GIRARD — About 60 people showed up Tuesday afternoon at the Crawford County Courthouse with hopes of getting some bargains on property being auctioned off the the county for back taxes.
Jim Emerson, Crawford County counselor, said he has been involved in a number of such auctions over the years. Crawford County tax foreclosure sales are held periodically to collect unpaid real estate taxes.
"This one was pretty typical," he said. The auction got underway at 2 p.m. and lasted about an hour and 15 minutes. Emerson went over the rules of the sale and answered questions from the audience.
"Every property is sold as is, where is with no guarantees," he said.
Bids on many of the properties started at $1 with at least a couple of properties being sold for that amount.
The top minimum bid was for five lots in Arma with a minimum bid of $26,967. That item resulted in no bids.
But a property in Frontenac Industrial Park with a minimum required bid of $500 went to the highest bidder at $5,000. The properties were spread throughout the county with lots in Arcadia, Cherokee, Girard, Pittsburg, Mulberry and others going to the highest bidder.
Emerson said in addition to paying the winning bid price the top bidders had to pay a $26 recording fee for the deed, property taxes for 2015 and a $130 court fee.
"If you win you will get a successful bidder sheet that you'll have to take to the clerk's office," Emerson told the group.
High bidders also had to pay taxes on the courthouse's second floor before leaving the building, he said.
There were more than 30 properties originally on the list to be awarded to the highest bidder. Emerson said several of the original properties which were to be on the auction block were removed as those with liens on the properties had taken care of the back taxes and other feeds.
The amounts of taxes, charges, interest and penalties ranged from $124 to $28,000 on the properties being offered to the highest bidder. By late Tuesday afternoon the total amount raised had not been tallied.
Emerson said he expects the county to host at least a couple of more such sales later in the year with dates and times to be announced later. Approximately 30 days before the next tax sale, notice of the sale will be published in The Morning Sun for three consecutive weeks.
While some bargains can be had in the sheriff's tax sale, it it up to the buyer to check out details.
"It is your responsibility to acquire information about the properties that interest you to determine if they are suitable for your use.," he said.
— Mike Elswick is a staff writer for The Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @mike_elswick.