Tax lien certificates are an investment where you purchase the certificate that pays delinquent property taxes in exchange for paid interest. In a low interest rate environment, tax lien certificates offer investors a great alternative to earn higher yields. Tax lien investing courses give you the insights on how the process works, what makes a good investment, and the risks involved.
The best tax lien courses avoid the hype and help investors get the baseline knowledge needed to start buying tax liens. They cover the requisite topics while providing critical warnings on how to avoid costly mistakes.
Best Tax Lien Investing Courses of 2021
- Best Overall: The Attorney’s Secret to Investing in Tax Lien Certificates
- Best for Community Support: BiggerPockets.com
- Best for Certification: National Tax Lien Association University
- Best for State Specific: Udemy
Best Overall : The Attorney’s Secret to Investing in Tax Lien Certificates
The Attorney’s Secret to Investing in Tax Lien Certificates is the most comprehensive course we could find offered at an affordable price, which is why it’s our choice as the best overall tax lien investing course.
6-month email and phone access to instructor
Online research center
Doesn’t cover five of the tax lien certificate states
The Attorney’s Secrets to Investing in Tax Lien Certificate offers a comprehensive curriculum on the ins and outs of tax lien investing using context-based learning methods to drive the content home. Offered at an affordable price of $249 with a 30-day money-back guarantee, Attorney’s Secret makes our list as the best overall tax lien investing course.
The course comes with an audio CD guidebook containing six hours of detailed instruction. The audio CD guidebook follows along with a 240-page course book that provides step-by-step information, including all aspects of finding, researching, selecting, and purchasing tax lien certificates.
The course creator is Darius Barazandeh, a licensed attorney and real estate investor. His is the only course we found that emphasizes the legal and financial pitfalls of tax lien investing. Attorney’s Secrets devotes half the course discussing the full spectrum of risk issues, including economic, legal, and asset protection risks, along with step-by-step details on how to avoid them.
The course also provides you with a seven-page, step-by-step action plan to take you from learning to doing, using a proven process. You’ll have access to an online research center to conduct tax lien research by county.
Attorneys’ Secret also includes legal and investment analysis for 27 tax lien certificate states with detailed analysis of each state’s investment climate, filing deadlines, foreclosure rules, tax sales registration rules, and unfavorable laws.
Attorney’s Secret is as comprehensive a course on tax lien investing as you will find. The course comes with six months of phone or email access to the instructor for follow-up coaching.
Best for Community Support : BiggerPockets.com
While BiggerPockets.com is not a course per se, it has plenty of learning resources and an active community of two million real estate investors, making it our choice as the best tax lien course for community support.
Massive community of tax lien investors
Plentiful content, tools, and resources
Engage with experienced investors
Fresh insights on real-world tax lien issues
Reasonable membership costs
Not a structured course
Often, the best way to learn about a complex topic is from others who are actively participating in the arena. BiggerPockets.com offers content, tools, and a community of members with valuable tips on getting started in tax lien investing while avoiding costly mistakes.
The mission of BiggerPockets is to help ordinary people build wealth through real estate. Specifically, they want to help one million of its members to build $1 million in wealth—and they're well on their way with a membership base over two million. BiggerPockets has a vast library of resources to assist investors in all aspects of real estate investing. But its most valuable resource is the community of experienced investors, who are willing and able to help others through their experience and insight.
To engage with the tax lien investing community, you can simply type “tax liens" in the search box and up pops dozens of threads covering a range of tax lien investing topics. You’ll find active conversations on everything from the best way to learn about tax lien certificates to how to win more profitable bids. Best of all, the conversations can get very granular, talking about state- or even country-specific rules and processes.
The cost to become a community member with full access to the forums and blogs is $39 a month. However, you can dip into some tax-lien-related conversations to see what they’re about by Googling “BiggerPockets tax liens” or some other variation. The search will reveal several threads on the subject.
By becoming a member, you can ask your own questions and receive responses from the community. Even if you plan to learn about tax lien investing through some other method, the BiggerPockets community is invaluable for getting more specific information.
Best for Certification : National Tax Lien Association University
For investors who want to be recognized as a certified tax lien professional, the National Tax Lien Association’s Certified Tax Lien Professional Program is the industry standard, making it our pick as the best tax lien investing course for certification.
Extensive educational resources
Sets industry standard for assessing knowledge of tax lien sales
Access to institutional investor program
Access to experienced tax lien investors
Certification is a bit pricey
Certification requires travel to workshops and conferences
While it’s not necessary to be certified to invest in tax liens, it can give you more options for ways to develop in the business. Plus, the educational resources and training provided by the National Tax Lien Association (NTLA) are top-notch, with excellent networking opportunities.
Founded in 1997, the NTLA is a non-profit trade organization for the tax sale industry, representing investors, lenders, service providers, and local and state governments regarding tax lien sales. In addition to its educational and training resources available to anyone, it provides advanced education courses for those who want to become a Certified Tax Lien Professional (CTLP).
The CTLP program consists of a rigorous curriculum to prepare candidates to sit for a credentialing exam. Besides completing the course work at NTLA University, the program requires participation in additional NTLA webinars and workshops, attending NTLA conferences and symposiums, and completing a case study or an industry-related charity project, such as Habitat for Humanity.
In addition to preparing you to invest safely in tax lien certificates, CTLP certification allows you to invest through NTLA’s institutional investor program for a more passive approach to tax lien investing.
