Alcona preparing for delinquent tax auction

HARRISVILLE The first of several delinquent property tax real estate auctions takes place Aug. 5, with more than 50 Alcona County parcels on the list. But potential buyers have only seven weeks to do their homework to make sure there are no federal liens or other issues, authorities said Friday.

Most of the real estate consists of vacant parcels of land up to 136 acres. Others are subdivision lots or parcels with mobile homes on them, according to a list available at the Alcona County Courthouse. Ten properties are homes or cabins, including a cinderblock residence and pole barn on the shores of Hubbard Lake. The minimum bid on that property is $14,000. Several commercial properties also are on the list.

The properties are sold “as is,” county Commissioner Bill Thompson said. He and fellow Commissioner Kevin Boyat recently checked on four residences to make sure they were locked. One home was stripped of its interior and smelled strongly of cat urine. Another home was occupied by tenants.

“Buyers will have to evict tenants living on those properties,” Thompson said.

The Hubbard Lake residence at 677 Oak St. is valued at around $200,000, according to county property records. No one paid taxes owned on the home for three years, so now the county owns it, he said.

The house is fully furnished, but unoccupied, Thompson said.

“It looks as if they went to dinner,” he said.

For this year’s first auction, some minimum bids start at $250, while many range between $1,000 and $5,900.

Later auctions also will be held to try to get rid of parcels that don’t sell, Thompson said.

Treasurer Cheryl Franks said buyers need to research parcels they want by going through public property records. They are responsible for making sure the parcel is free of federal liens and that there is legal access to the site.

The auction takes place at 12 p.m. at the Ramada Inn of Graying, 2650 I-75 Business Loop, and also includes about 250 tax-delinquent parcels in Crawford, Oscoda, Otsego and Roscommon. The properties are listed by county at and more pictures and details are added as the auction gets closer, she said.

The Alcona auction will be the last held that day. Buyers must register in advance and can bid online at the website, bid at the hotel or bid by proxy.

Properties can be inspected only from a public roadway, and no one is allow inside the homes or trailers to look them over, she said.

“You are not authorized to enter any properties and could be subject to tresspassing charges,” she said.

Here are other tips:

* for more information, instructions and a list of properties and photos, go to

* parcels can be removed from the list at any time

* parcels are sold at a rate of about 45 an hour

* 50 percent or more of parcels are skipped over during the first auction, because no one wants to bid on them

* the first $1,000 must be paid in cash or certified funds. Amounts over that can be paid by check, certified funds, cash, money order or credit card

* do not bid if you cannot pay

* a buyer’s premium of 10 percent is charged, along with a $20 processing fee. The premium for credit card charges is 13 percent.

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.