Wisconsin State Overview:
Every year, in the first part of September, the county treasurer will issue tax lien certificates to the county on all over delinquent taxes. The county then keeps these tax liens for two years. After August 31st of the second year, any properties that the county is still holding will be foreclosed on by the county holding the tax lien. The county then becomes the new property owner. The county then holds a tax deed sale where the tax deeds are sold and transfer ownership to the highest bidder. The county then issues the winning bidder the tax deed to the property. This sale is usually known as the tax delinquent real estate sale. About six weeks prior to the sale the counties will publish the list of delinquent tax deed properties in the local newspaper. The property owner has up until 5:00 pm the day before the auction to pay all delinquent taxes, penalties, and fees.
The highest bidder will be awarded the tax deed. Some counties in Wisconsin also accept sealed bids. These bids are opened prior to the sale and will be bid appropriately (you will have to talk to the county to see if they are one that does if this is your preferred method of bidding). Prior to bidding, an investor is required to register. Some counties require a certain amount of time for pre-registration, so check with the county for details and time frames. You will then be issued a bidder’s number, which you will use during the tax deed auction. The county’s starting bid includes back taxes, penalties, interest, and any administrative costs incurred. This is called a “premium bid”. A sealed bid will be considered and must be submitted to the county the day prior to the sale. The investor must pick up the bidder’s form from the county along with their amount of the sealed bid and include it in an envelope. When submitted it then becomes a “sealed bid”.