Sheriff Sale Auction Etiquette

Jul 11, 2016 | Uncategorized

Every county has its own Sheriff Sale auction etiquette. The sheriff’s website for the county normally posts general directions for what you need to do at a Sheriff Auction.  However, you still should be in the know before you attend a Sheriff sale and expect to buy a new home.

Let us compare two different “Sheriff Sales” in two different states to look at general differences.  In New York county/New York City the Sheriff sales are held Wednesdays in Room 130 at the Supreme Court, 60 Centre Street, New York, N.Y. at 2:15 PM. The sale is normally managed by the referee who was overseeing the foreclosure process in New York.  You can look in the New York Law Journals Public Notices to see which properties are scheduled to be up for sale, unlike Kings county where the sales are on Thursdays and the list is online and the rules are also easily found.  However just like any sale, if someone gets an adjournment for declaring bankruptcy or makes a deal with the plaintiff the properties will not be sold, and there will be no notice as to why the property did not sell.  The sale in New York requires 10% down to secure the property in either cash or certified or bank check made payable to the Referee.  Be prepared for people to start yelling “Check their funds” if the price starts to get high.  Many first time bidders make the mistake of only bringing a checkbook or a copy of a bank statement, and both of these will not work.  New York County allows anyone to bid, and it becomes the Referee’s job to verify funds.

In New Jersey, the process is slightly different. Looking at Hudson County in particular, the comparison of scale is fairly striking.  Hudson County has almost 200 properties auctioned off every month weeks while New York County generally has less than 10 properties a month auctioned.   Looking at the Sheriff Sale in Hudson County, there is a 20% down-payment required in the form of a certified check made out to the bidder. So in New York, $100,000 can hold a million dollar property while the same $100,000 will only go half as far in New Jersey. In New Jersey, the bidder would then sign the check that was made out to him or herself over to the County Clerk.

The process to verify funds in New Jersey is also different than New York City in that the funds will be verified before people are even allowed to start bidding.  So many people show up at the Hudson County Sheriff’s auctions that there is normally a line to get into the courtroom before the auction is held.   First bidders with certified checks are let in, and then the general public is let in until the courtroom is full. As the auction proceeds and people leave the courtroom, more people are let in to watch, but not bid.  The list of auction dates and rules for Hudson County Sheriff Auctions can be found here.  The list of Jersey City Sheriff Sale properties and other Hudson County Cities for sale are listed here.  The list is not the easiest to view and can require a bit of navigating to figure out just what properties are for sale.  For instance, searching for properties for sale on July 21st will list properties that have already had the sales requested to be adjourned by either the plaintiff or the defendant. The data can also be difficult to read unlike the below.

Data based on Hudson County Sheriff website – Accuracy not guaranteed – Perform your own lien search, or hire an attorney – Do not rely solely on this data

Link to data for July 21st sales 

Download Excel file of data

As with any Sheriff Sale, in both states defendants and plaintiffs often come together to find solutions as to not have to auction off people’s homes. Loan modification, short sales, cash for keys, and even bankruptcy are all ways that sheriff sales can be cancelled. Contact us if you know anyone that is in need of help or call (973) 200-1111.

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