(Little Rock) – A big, welcome change is coming for many Arkansas property investors: the process is moving online.
Commissioner of State Lands Tommy Land announced that his office will begin offering certain parcels for online auction.
“These are properties that were offered at auction but did not sell,” Land said. “The post-auction sales list has always been posted on our website, but those properties could only be purchased by mail. We’re moving that process online.”
The COSL office will still hold live, in-person auctions for newly-available properties. The online sales are only for the properties listed on the post-auction sales list at www.cosl.org/postauction.aspx.
The online auction will go live July 1. Bidding on any parcel begins when the first offer is made, and the bidding period for that parcel remains open for 30 days from that date. At the end of the 30 days, the winning bidder will be notified.
“The owner still has 10 business days to redeem the property after bidding ends,” Land said. “At the end of that time, if the owner has not paid the delinquent amount, we will issue the limited warranty deed to the new buyer.”
In the past, the COSL office has mailed forms to interested buyers, so they could submit an offer to purchase the post-auction properties. To accommodate the transition to online-only sales, the office will not mail those forms after April 30.
“That will give us time to conclude all pending offers before we begin the online auctions on July 1,” Land said.
He said his office is posting informational videos on its social media and website to demonstrate researching a property and how to bid in the online auctions.
“It’s a simple process, but it’s important that people do some research and understand what they’re bidding on,” Land said. “We’re offering free tutorial videos to help them learn more about this process.”
Post-auction sales are a big part of the COSL’s business. In 2020, when the office couldn’t hold public auctions due to the COVID pandemic, “we sold more than 5,400 parcels that had failed to sell at previous years’ auctions,” he said. In 2019, the last year of auctions, post-auction sales outnumbered auction sales by almost 3-to-1.
“By far, most parcels that are certified to us for delinquent taxes are redeemed by their owners,” Land said. “But for those that are not redeemed, the auction and post-auction sales process gets them back into active tax status, which benefits everyone. We’re excited about the new online auctions, and I’m looking forward to more people getting involved.”