Sheriff Sales FAQ
 
 


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REAL ESTATE SALES

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is a Sheriff Sale?
Do Sheriff Sales differ from Tax Sales and Judicial Sales?
When and where do Sheriff Sales take place?
Where are the Sheriff Sales advertised?
What stops a Sheriff Sale?
What happens when a listed sale is postponed?
If I see a property I want to buy, can I view it prior to the sale?
Why does the Sheriff’s Office highly recommend you consult your own attorney for advice about how to purchase property at a Sheriff Sale?
What determines the amount of money the property will be sold for?
How do I buy a property at a Sheriff Sale?
When bidding at a sale, what costs are involved?
What is Real Estate Transfer Tax?
What is poundage?
What happens if I am awarded the bid?
If I am awarded the bid, when do I take ownership of the property?

 


 

What is a Sheriff Sale?

A Sheriff Sale is an execution on a judgment that may be taken on Real Estate and/or Personal Property to satisfy a debt.

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Do Sheriff Sales differ from Tax Sales and Judicial Sales?

Yes, there are significant differences, for information regarding Tax and Judicial Sales contact the Elk County Tax Claim Bureau (814) 776-5326.

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When and where do Sheriff Sales take place?

Generally, sales take place each Thursday starting at 1:00 p.m. in the attorney conference room on the first floor of the Elk County Courthouse (next to the Prothonotary's Office).  Sales are usually not scheduled during the months of July, December, and January due to the change over with real estate taxes.

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Where are the Sheriff Sales advertised?

Sheriff Sales are advertised in The Daily Press if the property is located in St. Mary’s, Kersey, Weedville, Byrnedale, Force and Benezette.  If the property is located in Ridgway, Johnsonburg, Wilcox, James City, Brockport and Sigel, it is advertised in The Ridgway Record.  Sales are advertised three consecutive weeks prior to the sale.  All sales are posted in the Sheriff’s Office for review.

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 What stops a Sheriff Sale?

A Sheriff Sale can be stopped by (1) the writ being stayed – that is all proceedings involving the sale of the property is stopped; (2) a court order; (3) a bankruptcy being filed.

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What happens when a listed sale is postponed?

When a scheduled sale is postponed, the postponement may be up to 100 days and may not be re-advertised in the local newspaper.

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If I see a property I want to buy, can I view it prior to the sale?

No, the properties are not available for inspection.

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Why does the Sheriff’s Office highly recommend you consult your own attorney for advice about how to purchase property at a Sheriff Sale?

The Sheriff does not guarantee clear title to any property sold at sale.  For example, you may buy a property with numerous liens requiring you to pay a lot more money than what you bid for the property and you must, under the law, pay these lien holders to clear the title to the property.  This is solely YOUR responsibility.  Liens registered on properties can be obtained at the Prothonotary’s Office and the Recorder’s Office in the Courthouse.  In addition, there may be other matters, which affect the title to the property, so it is always best to consult an attorney before bidding on a property at a Sheriff’s Sale.

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What determines the amount of money the property will be sold for?

The attorney who represents the plaintiff determines the amount they are seeking.  Otherwise, the procedure followed is an auction of the property with a required minimum bid of the costs of the sale.

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How do I buy a property at a Sheriff Sale?

You need to attend the sale at the date and time advertised.  The sale is a public auction and you will have to verbally bid on the property.  An attorney or representative will attend on behalf of the plaintiff along with the Chief Deputy on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office.

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When bidding at a sale, what costs are involved?

Prior to the sale the Chief Deputy will announce what costs need to be added to your bid, which may include current/delinquent taxes, water/sewer, advertising, etc.  To calculate your total bid, use the following example:  Bid + Costs + Real Estate Transfer Tax x 2% Poundage = Total Amount Owed.

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What is Real Estate Transfer Tax?

Pennsylvania law provides for a state and local tax on the sale of real estate.  All types of real property, including residential, commercial, and agricultural, are subject to the realty transfer tax.  As provided under the authority of the Realty Transfer Tax Act, Pennsylvania currently assesses a 1% statewide transfer tax on the actual sales price of a property.  In addition to the statewide tax, the Local Real Estate Transfer Tax Act allows local communities to assess up to an additional 1% tax.

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What is poundage?

Under Section 21104 of the Sheriff’s Fee Act, the Sheriff is allowed to collect a 2% fee or a commission based upon the total amount bid upon the property.

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What happens if I am awarded the bid?

You will need to pay 10% of the bid price at the time of the sale either by cash, certified check or money order. The remaining amount owed must be paid within thirty (30) days of the sale or you forfeit your 10%.

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If I am awarded the bid when do I take ownership of the property?

The bidder becomes the owner when he/she pays the money and it is accepted by the Sheriff.  However, the ownership is only perfected upon the recording of the deed.  Therefore, bidders should take no action with the house until the deed is recorded.

 

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This page was last updated on: 08/05/2011
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