Published 8 December 2023
Each year, the Doña Ana County Treasurer, along with the other 32 county treasurers in the state, are required by law to compile a list of properties on which the property taxes have not been paid. If the property owner has not paid the delinquent taxes within three years of the first missed installment, New Mexico law requires that the state collect the arrearages by auctioning off the property.
The next Doña Ana County Delinquent Property Tax Auction will be held on Thursday, December 21 in room 111 of the Dona Ana County Government Center located at 845 N. Motel Boulevard in Las Cruces. The auction begins at 10 a.m. Thirty-nine homes, lots and other properties are currently on the block.
Here’s how the process works: Step one is to procure from the county clerk’s office or state tax and revenue division a list of the properties to be auctioned. The easiest way to do that is to simply type the words “state of New Mexico delinquent property auction” in your browser. You’ll find links to the upcoming auctions at the top of the page.
Step two is to diligently research title and court documents to determine if any liens, other than those for property taxes, have been levied against the property. Conducting the research is a critical step because only the property tax lien is extinguished by the sale. Any remaining liens will remain in place and become the responsibility of the new property owner. Best practices dictate that a commitment to issue title insurance be obtained from a title company before bidding on a property.
Step three is to register and obtain a bidder number from the auctioneer.
Examples of properties slated for auction include a 1,528 square foot 3 bedroom, 2 bath home on Duffer Lane in Anthony assessed at $136,908 – minimum bid $5,400; a 2,858 square foot duplex on Manzanita Street in the Las Cruces historic district with an assessed value of $49,806 – minimum bid $4,600; and a 0.53-acre residential lot on Shenandoah Road in the Dona Ana area of Las Cruces assessed at $34,899 – minimum bid $9,000.
Also up for bid will be a 1,364 sq ft 3 bedroom, 2 bath home on Calle Libertad assessed at $80,000 – minimum bid $9,000; and a 0.20-acre residential lot on Autumn Sage Lane in Chaparral assessed at $14,000 – minimum bid $6,500. It is important to keep in mind that the assessed value of a given property may be more or less than the market value.
Determining the physical condition of the property can be challenging. While bidders may drive by the properties or view them from a public sidewalk, the Tax & Revenue Department cautions that “Prospective buyers shall not trespass onto any listed property, nor contact or disturb the occupants, if any, for the purpose of gathering information about any listed property”.
Being a successful bidder doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be the ultimate owner of the property. Federal law gives the IRS 120 days from the date of sale to determine if they want to seize the property to satisfy any liens they may have against the former owner. In the event the property is seized by the IRS, only the amount paid at the auction will be refunded. So, don’t put up that fence or remodel that kitchen until you’re sure the redemption period has passed.
Another important point to remember is that the price paid at the sale is not considered the actual value of the property for property tax purposes. In other words, if you purchase a $1 million property for $100,000, the property taxes will be calculated using the $1 million market value, not the $100,000 sales price.
See you at closing.
Gary Sandler is a full-time Realtor and president of Gary Sandler Inc., Realtors in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He loves to answer questions and can be reached at 575-642-2292 or Gary@GarySandler.com.