Lancaster County Sheriff Sales - Where To Find Information

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

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I get asked alot about Lancaster County PA Sheriff sales.  When are they?  What do I have to do?  Here's some Sheriff Sale basics:

Lancaster County PA Sheriff Sales1. Sheriff Sals are to satisfy unpaid mortgage owed. These are NOT “tax sales”. Those are conducted by the Treasurer’s office.
2. The bank or mortgage company’s legal firm initiates the sale after a lengthy foreclosure process.
3. As a result of new developments in the Foreclosure process, some properties which are announced in the newspaper may not still be available in the day of sale.
4. Sale begins promptly at time established; bidders may come early but baliff may not open the courtroom doors until a few minutes just prior to the sale.
5. A legal representative from the mortgagee is present for each property.
6. The legal representative for the mortgagee sets an “upset bid” or “upset price” which is the amount required
by the mortgagee (this amount is communicated to the counsel a day or two prior to sale date).
7. Bidding continues from the “upset bid” amount until high bid is reached.
8. If the upset bid is not bettered, the legal representative “wins” the property and it is to be returned to the bank.
9. Bidders need to have 20% down in certified funds. Sheriff advises bidders to have checks made out to the bidder, not the sheriff. This allows for the bidder to easily return the check if no purchase is made.
10. The Lancaster County Sheriff advises bidders to bring funds equal to 20% of the maximum amount the bidder will be willing to pay for the subject properties. Amounts in excess of 20% will be credited to the bidder against the balance owed; NO change will be issued on the day of sale.
11. The sheriff warns that clear title is NOT conveyed; bidders are strongly advised to perform a title search to ensure that property is not encumbered by other mortgages or liens, etc.

As a Lancaster PA foreclosure expert, I've advised many investors on their options to purchase distressed properties.  Quite often, customers will want to explore the Sheriff Sale option but decide against it due to the high risk and uncertainty involved.  There are some serious players attending the Lancaster Sheriff Sales, and you have to come prepared and ready to bid.  Certainly not for the faint of heart!

If you're interested in attending a Sheriff Sale there is one coming up on January 28th, 2009 at the Lancaster County Courthouse.  Here's the list of Lancaster Sheriff Sale Properties coming up that day.  Here also are the Conditions Of Sale set by the Sheriff (which are read aloud at the outset of every sale).


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 For Lancaster PA homes for sale click here. Jeff Geoghan is a top real estate expert in Lancaster County, PA, and an involved community member. Jeff's work has been featured in the Lancaster Newspapers, WGAL Channel 8, PA Business Journal and Wall Street Journal. Jeff's blog on Lancaster County and its homes is nationally-featured. Contact Jeff for more help with your Lancaster PA Real Estate needs. Jeff is also a photographer - view some of his portfolio. Comments are welcome!

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Asheville 1031 LAND BROKERAGE - Asheville, NC
Invest in the Land


Could you tell me if this procedure is common across the USA...and if so could you add a link to this post? THX! I would like to reBLOG this poist as part of my Things to Consider series...

Jan 10, 2009 07:57 AM #1
Lauren Krady Lancaster
Keller Williams Realty - Lancaster, PA
PA Realtor

Great info, I have never bought at a sheriff's sale before but maybe someday!

Jan 11, 2009 08:09 PM #2
Jeff R. Geoghan
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Lancaster, PA
REALTOR, Marketing Manager

What sort of link do you want, JaneAnne?  Not sure what you need.


Jan 12, 2009 11:08 PM #3
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

This is good information, and it should live on in Google, Jeff.

Jan 13, 2009 11:19 PM #4
Jeff R. Geoghan
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Lancaster, PA
REALTOR, Marketing Manager

Margaret - I sure hope so!  There is so much disinformation about Sheriff Sales out there.

Jan 14, 2009 10:53 PM #5
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Jeff R. Geoghan

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