Foreclosure Properties at The Local County Sheriff’s Office

Bidding Foreclosure Sheriff Sale

An Auction, better known as a sheriff’s sale, is what happens after a foreclosure mortgage process if the homeowner if incapable of fixing his financial problems with the lender.

There are three phases before the homeowner’s right of possession is revoked and the property is sold at public auction:

  1. The mortgage document: this document serves as a security device to pledge the property against the loan.
  2. If a default occurs: is when the lender could end with the homeowner’s right of possession by filling , suiting and proving in court that the property ought to be sold in order to recover its loss as agreed in the signed mortgage in case of default.
  3. The awarded final judgment: after the court awards its final judgment the lender is able to foreclosure and finally schedules the property’s sale.

In the foreclosure the property is sold through bids at public auction and under the court’s direction. By the end of this process the successful bidder becomes the new owner of the property.

Doing Research on Foreclosed Properties

Sheriff sales are advertised 4 to 6 weeks in advance or, in some states, from 6 to 8 months before the sale. You should use that time to research the property:

  • Perform a title searching: This step is essential; you need to assure that the first mortgage holder is the one foreclosing. Although this research has a cost is worth it if you have in mind how much could you loss if the condition of the title is not at that person.
  • Calculate the profit potential: this profit has to start from the price you could get from selling the property in good condition, subtracting first repair expenses and from this subtract the holding cost and finally subtract the closing cost incurred when the property is sold and there you will have what will be your last subtotal.


  • Evaluate and inspect the property: determine the profit potential on the property by using comps and bookers’ opinions of price or you could simply pay an inspector to check on the foreclosed property. An inspector could assess you in any repairs and damages that will have to be taken care of before thinking of re-selling that property.       Consider that those expenses will have to be deducted from the initial calculated profit.
  • You maximum bid amount: The main reason why you are buying a property through a sheriff’s sale is because you are hoping to earn money from this purchase and not to lose money. The way you should work your bidding is: the final judgment amount will be your lower bid and the net you will be your highest bid. Any amount above that point won’t be worth it.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Foreclosed Property

The biggest advantage of acquiring a property through a Sheriff’s sale is the possible high profit potential that comes when there’s a great difference between the market value and the final amount at auction.

However there might be more disadvantages from an auction, like the fact that you will need a certified check or a large cash outlay to make your bids and this due to the window you have to pay for the property which can range from hours to days depending on the county.

And some other issues as well, like not being able to inspect the property before the bidding, dealing with tenants residing in the property or facing land use problems.

In any case buying a foreclosed property could be a gamble but bigger chances are that by doing the proper research and using your common sense you end up having a good deal rather than a headache.

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