A south Florida man, Kerville Holness, claims that he was swindled by the Broward County Tax Office during an online tax sale. Holness thought he was bidding on a $177,000 villa and thought he had scored big when he won the auction for $9,100.
In reality, what he purchased was a 1′ by 100′ strip of land running through two adjoining villa’s and to the backyard. The strip was valued on the tax rolls at $50.
Holness has claimed that the property appraiser’s pictures, which were linked to the auction site, show the villa as being the parcel he was bidding on.
However, the property appraiser’s site, if you do a little more digging, also shows that there is no building value on the property, that it only takes up 100 square feet, and is only one foot wide.
County officials have told Holness that state law does not allow for refunds.
In other words, when buying properties at tax sales, it’s strictly “buyer beware.”
The bottom line for buyers — tax sales are risky — make sure you do your homework before buying.