Sheriff Sales – What You Need To Know

Buying a home from a sheriff sale can be a great way to purchase a home. However there are a lot of factors to consider when going to the county courthouse to find that special bargain. Read on for a list of important factors to consider when buying a home from sheriff sale or sheriff auction.

  • When placing a bid to buy a home at sheriff sale you need to be aware that a 10% down payment is required immediately proceeding the auction. This 10% needs to be in the form of personal check, certified check or cash (although some counties do not accept personal check). If you do not know how much money you are going to be able to buy the home for then you may want to obtain a certified check in the amount of the maximum that you intend to bid for a certain house and this way you have enough to cover the 10% and you do not go over the amount you intended to bid.
  • After you have successfully placed the highest bid and won an auction for a specific home you will have 30 days from then to come up with the remainder of the balance of the home. The remaining balance of the purchase price is due by certified check only. You will generally have 8 days from the date of the auction to come up with the balance in full without interest being assessed, however you will have up to 30 days to come up with the remaining balance with interest being assessed per day. If you are not able to pay the remaining balance within 30 days you can request an extension, which are not always granted, or you will be held in contempt of court and risk losing your 10% down payment. Understand that winning an auction is a legally binding agreement and you are bound to the terms of the sheriff’s department and their policies and laws for a sheriff sale.
  • Financing from traditional mortgage lenders on sheriff sale homes is usually very difficult to obtain. Most mortgage lenders will want to have a full appraisal done, inside and out, and even if you are the winning bidder of a home and pay your 10%, you still do not and will not have access to get onto the property or inside the home. Therefore, getting an appraisal is extremely difficult. Also, many homes that have been foreclosed upon and are being sold via auction have been run down, poorly maintained and also have some problems with them. Depending on the severity of these items, many lenders do not want to get involved in properties of this nature.
  • Finally, bidding usually starts at 2/3’s of the county assessed value of the home and the homes will not generally be sold for less than this. Most lenders will send a representative from their attorney’s office to the sheriff sales to bid on the homes to buy them back. Usually, lenders will not allow a home to be sold at sheriff sale for below what is owed on the current mortgage. Therefore, knowing roughly how much was owed on a mortgage prior to going to the sheriff sale is very helpful. Not all lenders send a representative to every auction to buy a home back, but most do. Sometimes, homes that do not sell at auction will be attempted to be sold again at a future sheriff sale with the starting price being decreased. This is when your opportunity to buy a home for way below market value really increases.

Therefore, it is important to understand that by bidding on a home you are agreeing that if you are the winning bidder you will pay the full amount of your bid, plus interest if applicable for the home or you can be held in contempt of court and possibly lose your down payment, along with other court costs and fees. It is wise to do your homework on a property before bidding on it to make sure that you are indeed getting a good deal. Finally know what your maximum bid is for each property that you intend to bid on and never exceed that bid. Understanding the information above can better help you to prepare for a sheriff sale or sheriff auction and help to make sure that you do not end up losing a substantial amount of money. For more information on buying foreclosed homes, please visit:

How Soon Can You Be Evicted After The Foreclosure Sheriff Sale?

Homeowners in foreclosure are rightfully worried about not being able to save their homes and how quickly they will be evicted after the sheriff sale. Although the lender and various “experts” will threaten them with the sheriff showing up the next day to violently kick them out of the house, this is just not the case in foreclosure situation. The county sheriff and the eviction crew will not show up the next day after the sheriff sale, and homeowners should ignore the fear-mongering that threatens this possibility.

Owners should be aware of the implications of the foreclosure auction, though. The sheriff sale will transfer ownership of the property, and the foreclosure victims will not own the house after this point. But this does not mean that the eviction process will happen automatically right after the house is auctioned, as there are more steps that will need to be taken by the new owner.

The high bidder at the auction will most likely have to have the sheriff sale confirmed (this is not a specifically detailed step in every state). This can take from a few days to a couple of weeks after the auction, depending on how quickly the courts and new owner act. But this is generally just a simple step in the foreclosure process after the sale that involves the sheriff and judge confirming the auction was for a legal amount and that the deed has now been awarded to the new owner.

The new owner will most likely be the original foreclosing bank that the homeowners had been dealing with in the first place to stop foreclosure. About 95% of foreclosures end up being purchased by the lender, rather than a third party.

In order to evict former homeowners, the lender will have to request the court grant it possession of the property and order the county sheriff to evict any remaining people or personal items and change the locks. This is a legal process, though. Homeowners should not fear that a bunch of government thugs with badges and guns will show up at their house the day after the sheriff sale to kick them out. Of course, this is exactly what happens, but at a later date if the foreclosure victims do not move out in time.

But the entire eviction process can take up to a month after the sale; throwing people out of their homes is not a simple process before or after a county auction. The court will have no problem ordering the eviction (unless the former owners go and try to contest the sale, eviction order, etc.), but the sheriff’s department will have to give notice of the impending removal. This can be as little as posting a piece of paper on the property with three days notice to move. Thus, after the sheriff sale, former homeowners better be prepared to leave on their own or work out another solution.

People facing foreclosure should not be overly concerned about being kicked out of a house with little notice. The sheriff will not just show up the next day or a few hours after the sheriff sale, as there is still a legal process that must be followed for a bank to take back possession of a foreclosed property. Homeowners probably have at least two weeks to a month after the sheriff sale date to arrange for a new place to move into.

In any event, homeowners are always encouraged to call the sheriff’s department to ask them when then eviction will take place. Even more promising, they can also usually ask for a few extra days or a week in order to move everything out and give up the house peacefully. There is still a chance to negotiate with the local government for more time (courts and sheriff) so that the former owners are not taken by surprise by the eviction.

Thus, the banks and government officials will not evict foreclosure victims right away after the auction, but there is no time to spare, either. Having a couple of weeks to move out can give people a chance to find a place and move in at their own pace, but even a month-long eviction process will go by very quickly. If in doubt, homeowners should contact their local government officials and ask about the eviction — the courts or sheriff will be able to inform them of the date and try to work out the most reasonable solution. They want as little trouble after foreclosure as the former homeowners do.