Can I Back Out of A Sheriff's Sale

18 Replies

Beginner's "bad luck"! My first ever purchase. I purchased a residential property in Ohio and made down payment after winning the auction.  I just learned that that house actually had caught fire and they had demolished the property and it is only land. What can I do? What are the options I have. I have not contacted sheriff's office but plan to do it soon. Please help...I am already stressed and worried if I should do a stop payment on my down payment check (not cleared yet). Sale is not final yet (30 days wait period). Any help appreciated!

You could be held in contempt of court if you cancel your check and the lien holder can sue you the sales are buyer beware.When did the house burn down and was demolished.this might be your saving grace.Obviously contact an attorney immediately When did you do your due diligence on the property,did you ever drive by it.How much did you pay.good luck

House was leveled in 2014. County auditor has picture of the house that made me buy it. Down payment is significant, about 5K. 

There could be a chance that the auction could be cancelled but you really have to speak to an attorney . This is way beyond my experience and I wish I could have encouraging words for you BP has some experts who might be able to guide you such as @Bill Gulley,or @Jay Hinrichs or @Dion DePaoli, but but do not act until your get advice from an attorney and quickly  Good luck

@Sam Adam

Call an experienced attorney asap as @Steven Picker mentioned. If you don't know 1, find active BP members in your area, call them to ask for referrals.

Unfortunately, this is exactly why auctions are a huge trap for beginners. 

I was in a REIA where they mentioned a buyer thought they bought a great deal in the Trump tower in Chicago. But the winning pin number was actually the parking lot in the tower.

It depends on where you are. Every county in Ohio has it's own rules. First, call the county sheriff's sales department where you bought it, and ask them. They are probably going to say you are out of luck. Sheriff's sale are are "as is" and doing the due diligence is part of deal. 

I have, unfortunately have this happen before. I bought a nice looking house at sheriff's sale and after the sale, found out it was a 100% gut. The entire middle of the roof had collapsed and it was filled with mold. It was an expensive lesson to learn.

Call an attorney in that county after speaking to the sheriff's sale people. The rule is here that you lose your deposit and they re-sell it. I would rather lose $5k, than $50k. 

In the future, call a Realtor in the area and have them go look for you. Just pay them $150 to drive to the site and give you an opinion exterior condition.

probably lose your deposit for sure.. I am not that familiar with the sales that you leave a deposit and close later.. In our market its cash on the barrel head and payment is a cashiers check so once you hand it over its done .. no chance to reverse anything.

In Indiana were I have attended a few auctions.. they make a point of it to say its a violation of the law ( criminal ) to bid on a property and not follow through.. but I don't know there.

Before you go blowing a bunch of dough on an attorney and just making this work.

Simply go to the Sherrifs office and meet with someone of authority and ask what your options are.

it could be a simple.. well you lose your deposit but your not on the hook for the rest.

you could stop payment on check.. I would think not much would happen.. but again I would talk with the sherrif before I did that.

Do you not look at a property in person before you bid on it? I mean unless you have a bunch of money to blow, do your DD. Our sheriff sale is tomorrow. I had 14 properties on my list to look at. I drove to every one today. If it was occupied, I did a look from the street and moved on (I don't like buying occupied houses). If it was vacant, I look all over the outside and inside (of the 14 houses today, 10 were vacant and I was able to get in 9 of them). I know exactly what I'm bidding on and what work will need to be done. Tonight after I respond to a dozen BP posts, I will do my own title search on the property and thoroughly read the foreclosure judgement. Am I bidding on a first mortgage? Are there any judgements/liens on the person/property that are not included in the foreclosure (those do not get canceled if not included). What are the taxes? If I get a house tomorrow, I immediately have to pay the November installment plus I lose 10months of prorations. That's a good chunk of money I need to factor into my bid. This isn't some chump change. I work too hard to tie up any amount of money on a house that is a loser because I didn't do my DD. Maybe you're paying for some real life education here. I hope it works out for you but I think you're SOL. Good luck. 

BTW- I had a couple of people in the past hour message me wondering how I get into foreclosure houses. It's simple, most banks/preservation companies purchase the locks from the same manufacture (at least in my area) and I think it's MFS Supply. I went to their website and ordered one of every lock set (about 40). Each set comes with a key. So I have a huge key chain with the majority of keys for houses. When I buy a bank house, I save those keys as well. Out of the 9 I got in, my keys worked on 7. On one, the lock box just opened (cheap lockboxes from same company) and on one a window was open. 

Disclaimer- I understand the risks I am taking entering a house I do not own. This post is to inform you that you can go to a specific supplier to purchase lock sets. It just happens that those keys may work on other similar locks and it's your discretion to use the key as you feel fit. 

@Adrien S. Lol, totally illegal, but the hacker in me loves it.   Didn't need to spend the money on the keys.  All you really needed was a lock pick gun for the times your tenants install an illegal lock on a door.


I don't know of one good wholesaler, who hasn't done a "thing or two", to get into a house. You gotta do what you gotta do!

I don't know anyone who is buying consistently at the sheriff sale in my area who doesn't view the inside of the house if it's vacant. Some drill locks, some kick in doors, and I take a more passive route and use a key. I don't want to damage a door kicking it in if I'm going to buy the house. 

BTW- some lady purchased a $200K property today at the sale for $15K. She was all excited giving people around her high 5s. No one bid against her. I was sitting a few rows behind her and could see her posting her success on Facebook. I few minutes later someone told her she bid on an HOA (hence why no one else bid against her). You should've seen her face drop. She didn't pay the money within the time frame. She's forever banned from the sale and likely the HOA will go after her. Do you due diligence. It's says in the judgement (cost $1.50 to buy online) who the plaintiff is. No one lets you buy a $200K house for $15K. Sucker

Call an attorney, but in the mean time maybe find another buyer that would be bale and willing to take this down. A friend of mine buys at sheriff sale all the time and re sells the house to another buyer during the 30 day confirmation period, and when it gets confirmed, he double closes and sells to the new buyer.

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Not sure about stopping payment on the down payment check, probably not a good idea to do that.  Folks bid on auction properties and then fail to tender the remaining purchase price.  It is not uncommon.  You will lose your down payment as the penalty. Consider that the cost of your error.  The mortgagee and sheriff will simply schedule for the next auction once your purchase time has expired.  

The main curiosity of my post was to solicit comment on the fact that the home was condemned and demolished in 2014. my question how long ago would a foreclosure have to be done for this to happen. Conversely would the liens have been extinguished since there is no collateral left expect for the land . Would these events have shown a title search ?

Well, I was mentioned and I'm late so I didn't read this thread, I did see don't stop payment! 

If it were me, I'd already be in the Sheriff's office terminating the deal within that 3 day right of recession. It's going to cost you something I'd bet, they will need to start again to dump it.

Do you know anyone who bid against you, they might buy it from you at their highest offer, you can probably get that bidder at the S/office. :)

@Sam Adam In Illinois, I have represented JSD buyers who have gone through the same process.  We have rescinded the sales by offering the Lender's counsel $$$.  If you would like more advice, please feel free to PM me directly.  I strongly recommend that you consult with local RE counsel if you have not done so already.  You must initiate the discussion immediately with Lender's counsel prior to the confirmation of sale. 

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