Foreclosure Auction (Sheriff Sale and Trustee Sale) FAQ

44 Replies

Many questions come in regarding buying at foreclosure auction - whether it be a sheriff sale or a trustee sale. So here is a round up of some threads that cover the gamut of topics that have cropped up. Enjoy the suggested reading!

Pennsylvania Sheriff Sales - Doing your own title search

Thanks for putting this together, Steve. It's an excellent compilation to help a newbie like myself get a basic understanding of the sheriff's sale process.


@Steve Babiak,
Thank you so much for the links. Now I am going to loose more sleep again, but it will be worth it.

Roberta Langford - IMO losing sleep reading BP and learning is far preferable to losing sleep over a possible mistake made in a foreclosure auction purchase ...

So even with all the research described you do no think I should follow through....even if I have a lawyer look over?

Hubby works in foreclosure, and he can review as well. BTW no inside information nor conflict of interest in potential properties. I am ethical.

I am tempted to go to the open market with cash offer.

Roberta Langford - only you can determine whether you are comfortable enough with doing this.

PS - I think you meant to post that last statement in the other thread that you started :) This thread doesn't have the context for others to chime in.

@Steve Babiak ,
I am uncertain if I will follow through....with auctions,and that is why I stated that last line impulsively.

If I can not find a lawyer Monday to perform title/deed--then I will not bid. If you and other wise investors tell me it is not a good idea. I am going to listen. And I am thankful for your honest opinions.

I have other options on the open market with a realtor--plan B and C. Always thinking ahead...


I see you are in Texas, and you don't need a lawyer you can use a title/escrow which is the same in Texas.

Joe Gore

this also count for the tax sales??

Originally posted by @Jorge Torres :
this also count for the tax sales??

Some of those links are probably relevant for tax sales too. With tax sales, local rules are so varied that it would be a challenge to identify which of those threads are actually applicable.

Actually they were extremly hepful!

I know the only liens that remain after a Tax Deed sale are certain state, county, and municipal liens and Federal tax liens.

My cuestions is how to do your homework, here in florida.
Cause a will go to the auction with 20 prospect to buy 3 o 4 properties.

@Steve Babiak @Joe Gore

Am I right that auctions at AuctionDOTcom require all of the same due diligence as courthouse auctions? I will go read all the threads now...

I was going to post a link to an actual property that is being auctioned April 21 - 24, but something weird happened when I went there now. The AuctionDOTcom listing used to have the same picture and description seen here on Zillow:


But I just went to AuctionDOTcom and there is a different picture there that doesn't look like the same house:


Also, the original AuctionDOTcom link had said "schedule a showing today," which I thought was cool because I could actually view the inside before bidding. But that is gone now and it has a warning about not disturbing the occupant.

I am not so interested anymore, so I think I won't call my realtor's title person and research it.

One last question to anyone: do you think it is ever possible to get a house at 70% ARV at AuctionDOTcom or is the bidding so competitive that people bid it up past that every time?

@Kirsten Walstedt Depending on your area, has three different types of auctions.

REO and short sales everywhere

Trustee foreclosure (think court house steps) in some areas

The foreclosure auctions are buyer beware just like any other foreclosure auction.

As for their REO auctions, some are supposed clear title, some are QCD only, so you have to read the fine print for each one.

The "schedule a showing" properties are either REO's or short sales

The REO and short sale properties aren't a "high bid wins" scenario, it's a "high bid puts you in negotiation with the bank" bid, as with REO's there is an undisclosed reserve price, and on the short sales it just puts you "in contract" with the short sale.

@Steve Babiak   Thank you very much for posting all of this information. I have gone through a majority of the articles you've posted regarding buying properties at auction. 

I do have one additional question and figured you may know the answer - Would I be able to purchase a property directly from the lender before it goes to auction? Or do I have to wait until the actual auction to purchase it?

The lender does not own the property until the auction has happened (and no other party outbid the lender).  So @Kyle Kelley  the simple answer is no. The borrower might want to sell, they might be underwater so it would be a short sale subject to lender approval - but that is about it with the lender prior to auction. Unless you are talking about buying notes - but that belongs in another forum and I believe threads already exist discussing that idea. 

@Jorge Torres You search the Clerk's site for liens, the Tax Collector site for additional taxes. But, you won't find unrecorded code violations, or unrecorded HOA debts.

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