FORECLOSURE SALE (AUCTION)
A foreclosure sale refers to the auction conducted by the court-appointed referee. It is usually held on the courthouse steps or just inside the courthouse rotunda. The sale must occur on the date scheduled in the notice of sale. It is open to the public and third parties can bid. Usually the referee will announce the sale and note the names and addresses of any bidders. Sometimes, there are no bidders and the only parties that show up at the sale are the referee and a bank representative. If the bank is the highest bidder or if there are no other bidders, then the bank may end up taking back the property. Since third-party bidders do not know what the ultimate high bid amount will be, they typically show up with certified checks in increments of $5000 or $10,000 and then use those checks combined to make up the bid deposit. At the conclusion of the auction, the highest bidder is required to pay the referee at lease 10%. The balance must be paid at a closing with the referee which is supposed to be held within 30 days but, in practice, is sometimes extended. The auction is a critical time for the property owner. Until the “gavel is struck”, the property owner can take steps to try to stop the sale by filing an order to show cause for a temporary restraining order or by filing bankruptcy to get an automatic stay. Once the sale is concluded, however, it becomes much more difficult to retain the property. After the sale, a homeowner can still file an order to show cause to try to vacate the sale but the odds are certainly stacked against the owner at that point. Delaying is never a good idea in foreclosure. If you own a property and receive a notice of sale, you should immediately contact a litigation attorney for advice.