Here is the list of TOP 15 things you should know if you want to buy any property at a foreclosure.
1. Foreclosure sales are for real property only; the Sheriff's Office does not know if any structures are on the property. Further, they cannot give permission for prospective bidders to enter and inspect any structure that may be located on the property to be sold. Infact if you go there before without an appointment you are tresspasing on someone else's property.
2. All properties sold at auction at the Sheriff's Office are advertised in major newspapers during the weekdays. Advertisements appear once a week for four consecutive weeks prior to the initial date of sale. The sheriff auctions off the properties one by one by its loan number or docket number at 2 pm on a weekday everyweek. Some counties have it on Wednesday some have it on a Tuesday and others on a Thursday. Remember the auction for a property can be postponed or canceled upto 1:59 pm on the day of the auction.
3. The Sheriff's Office does not have a list, for general distribution, of the properties to be sold. Persons interested in properties can make their own lists from newspaper legal advertisements.
4. Sales of property are "open-type" auction sales (no sealed bids). An opening bid of $100 is bid on the first round by the plaintiff. All subsequent bids must begin at $100 over the upset and continue at $500 increments. The property is sold to the highest bidder.
5. The successful bidder, upon full payment of the bid, will receive a Sheriff's Deed. This deed does not give clear title to the property. In order to obtain clear title, one must satisfy all outstanding liens and encumbrances. If a purchaser does not complete the sale he can be held liable for his deposit.
6. All Sheriff's Sales are sold subject to a first and second mortgage, if any, and any Municipal, State or Federal liens, if any, unpaid Taxes or Assessments and such state of facts as an accurate survey would disclose. If you are interested in a particular piece of property, we recommend a title search before you actually bid. Title searches are conducted by private firms. Their telephone numbers may be found in the yellow pages of the telephone directory. A fee is charged. You may also do your own title search.
7. If you are the successful bidder on a piece of property, you are required to post a deposit of 20% on the total bid price. It must be paid by certified check, treasurer's check, or cash. It must be paid immediately following the signing of the Conditions of Sale. Immediately upon the conclusion of sale, should the successful bidder fail to sign the conditions of sale and pay the 20% deposit as required herein, the Sheriff shall immediately resell the property without further public advertisement.
8. The attorney representing the Plaintiff will have his own conditions of sale. The Plaintiff's attorney normally does not allow the bid to go for less than the Judgment amount due his client. He will bid until he has reached his Upset Price. An Upset Price is the total of the Judgment due, interest, attorney's costs, Sheriff's fees, advertising costs and commissions. Once the attorney has reached his Upset Price he may stop bidding and the highest bidder, thereafter, will be the successful bidder.
9. The balance of the bid is payable and due on the 30th day from the date of sale. Lawful interest is charged on the balance due from the 11th to the 30th day. If the property you purchased is occupied, it is your responsibility to have the occupants removed.
10. Deed recording fees must be paid by the purchaser to the County Clerk's office when the deed is recorded.
11. The Sheriff’s office will post a notice of sale on the property during the week of the first advertising. They do not enter the premises being sold for any other reason. Until the sale is final, the defendant (owner) has all rights and privileges of privacy to his property. A bidder wishing to approach the owner to see the property before the sale, is advised that he do so at his own risk.
12. The owner of the property may at anytime, prior to sale, try to save his home or property in several ways. He may try to reinstate his delinquent amount owed, pay the judgment in full, obtain another loan, etc. He may also try to sell the property in order to pay the Judgment and at the same time profit from the proceeds. The defendant has a 10-day Redemption Period after the sale during which time he may object to the sale through the courts or redeem the property. The bidder, in this case, would receive his 20 percent deposit back.
13. The Sheriff's sale deed will be prepared and ready in approximately 30 days after the sale. The balance due on the sale must be paid no later than 30 days after sale, in accordance with the conditions of sale. It's the responsibility of the purchaser to record the deed in the Registrar of Deeds office.
14. It is the sole responsibility of the purchaser to notify the owner he has purchased the property and now holds the deed to the property.
15. If the defendant/previous owner does not voluntarily leave the property, the purchaser must Evict the occupants legally. The Sheriff's office will serve the Writ upon the defendant which will advise him to vacate the premises within a particular period of time. If the defendant has not vacated by the stated tentative date, the Sheriff's Office will set a final date to have a moving van sent to the property and have the defendant's personal belongings removed and stored in a place of safe keeping. The costs of the moving and storage is the responsibility of the purchaser (You). A Writ of Possession is not necessary if the property is vacant before, during or after the sale.