the bidder if they want to resell the property for a profit (assuming that the "sale amount" of $5060.71 is all that they paid for it). But if they actually would have had to pay $120,000, then I am not willing or able to pay anywhere near that amount and I would refrain from writing the letter. So hopefully someone who reads this can tell me.


I would actually be relieved if they would have had to pay the $120k because at least I will know that they did not only pay around $5k for a house that I really wanted to buy

4 Answers

  • 7 days ago

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  • 1 month ago

    These are tax sales!!!! In Maryland if someone is deliquent on their taxes, the taxing authority can sell the debt for the amount the person is delinquent. Then bidders are bidding for the debt, not the house. 

    Once they own the debt they attempt to collect the debt from the owner and have to go thru a series of steps to attempt to collect the money and only if all this fails can they then foreclose on the property but they often don't even bother (if they foreclose then the debt will very likely get paid off and they'll actually make less money for more work - though they probably get paid sooner).

    Virtually all of these debts are eventually redeemed by the owner or new buyer and the person buying the debt gets paid back plus interest and fees, but its very rare for one of these debts to actually go all the way to foreclosure (at least for these tiny amounts).In fact, often the winning bidder will simply put a lien on the title and wait to get paid off when the house sells (for the new owner to clear the title).

    These people are not buying houses for $20 dollars each.

  • 1 month ago

    If he won the bid at $120k, then that is what it sold for, plus taxes, etc.  The $5,060.71 sale amount sounds like it is what the person paid and the rest is owed - the balance.  They don't give you long to pay so pay the balance soon.  Many auctions, you have to pay it all on the spot.

  • 1 month ago

    Take a look at the last column. It says "balance of bid". One item shows balance of bid to be zero dollars and the others show a balance due. At the auctions I have been to for real estate there is a stipulation about how much money must be paid of the bid amount and when. For example 10% payment on day of auction and remainder due in ninety days. So to secure the sale it appears 5060 dollars was paid with the balance remaining to be paid at a later date.

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