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Learning to Buy

True win-win situations are rare, which is why it is so rewarding to help our clients help their constituents learn how to make distressed property productive. This is a win-win because when you take land that is underutilized, for which property taxes are not being paid and sell it to a willing buyer who can then pay those taxes and turn the property into something productive and valuable, everybody benefits.

The first step, of course, is developing those willing buyers and teaching them how to participate in tax sales to acquire distressed property and revitalize it. Recently Linebarger Capital Partner Leah Stolar conducted a seminar, hosted by the Houston Police Department’s Positive Interaction Program, aimed at teaching interested potential buyers how to get involved.


Linebarger’s Leah Stolar addresses a crowd at HPD’s Northeast Station


The seminar, held at HPD’s Northeast Police Station provided the 80 or so local residents who attended all they needed to know to get involved in the process. Stolar explained how to register and bid, how it’s required that they not owe any delinquent taxes themselves, and she gave them a primer on the Harris County Appraisal District and the tools Harris County Tax Assessor Collector Mike Sullivan provides to make the process easy to understand.

Stolar also highlighted a recent historic event – the opening of a brand new indoor facility at the Bayou City Event Center to hold tax sales. For nearly two centuries, tax sales were held outdoors downtown. With this move, participants are in an air conditioned covered environment, making the process that much more pleasant for everyone.

This training session is but one of many that Stolar and others on the Linebarger team conducts. One key element of these that should not be missed is the local connection. By training local community residents how to bid for and acquire properties in their neighborhoods, you increase the chance that the ownership remains local. Since local residents have a built in interest in making sure the property is used in a manner that serves the community, once again, you are producing a win-win.

(Editor’s Note: To see a comprehensive list of properties available for tax sale, click here)