Taking possession of a sherrif's sale property - PA

8 Replies

Hello...quick question on Pennsylvania Sheriff's sales. I've purchased at sheriff's sales before in various counties within Pennsylvania. Typically, if the house is vacant, I wait until I get the updated deed and then change locks and begin my rehab. I've heard others say that once I pay my 10% down payment at the sale, I have a vested interest and I can enter the property - also, there is no redemption period in PA. This doesn't sound correct to me, but it would be nice to get in and assess the job earlier then when the deed is recorded into my name. Does anyone have any experienced input on this matter?

Also, when do the home inspector's hired by the bank typically stop their regular check-ins after the property is sold? Just wondering in I'm going to walk into a jungle in the backyard by the time I get possession or if they take care of it along the way. Or if I could start setting that up on my own.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

@Chad Jarrah you have some valid questions. When we buy at the Allegheny county sale they say we are not supposed to enter the premises or contact the occupants until the deed is recorded. BUT what we do is if its vacant we post the door with 2 weeks to 30 days notice depending on if there are items in the house and we change the locks. Then we wait till our deed is recorded before doing anything. I would also post that this property has been bought at the sale please stay out. This will also keep the bank from entering again for their regular check ins

Thanks @Alex Deacon , I appreciate the response. So you set your postings and change the locks the day you are the winning bidder and put down your 10% (if it's vacant that is)? But you don't start your rehab until the deed is officially recorded, correct?

If it is vacant or occupied, I post a notice that says to contact me within three days because as the new owner I am changing locks unless I am contacted, just to be making sure the property is secure. Is there some law that supports that? I dunno ;)

I'm not so interested in changing locks as much as getting discussion going on the moving plans of any occupants. As long as they stay, the old locks stay too. And I sort of say that in discussions if I am contacted. If it's vacant, nobody makes contact and locks get changed.

Now, if they dig in and require you filing to eject them, that has to wait until you get the deed. But anytime you can get them out earlier than that is a win.

And starting rehab - yes, start as soon as you get in unless there is IRS lien; if IRS lien just do demo and stop until 120 days pass (IRS redemption period is 120 days). Sometimes getting permits is tricky, but I just explain it was a sheriff sale and the deed is going to take a bit of time; that usually works in getting the permits when you are not yet named on the deed.

I will point out that though there is no redemption period on PA mortgage foreclosures, the sheriff sale can be challenged within thirty days of the sale. So your purchase might get overturned if successfully challenged. Unlikely as that is, it is still worth a mention.

Forgot that you asked about bank property preservation visits. The lawn mowers don't read your signs, so let them continue to give you free mowing as long as you can get it. As far as the guys who check the interior, they will read your signs and stop visiting; and you hope they operate independently of the lawn service ;)

Hey @Steve Babiak , thanks for both of your responses. Would definitely be nice to get a head start on the rehab. The one that I got was pretty clean though so I hope to have it back on the market quickly. Thanks again Steve!

@Chad Jarrah   Great name!  

When I foreclose as a mortgage holder and it sells to a 3rd party, the first thing I do is cancel insurance and the property preservation, IF it is a 24 hour full purchase price payment requirement.  However, if it is a 30 day such as in PA I keep both just in case it reverts back as @Steve Babiak mentions above.