Dallas Is Sitting On Hundreds of Tax-Foreclosed Properties, Almost All in Southern Dallas

Categories: City Hall, Housing

DallasTaxForeclose2.JPG
City of Dallas
The city's stock of tax-foreclosed properties is clustered heavily in neighborhoods in South and West Dallas and Oak Cliff. See the end of the post for the entire map.
It used to be that, four or five times a year, Dallas would have an auction and sell its tax-foreclosed properties to the highest bidder. The last one happened on June 13, 2013, two weeks before the City Council complained that the houses were falling into the hands of slum lords and shady boarding-home operators.

Since then, Dallas has been sitting on the properties it owns -- about 400 parcels in all -- while it figures out a way to keep them from dragging down surrounding neighborhoods. And by "surrounding neighborhoods," we mean West Dallas, South Dallas and Oak Cliff, which, with a few exceptions, is where the tax-foreclosed properties sit.

The map doesn't show it, but there are plenty of people in the northern half of the city who lose their properties over tax issues. The strikingly lopsided geographical distribution is largely a byproduct of the tax-foreclosure process. The properties that wind up in the possession of the city of Dallas, and therefore show up on the map, are the ones Dallas County couldn't sell during its monthly property auction.

"If the properties don't sell there, then they are struck off to the city of Dallas as trustee," says Bonnie Meeder, assistant director of the city's real estate division.

Properties up north tend to get snatched up on the courthouse steps. Many of the ones down south revert to the city.

Meeder says Dallas has stopped accepting new tax-foreclosed properties while the offices of the city manager and city attorney hammer out a new strategy aimed at somehow improving the properties so they stop being a drag on neighborhoods. Meeder expects a new policy to be unveiled in the near future, at which point the city will begin ridding itself of the properties it's currently sitting on and begin accepting new ones.

in the meantime, Meeder says Dallas is mowing lawns, boarding up windows, demolishing unsafe structures and otherwise maintaining the orphaned real estate.

City of Dallas Tax-Foreclosed Properties

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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34 comments
lovehasabadrap
lovehasabadrap

How do you stop slumlords and other 'shady' people from buying these foreclosures? I do not see an alternative here that works in anyones favor.

lovehasabadrap
lovehasabadrap

How do you stop slumlords and other 'shady' people from buying these foreclosures? I do not see an alternative here that works in anyones favor. You can view more Dallas foreclosures at http://www.CurrentForeclosures.com

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

90% of the properties aren't worth the back taxes owed.

It's why they don't sell.

Make the DCAD appraisers mow the lawns.

They appraised it for enough to have them given to the taxing authorities.

They should perform the labor to maintain them.

JackJett
JackJett

I saw a listing of these properties on some website.  Some of them seemed so unbelievable cheap.  While I know zilch about real estate, I have always heard you can never go wrong with property (as I know you can in the stock market).  


Is the concept in buying property like this to sit on it for a long time in hopes that some wealthy person wants to build something around it?

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

Any houses over there on Denley Drive by the Vets Hosptial? According to Vonciel's new appraisal acumen , that house alone is worth $250,000.

lakewoodhobo
lakewoodhobo

I tried to make an offer on a lot in West Dallas earlier this year, but I was quickly shooed away. The property is owned by Dallas Housing Authority and they will only sell it to a low-income housing developer.


WTF?? Do they want people to buy these lots or not?

WylieH
WylieH

[in the meantime, Meeder says Dallas is mowing lawns, boarding up windows, demolishing unsafe structures and otherwise maintaining the orphaned real estate.]

The City of Dallas is diligently maintaining over 400 individual parcels scattered throughout West and South Dallas?  How do the lawns, etc. look?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Deed the properties back to the owners who refuse to pay the property tax.

They won.

What is happening is that the properties aren't worth the annual taxes owed.  Fairly simple to guestimate which properties are not going to pay their annual property taxes.  Just cap the tax payment at 10% (divide the tx pmt by .10).  For instance, if a vacant lot has an annual tax payment of $400 and if it's not worth $4,000 in the local market, why pay the tax?  Just give it to the taxing authorities who are demanding $400 every year.

Same for lots improved with rental dwellings.  If it cost more to run the property (income less expenses, of which taxation is a part), then just collect rent until the taxman cometh, then give it over to the taxing authorities.  Then the City can run that dog at a loss . . . until they get tired of losing money.

This happens all the time south of I-30.

Greg820
Greg820

I drive through one of these neighborhoods on my way to work.  Rehabbing these 750-100 sq ft poorly made "houses" is a waste of money,  Demolish and sell and get some better quality, affordable houses built.  It is being done, but very slowly. Not sure why it is not a priority with the counselperson, other than there is probably no money in it for them.  I guess I just answered my own question.


TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Shades of Detroit?

I'd suggest more community gardens, but not where they would aggravate Mexican PTSD.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@JackJett

Here's the trick, Jack. You buy several adjacent lots, erect a McMansion on one and presto! you're off to the races.

Lorlee
Lorlee

@Greg820 Unless they can get a big enough piece of property, non-profits (who by the way are the largest homebuilders in the City) do not want to put a nice new house in the middle of teardowns and empty lots -- as someone else said, there is no market for that structure.  So until you can get enough mass in an area, no one will buy.


TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Greg820

It might have something to do with the market, you know, demand and all that.

However, the Field of Dreams approach just might work, ya never know.

Greg820
Greg820

@TheRuddSki   You were doing better there for awhile.  Sorry to see you go back down this road.  

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Lorlee

So until everyone is there, no-one goes there.

Sort of the antithesis of Berra's " no-one goes there anymore, it's too crowded".

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Dingo

Ya know, I see an excellent spot for a whitewater feature. Of course it would require a Kevlar kayak, skirt and PFD built to DoD standards, but talk about a revitalization opportunity!

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Greg820

Sorry to see your sorrow, but do you have any idea what I'm talking about?

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

@TheRuddSki DISD could always build some more schools we don't need to justify closing the ones that were actually highly rated.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@PlanoDave

You mean you're shudder Populating the area with Evangelists??

Holy bvckvs on a bagel, man, what were you thinking?

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@TheRuddSki Our church builds and donates at least two houses per year and has done so for the past 10 years.  That doesn't count though, because churches are, ya know, evil things...

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Lorlee

I got it.

I had no idea that non-profits are the largest home builders. I thought HFH was the only such entity.

Lorlee
Lorlee

@TheRuddSki I was just reinforcing what you said about demand.  And the scenario I described is one that was described by one of the non-profits at a meeting I attended. 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Greg820

Some time go, Schutze was bemoaning that someone was putting in a community garden in an area populated by Mexicans, some of whom were victims of some sort of forced community farming in their native land, and that the idea of a neighborhood garden would traumatize those Mexicans.

Edit PlanoDave beat me too it

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@Greg820  He was referencing a previous article here on DO that discussed how Mexicans don't like the idea of community gardens because they have been forced to work like slaves in gardens and it stresses them out...

Not everybody gets TheRuddSki's humor, but y'all should at least give him the benefit of the doubt that he is just cracking a joke most of the time....

Greg820
Greg820

@TheRuddSki  Right now I have three hispanic men busting their ass to build me a very nice fence. I also have the privilege of caring for my fellow veterans, many of whom suffer from PTSD.  So, yeah, your comment rubbed me the wrong way.  Please tell me what you are talking about.


TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Greg820

Well, since something about my comment obviously disturbed you, I thought you might know what it was that disturbed you. Apparently, you want me to start a process of elimination to get to the heart of your sorrow. IOW, a little game.

I'm not going to do that, either tell me what's upset you or go on your merry way.

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