John Cullum had just spent $400 for some land, but he wasn’t sure exactly what he had bought.
Cullum and the Quay County Clerk hunted Thursday through county plat books to see just where the properties were.
Some people could easily spend $400 at a gambling outing and “not have anything to show for it,” Cullum said. Nevertheless, “It’s still a gamble,” he said.
For land in the old Hudson community between Tucumcari and Logan, off U.S. Highway 54, Cullum paid $66.66 each for six lots that were auctioned off for delinquent taxes by the state’s Department of Revenue.
Fifty-two people signed up to bid on 48 properties to be auctioned off Thursday because of delinquent taxes from 2004 and before, said Janie Murray, Quay County Tax Assessor.
Fourteen of the properties were taken off the list before the auction, announced Gregory Allyassin, auctioneer and senior title examiner with the state’s Delinquent Property Tax Bureau. In those cases, the owners paid back taxes.
Allyassin cautioned buyers before the bidding that they would be responsible for liens on properties, including those from the IRS.
The sale progressed swiftly and most of the properties were sold in about 30 minutes.
Bob and Linda Beaulieu of Tucumcari bid and won a property on Main Street, known as the old print shop. They paid $5,000.
“We’re hoping to open an antique shop,” said Linda Beaulieu, who seemed excited at the opportunity.
The sale also drew investors from out of town.
Charlotte Hamilton of Clovis and Steve Peacock of Portales, who invest in real estate, purchased four properties, three homes and some acreage.
Hamilton said they planned to fix up the homes for the rental market. They said they did their homework on foot and in the courthouse. They visited each of the properties and there were no substantial liens on the properties.
However, one commercial property they investigated Peacock said had about $110,000 in liens, and bidders steered clear of that one.
“We did well,” Hamilton said, “We probably paid about half of the value. But there’s also going to be a lot of repairs to be done on the three houses.”
Jerry Verry of Espinola purchased two lots which he said he planned to resell.
Marketing via classified ads, Craig’s List on the Internet and other avenues, Verry said he expected to turn a profit.
Verry said he paid $1,800 for two lots, one on Turner Avenue and the other on Lake Street.
Four properties did not garner any bidder interest. Those propeties will go back on the delinquent rolls and efforts to find owners and collect back taxes will continue, Murray said.
The sale netted $59,835 on the sale of 30 properties and the county collected its back taxes, which amounted to more than $7,000, said Nadine Angel, Quay County Treasurer.
The remainder is held by the state and, in certain cases, the difference between the back taxes and the profit made by the state can be claimed by the original property owner, Murray said.
The auction is one of several held in the county over the last 21 months to get delinquent properties off the books and back on the paying tax rolls, Murray said.