Property at Sheriffs Sale - Considering bidding

I’ve been looking at a property that is being sold at auction in about 10 days. I’ve been digging through records at the Register of Deeds office, and trying to understand it all. Amount owed is mid 60’s. I think it could sell fast in the mid 90’s. Roof is shot and siding is not much better. Plaintiff is a bank and defendants are the owners and 2 other banks. In the records I noticed that one defendant bank is only down for 1000 dollars. What guarantee do I have that the plaintiff has listed everyone to wipe them out for a clear title. Has anyone done a title search on an auction property to be sure? I tried to get tax records, but I don’t have a parcel ID and it says you need one to get to tax records… So many things to think about. I can get the $$ for the purchase, but do I want to risk it. I’ve heard horror stories about purchases at auctions only to find out it was the 2nd mortgage and not the 1st, so the first mortgage was still with the title.

Any comments appreciated.


These sales are unique. Beginners should stay away until you have learned some of the tricks of the trade. I suggest going in person for a week and getting a feel for the auction itself.

You do not have any guarantee the foreclosing attorney caught everything. Trust me it happens. Get a title exam and search from an attorney or title company, they will inform you of the current title issues if any.

The only horror story I see from sheriff sales is from inexperienced investors. IMO, this is one of the riskiest ways to buy real estate.

You should be able to find the parcel id very easily. The property appraiser will have it on their website probably. I think most do. You better do more homework before you decide to go jump in.

Thanks for your comments REO. I take them very seriously. The owner of this place has a very long record at the clerk of courts. Another investor and I was looking through the records. Reckless driving, not paying medical bills, not paying educational bills??, in and out of lis pendens. For this reason the other investor agreed with you that it would be best to let the bank take it back and deal with it then. My wife agrees too. It is hard to fight the anxiety of getting in that first deal. I have passed on a dozen places in the last 3 months due to the no’s not working out or scary neighbors - lots of reasons. I want to dig in and get my hands dirty on that first property, but I realize that emotions have no place in the investing world. If the bank takes it back I will want to get the ball rolling quickly as to purchasing the property from them. Has anyone been in contact with the bank up to and through the sale? Has a bank ever taken offers before they list the property? Has anyone received info from the bank as to who they are going to list with? Thanks. Jeff

Don’t waste your time with the bank until the foreclosure sale has completed. The banks won’t deal with you until then anyway. #1 reason, they don’t own the property. Most banks will tell you to deal with their listing agent after the sale, that’s why they use us. No they will not entertain offers before the sale for the above reasons. My advice is to learn your market. I mean, learn the REO agents in your market and what accounts/lenders they service. Certain agents have certain corporate accounts. I have investors that call me as soon as they see the property sell at the courthouse because they know I service that particular lender and I will be marketing the property.
Also, the banks are not ignorant about their assets, they already know the current condition and market value comprised from several different BPOs or appraisals. Being the first to submit an offer doesn’t guarantee you offer will be the one they accept. They have their own tricks that many will recongnize… like simultaneous bid periods(VA foreclosures) and one of my favorites, pricing the properties for potential bidding wars. This in my area is becoming more and more popular due to the “foreclosure craze”.
But remember, all these companies have their own rules and each asset is different. So, nothing is really set in stone when it comes to these type properties.