Anybody have experience with County Sheriff's Auctions?

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Does anyone have any experience with Foreclosure Auctions? I have an app on my phone that has a huge list of foreclosures up for auction in the area that I'm looking for. Are these a good way to find good deals or are these more like a good ol boys club and I'll just be wasting my time. It looks pretty amazing but I didn't want to get my hopes up if it's more smoke and mirrors. Thanks.

I bought a duplex at an auction. It was for back property taxes, so I knew the title was clear. If you have the cash you can by it. No special treatment that I saw. A large number of the properties do not ever make it to the sale though, they get pulled out of the sale for various reasons. Funny side note, when I went to the clerks office to pay I made a comment about buying a property without having seen the inside. The deputy said ‘I can draw you a floor plan’. The sheriffs dept had busted in the door multiple times at this property executing drug raids.
We gutted the place and got it leased out and it has been a good property ever since.
Good luck!

Foreclosures are great but require lots of research and a little more risk than MLS. The reason is your not allowed to see the inside. ( although if the house was previously on the market you can check the MLS). You also have to ensure that the title is clear and there’s no judgments on the property. You also have to understand which judgments follow the owner and which follow judgments stay with the property. is not for everyone and it’s definitely not for the faint hearted. I enjoy it because requires creative strategy along with Creative financing. You can most definitely make money

Originally posted by @David Michael :

Foreclosures are great but require lots of research and a little more risk than MLS. The reason is your not allowed to see the inside. ( although if the house was previously on the market you can check the MLS). You also have to ensure that the title is clear and there's no judgments on the property. You also have to understand which judgments follow the owner and which follow judgments stay with the property. is not for everyone and it's definitely not for the faint hearted. I enjoy it because requires creative strategy along with Creative financing. You can most definitely make money

 So what type of judgments follow the owner and what type stay with the property?

Sheriff sales have been great to me.  Over half of my rentals came from tax sales.  Usually they need plenty of work, but it has worked for me.  

Different states may be different.  

I watch the sheriff sales here in Tulsa very closely. If they are clean, meaning no additional liens have been placed on them, they can be great deals. I would recommend you find an investor friendly realtor, who can help with information from older MLS listings. Many of these properties are now listed on auction sites, like Auction.com, and investors can get some info there. Sometimes the auction site will disclose if the property is occupied, which is really important. If it is occupied, the new owner might be required to deal with an unwanted tenant/former owner, which won't be fun or cheap. Even if you decide not to purchase at the Sheriff Sale, you can have the research done and be ready of the property comes back as an REO, thru HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the VA. Many great properties have liens on them and will go back to the bank to wind up an REO, and then should have a clear title/deed. I hope this helps!

It is very important to know what other liens if any are on the property and what ones will be wiped out by the foreclosure and what ones will not.  My state has statutory redemption laws that give the owner 90 days to pay the money back and keep the property. Sometimes another buyer will run to the current owner and pay him to use the redemption and buy the property out from under you.  The long and the short is however if you have the money and bid highest you get the property.  Good old boys club or not it is the highest bidder who gets it.  Just don't get caught up in the bidding process and pay too much.

@Joshua Hilliard I don't know how this plays our on your side of the river but on my side in Northern Virginia, it is extremely tough to make money at foreclosure auctions.  (Fairfax County, Prince William, Loudoun) First there are a number of experienced investors at every auction who know the good stuff and will lay off the bad stuff.  But more importantly, there are tons of new investors who will make crazy unprofitable bids on properties.  Will they be "one and done"?  Usually. But new ones always take their place.  My experience there (I do not buy but have worked closely with a few of the big players) is that in a strong market like we have now, there are just too many bidders.

One of the posters mentioned knowing title issues. This may differ state by state but in VA, that is not as much of a concern. You need to know basically 2 things - the position of the loan foreclosing and if there are any IRS or tax liens. Everything else pretty much goes away.

If there are clouds on the title, I am pretty sure the deal will be voided. But IRS liens, tax liens and having to pay off a 1st trust are not clouds on the title. If that is why you don't proceed your EMD is gone.

And, yes, you are bidding blind. You can not see the property. Some are great (Once had a client buy a home that needed a little carpet and paint and generated a $100,000 profit. He also got a car which I think he eventually sold.) Others are full of surprises - pipes that burst over the winter and filled the home with mold. The ARV on both properties is easily obtained but the scope of work is completely unknown.

The only somewhat successful person I worked with had deep pockets and bid on multiple properties a month.   She knew some would be losers and some would be winners, but by buying enough she would likely come out ahead.  Trying to find the right one and pinning your hopes on that property is a path to bankruptcy.

Not for the faint of heart.

Good information here, but does any one know how or where I could get a list of tax liens or tax deeds in Connecticut or neighboring  states.

NJ has a high number of foreclosures, so people are certainly making money acquiring.

In Philadelphia the market has tightened because of newer investors jumping in.  They city is happy as long as the properties get sold, but they won't be happy they sit dormant forever.  

You can definitely make money, and if you plan on buy/hold you can bid higher than the flipper.  That certainly doesn't make them happy...

Originally posted by @Joshua Hilliard :

Does anyone have any experience with Foreclosure Auctions? I have an app on my phone that has a huge list of foreclosures up for auction in the area that I'm looking for. Are these a good way to find good deals or are these more like a good ol boys club and I'll just be wasting my time. It looks pretty amazing but I didn't want to get my hopes up if it's more smoke and mirrors. Thanks.

 Hi Joshua, 

One of the best things to do when dealing with an auction property is to attend a few (not just one) auctions so that you become familiar with the process and the speed at which they operate.  I can only speak to property auctions here in Ohio, but there are many people that buy auction property for themselves and others all day everyday and they are really good at the process.  Watch a couple of these folks and how they operate and that will be a big help when you go to purchase a property you want at auction.  Hope this info helps! 

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