A Marion man was the most prolific bidder on Friday during a tax sale at Marion County Courthouse.
Of 37 properties whose owners were minimum three years delinquent on property taxes, Marion County retained nine on a minimum bid of $100 and sold 28 for a combined $44,880.
Scott Fisher of Marion was the sale’s biggest spender. He spent $13,250 on eight properties. Fisher said he’s making a foray into property rental.
“Basically I was looking at rentals,” he said. “Maybe investment properties, something I could develop.”
He said he was pleased with his haul.
“These were very good buys,” he said. “One of these they were asking $28,000 for, so I’d say that’s a pretty hefty discount.”
Fisher said he gave himself a $30,000 limit going in, which he stayed well within. However, the spirit of bidding got the best of him at one point.
“One of them was a mistake,” he said, pointing out a property in Lincolnville he purchased for $350. “That’s a $350 mistake; I’m entitled to that. I have no idea what that is.”
Fisher said he researched some of the properties to see what he was buying, but still isn’t sure on all of them. The properties were listed by their legal descriptions, which can be difficult to parse.
“I will drive around and see what I got,” he said. “Some of them were really hard to recognize, so I don’t really know.”
Commercial properties sold at the sale were 202 E. Main St., Marion, formerly Country Lakes Café; and 215 Main St., Florence.
Florence and Peabody accounted for eight of the nine properties that received no bids, as well as seven properties for which the bidding never reached $200.
“It’s not so much about the community, it’s these properties haven’t been paid on or taken care of,” county commission chairman Dan Holub said. “It may have a house on it, but you go over and open the door, slam it, and the thing will cave in.”
Beyond the money garnered from the sale itself, the county also reclaimed some money from original owners thanks to the pressure of the sale.
“When it comes down to this point, people start paying,” Holub said. “They found the money all of a sudden, so we did get some tax dollars back like that.”
Holub said the sale was “typical of what we do” for tax sales.
“There was one or two guys that bought with plans to fix the property up, not just to sit on it and see if somebody wants it for a higher price, which is encouraging,” he said.
He said the county didn’t make all its money back.
“The sad part is, to do this we’ve gotta put money into it,” he said. “We’ve gotta go through Hannaford Associates to get all the paperwork done. That runs about $450 a property.”
The next step for the county to take, he said, is a simple one.
“Start on the next one,” he said. “This is an ongoing process.”