Pennsylvania Sheriff Sales - Doing your own title search
I'm posting this after a hair raising experience navigating a sheriff sale in Central Pennsylvania.
A most sincere thanks to Steve Babiak for his expert help!
In this Blog Post I will outline the process. Questions & Comments are always appreciated. After all, life is one big learning lesson!
1. Go to the local Sheriff's Office to get a list of the upcoming foreclosures. I took my iPhone and had no trouble snapping a photo of each. Though different counties have different rules, so bring a pen and notebook.
2. Go next door to the Prothonotary's office and look up the person(s) who are facing foreclosure. Look for case(s) titled "Execution" and pull them up on the screen. Note the date, name of lender, and amount.
It is important to note that the Prothonotary only has information on delinquent payments, so liens that are paid current will not show up.
Visiting different counties has revealed that data archives are not the same. Each computer interface will likely be different. Don't be shy, get someone from behind the counter to help you get started. Ask them how to search everything, and how to view the dockets.
3. Go next door to the Recorders office and look up the person(s). Here you will be able to figure out what lien position the foreclosing lender is in. Check all assignments carefully to make sure you know what you are buying.
4. Figure out your max purchase price and get ready to bid!
In my case had I not stopped to the Sheriff's office the day before the scheduled auctions, I would have NOT seen one. That is right. An excellent parcel came up the day before the auction. Lucky me, because no one else showed up to bid and we got an excellent deal. If you're planning to attend an auction, stop to check the list as frequently as feasible, but definitely check it the day before.
If you have never done a title search before, make sure you PRACTICE before the auction. Even if you're not interested in a property. There are many other people doing title searches, and if you get stuck or have questions, it is better to ask and find out answers ahead of time. There is nothing worse than scrambling to figure out if you should bid mere moments before the bidding starts.