How does a property become part of a Sheriff Sale in Lehigh, Monroe or Northampton County?
The bank gets ownership of the property from the owner (resident or investor) by suing in county court for ownership
because the current owner has failed to make mortgage payments. If the bank presents a factual case to the
county court, the judge grants the bank ownership of the property. Based on the court's decision, the bank
then gets the deed transferred to the bank's name.
Once the bank begins to foreclose on a residential property, the bank contacts the county sheriff's office. It
is the county sheriff's office that serves the property owner with the county court papers and posts notices
on the front door of the property. If necessary, the county sheriff will eventually evict the owner or
tenant(s) that are occupying the property.
What is a Sheriff Sale in the Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton areas?
In the Lehigh Valley a Sheriff Sale is generally a type of Reserve Auction. In the sheriff sale the bank that
owns the property sets a minimum price for the sale of the property.
The public announcements or "marketing materials" for the Sheriff Sale or Auction will simply say "Sale" or "Auction."
Since the word "Absolute" is not part of the announcements, the property may be offered (bidding is open) for sale,
but not be sold that day.
If the highest bid is not equal to or greater than the bank's set minimum sale price, the sheriff's representatives
checks with the bank's representative at the sale and the property may not be sold that day. Once the sale/auction
starts or opens for bidding on the property, the sheriff's representative or auctioneer conducts the bidding
process in an attempt to meet or exceed the bank's minimum sale price, however, the auctioneer will not
generally announce "SOLD" unless the minimum is reached.
A property may be on the agenda to "Be Sold" at a Sheriff Sale for 1-3 months before bidding for the property is allowed by the bank.
How does a Sheriff Sale property get marketed in the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service)?
If the bank that owns the property does not sell the property at the Sheriff Sale, then the bank will attempt to
market the foreclosed property through a real estate agent in the local multiple listing service. When the
residential property is marketed in the Lehigh Valley multiple listing service, it is often described as a
"bank owned" or a "REO property".
What should Lehigh Valley Sheriff Sale or Auction buyers expect?
The buyer and/or real estate agent will need to:
- - Determine if the property will be offered "as is" at the auction?
- - Prior to the auction, the buyer will need to determine whether inspections, etc. can be done?
- - Identify a title search or settlement company to research the deed, etc. ?
- - Come to the Sheriff Sale with the required certified funds check
- - Finish the transaction with a closing or settlement.
Can anyone buy a Residential Home at a Lehigh Valley Sheriff Sale or Auction?
Investors, first time home buyers, etc. in the Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton area can consider buying a home at a
Sheriff Sale or Auction. Working with an Agent,
who has Sale or Auction experience, will be an advantage.
The buyer needs to be disciplined and stick to their original bid limit as pre-determined by their Competitive
Market Analysis of the property.
The Auction Sale Time Line
The process to buy and take possession of a Residential property through a Sheriff Sale or Auction may take between 5 days to 1 month.