Irvine Real Estate Link, CA – New home buyers and property tax blunders

by Robert Mack on August 4, 2008

in Irvine Real Estate

Although this doesn’t happen frequently but a property tax mix-up may generate a tremendous headache for the new Irvine home buyer. What I’m about to convey to my readers is a true story and a sad and frustrating at that. It might be to the reader’s advantage to read through.

An Irvine foreclosed property was purchased by an acquaintance of mine who was helped by a fellow real estate professional in January of 2008. This property was originally purchased for close to $700,000 a few years earlier. After foreclosure my acquaintance purchased it from the bank for only $525,000 (indeed a great deal), and not to mention that the previous owners blocked all the toilets with concrete, broke a few windows, took all the appliances and irreparably destroyed the beautiful hardwood floor covering and host of other acts of loathing, ill feeling and bitterness. But that’s beside the point. Nothing that $15,000 wouldn’t fix.

The escrow papers looked fine and everything was finished and the house belonged to them. But a month later they received a tax bill from Orange County telling them that they are delinquent for 2007 taxes. “For heaven’s sake!” He complained, “I never owned the property in 2007!”

The amount was a bit over $6,500 and included a bundle of penalty for non-payment in time. He said he’d checked his final escrow closing statement, which seemed to be in order. “On top of that,” He raised his voice, “I am due a refund of supplementary taxes because I paid less than for what it was worth.” He contacted the Orange County Assessor and explained the situation in a rather heated manner. Later he said: “The County doesn’t give a monkey who owns the property, they want their taxes.” So he finally, after a few phone calls and several letters, paid the outstanding taxes. Now he is fighting with the County for his money back, the penalty back and a refund of the supplementary tax.

Now, I ask. Who is at fault here? The County? My acquaintance? The bank? The escrow and/or the title insurance company? But if you said the original defaulted Irvine homeowners, you are absolutely right, but how will that help the new owner? They’re long gone! However, the title search should have been able to catch such things, don’t you think?

Views, comments, responses and constructive criticisms are welcome.

Make it a great day.

The Mack Team

Robert & Tania Mack

Century21 Professionals

Irvine, Orange County, California.

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