The cost of certification for NTLA non-members is $995 or $795 for members. The cost of NTLA membership is $500 annually.
Best for State Specific : Udemy
Udemy consistently produces quality investment education courses. Its course on Investing in Real Estate Tax Lien Certificates in Florida is no different, making it our top pick as the best state-specific tax lien investing course.
Great introductory course
Highly rated instructor
Limited to one state
All tax lien investing is state- or even county-specific, and Florida is target-rich for tax lien sales. Because Florida employs online tax lien certificate auctions, it’s easy for anyone in the U.S. to participate. The Udemy instructor is a life-long resident of Florida who has taught more than 16,000 students, earning a 4.4 rating.
The course includes 2.5 hours of on-demand video consisting of 12 sections and 34 lectures. Students have lifetime access to all course material, including three downloadable resources. The course explores all the ins and outs of tax lien investing in Florida through a case study and visits to actual auction websites. It costs $24.99 but can be discounted to $11.99 with widely available coupons. Plus, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The course may not be as extensive as other tax lien investing courses on this list, but for the price, it’s a small investment of time and money to get solid introductory instruction on the topic.
Finding a tax lien investing course that is all about delivering quality and comprehensive instruction without resorting to upselling to a more expensive course can be difficult. But Attorney’s Secret to Investing in Tax Lien Certificates does just that at an all-inclusive cost of $249 with a money-back guarantee, which is why we selected it as the best overall tax lien investing course.
We also like that it devotes half its extensive curriculum to the legal and financial pitfalls, which is extremely valuable for investors. It’s one of the very few courses covering the rules and processes for 19 tax lien certificate states and the only course offering six months of access to the instructor, a clear sign of commitment to students’ success.
Compare the Tax Lien Investing Courses
|Course||Cost||Guarantee||Learning Method||Student Support|
|$249||30-day money-back||Audio CD guidebook, 240-page coursebook||6-month access to instructor via email and phone|
Best for Community Support
|$39 per month||None||Resource library, interaction with community members||Massive community of interactive members|
|National Tax Lien Association
Best for Certification
|$995 for non-members||None||On-demand courses, workshops, and conferences||Access to instructors and mentors|
Best for State Specific
|$11.99||30-day money-back||On-demand course, downloadable resources||Email access to instructor|
What to Look for in a Tax Lien Investing Course
The first thing to consider in choosing a tax lien investing course is the curriculum. Is it comprehensive? Will it teach you what you need to know to start investing in tax liens? Is there student support from the instructor or mentors?
The second key component is the expertise and track record of the instructor. The instructor should have the experience to provide critical insights. The third component is the compatibility of the teaching method with your learning preferences and schedule availability.
Cost is also a consideration and any tax lien courses try to upsell you to courses that can cost $20,000 or more. While tax lien investing has the potential to produce substantial returns, you first need to test the waters. Combining a lower-cost course with your own research might be a better way to go.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Certified Tax Lien Professional?
The National Tax Lien Association (NTLA) is the trade group that represents investors, lenders, service providers, and government officials as it relates to tax lien sales. It is also the sponsoring organization of the only certification program for tax lien investors, offering a Certified Tax Lien Professional (CTLP) credential. While you don’t need certification to invest in tax liens, a CTLP certification provides you with a reliable assessment of your knowledge and skills. CTLPs are also hired by lenders, real estate organizations, and government organizations associated with the practice of tax lien sales.
Are There Prerequisites for Tax Lien Investing Courses?
There are no prerequisites for tax lien investing courses. Those with a background in real estate or foreclosures might be able to pick up on the subject matter more quickly.
What Do You Learn in a Tax Lien Investing Course?
After taking the course, you should know the essentials of tax lien investing in terms of the process; calculating the purchase price; understanding the bidding and redemption processes; knowing your legal rights as an investor; finding, identifying, and selecting tax liens; and reviewing the pitfalls of tax lien investing.
A good course can also provide insights into the rules, processes, and legal aspects of investing in specific states or counties. Some courses are specific to one or two states, which is fine if you plan to invest in those states; other courses try to cover more states.
It’s important to note that rules, processes, and legal aspects differ from state to state and even county to county, and most courses don’t have the capacity to cover all the nuances of each. A critical part of your education process is to conduct additional research in the states or counties you want to target.
What Is the Difference Between a Tax Lien and a Tax Deed?
Tax liens and tax deeds are similar except in how they are auctioned and how the investor generates returns. With a tax lien sale, you bid on a certificate produced by the state or county in the amount of past-due property taxes owed on a property. Essentially, you bid the interest rate paid on the certificate. Tax lien certificates are offered with the maximum rate payable by the state. To reduce its costs, the state awards the certificate to the lowest bidder. The property owner has a certain amount of time to redeem the certificate, at which time the investors receive the interest.
With a tax deed sale, you bid on the property title. The tax deed is transferred to the highest bidder, giving them an ownership interest in the property. If the property owner pays the back taxes, they can redeem their ownership interest.
In both cases, if the property owner cannot redeem the certificate or the title, the investor receives the property, and they can sell or manage it for rental income.
How We Chose the Best Tax Lien Investing Courses
Our initial research found about 20 websites claiming to be tax lien investing courses. However, after a deeper dive, we found that most were less instructional and geared more towards marketing, seeking to upsell people to a much more expensive course after taking a free or low-cost course. We narrowed our scope to those courses that are purely instructional with good reputations, reasonable pricing, and solid curriculums.