Exactly What Is a Foreclosure Sale?

A Closer Look At Foreclosure Sales.

Whether they are called sheriff sales, trustee sales, sheriff's auction or foreclosure sales, the end result is the forced sale of the property.
  • The Sales are usually listed amongst the legal/judicial notices in the local newspaper. Some municipalities have lists to which you can subscribe. Still others post the upcoming properties to be sold/auctioned on their websites.


  • The scheduled sale of a particular property is published for a specific number of weeks prior to the sheriff's auction/sale, depending on state law.


  • Even though the auction/sale of a specific property may be advertised and scheduled, often properties are not actually auctioned that day because the property owner has either sold it or reached an agreement with the lender sometimes called a (work out option or short sale) that takes the property "



Foreclosure sales/auctions pose unique considerations for real estate buyers:


  • The opportunity to conduct property inspections can be negligible or extremely limited. Real estate professionals should not expect to schedule a property inspection before the foreclosure/sheriff's sale. Potential buyers usually have limited or no access to properties offered at a foreclosure sale because they are often still occupied by the owners.


  • After completion of the sale and the approval by the courts, if required by state law, it may be necessary for the buyer to initiate legal action to evict the occupants.


  • Buyers are responsible for paying any outstanding liens.


  • The possibility exists that the buyer may not receive clear title. For example, if a special warranty deed is issued, clear title is not guaranteed.


  • Buyers should not be making improvements to the property in states that have the right of redemption until the redemption period has been satisfied.



Information provided by Real Estate Buyers Agent Council, Inc. of the National Association of Realtors.>