Sheriff Sale FAQ
Q: Do Sheriff Sales differ from Tax Sales or Judicial Sales?
A: Yes, there are significant differences. For information regarding tax sales or judicial sales, contact the Tioga County Tax Claim Bureau (570) 724 – 9219.
Q: How do I buy a property at Sheriff Sale?
A: You need to attend the sale on the scheduled date and time. No registration is required. This is a public auction you will have to bid on properties and must be present at the time of bidding.
Q: What is the "upset price"?
A: This is the predetermined amount a Plaintiff is willing to bid in order to obtain a particular property. It may be more or less than the judgment amount.
Q: How soon after the purchase of a property will the deed be recorded?
A: Deeds are recorded approximately sixty (60) days after the sale.
Q: Will the filing of bankruptcy stop a Sheriff sale?
A: The filing of a bankruptcy by a defendant will automatically stay the Sheriff sale. The stay continues until the plaintiff obtains an order of Court discharging the property from the custody of the Bankruptcy Court or until the Bankruptcy Court issues an Order releasing the property from the sale. In this situation, a continuance of the Sheriff sale by oral public announcement at the time and place of the sale does not violate the automatic stay provisions of the Bankruptcy Code. Rule 3129.3(b) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure states that a sale can be continued no more than twice to a date certain within 130 days of original sale date without a new notice.
Q: What stops a Sheriff Sale?
A: The sale can be stopped by (1) the writ being stayed; (2) a court order; (3) bankruptcy being filed. (4) Debtor makes payment or comes to an agreement with mortgage holder.
Q: Can a sale be postponed?
A: Yes, sales can be postponed twice within 130 days from the ORIGINAL sale date.
The sheriff makes a public announcement of the adjournment on the day of the sale to those bidders present; therefore, no new notice or advertisement is required.
Q: How often are Sheriff sales advertised?
A: Each Sheriff sale is advertised in the Wellsboro Gazette once a week for three consecutive weeks prior to the sale. Sheriff sale handbills are posted on the property and in the Sheriff's Office at least 30 days prior to the sale date.
Q: Can I have access to the property to conduct an inspection?
A: No. The Sheriff's Office does not have physical access to the property. The property is still owned by the property owner prior to the sale. Any unauthorized access to the property could result in trespassing charges if the plaintiff desires to press charges.
Q: Is there a warranty on the property?
A: No. All properties are sold "as is" and the Sheriff is not responsible for a clear title. It is recommended that a potential buyer search the property's records in the Recorder of Deeds Office, Prothonotary's Office, and Tax Claim Bureau OR obtain professional assistance in researching the title to the property and status on liens.
Q: Will the deed be clear of all liens and mortgages?
A: The Sheriff’s Office does not guarantee that properties are free and clear. It is solely the potential buyer’s responsibility to do any and all research regarding liens and mortgages on the property.
Q: How much must I put down if I am the highest bidder at a Sheriff's sale?
A: You must immediately pay 10% of your bid. The rest of your bid is due within 10 calendar days. We accept cash, certified check or money order. Pre-approval letters from a bank will not be accepted.
Q: What happens if I cannot pay the remainder of my bid within 10 days of the sale?
A: Your initial 10% is subject to forfeiture and you lose rights to purchase the property. In most cases, the property will be relisted for sale.
Q: If I purchase a property at Sheriff's sale, do I have to worry about satisfying any liens on the property?
A: Generally, no. Delinquent real estate taxes and municipal liens are paid from the proceeds of the sale unless they were not filed as a lien on the property. The realty transfer tax and current year taxes (if not paid by the property owner) as well as a 2% county poundage are added on top of the purchase price and are the responsibility of the purchaser. Interested bidders may want to check the Rule 3129.1 affidavit filed with the Prothonotary's Office by the plaintiff. This document purportedly lists all of the judgment creditors whose judgments are liens of record on the property to be sold.
Q: When will I receive the keys?
A: The Sheriff’s Office does not have access to keys for the property to be sold before or after the Sheriff Sale.
Q: In addition to the bid price, you can also expect to pay the following;
Poundage: A sheriff is entitled to receive a commission based on the total amount bid for the property. The act presently sets the commission at two percent (2%) of the first $250,000.00 and one-half percent (0.5%) of the remaining amount.
Realty Transfer Tax: 1% PA TAX and 1% LOCAL TAX
This amount is based on the total assessed value multiplied by the common level ratio which is established by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.
Conditions of Sale
The Subscriber, Frank Levindoski, Sheriff of the County of Tioga, offers to sell this __ day of ____, 20__ by public sale or auction and by virtue of certain writs of execution issued out of the Court of Commons Pleas of Tioga County, and to him upon the terms and conditions as follows:
1. The highest bidder shall be the purchaser. Immediately upon purchase, the purchaser shall pay the down payment, which is equal to at least 10% of the winning bid price. Purchaser shall also sign an agreement to pay any remainder of the purchase price within ten (10) calendar days.
2. Failure to pay the necessary down payment or sign the conditions of sale will result in the property being immediately put up again for sale.
3. All payments must be made in the form of a money order, certified check or cash.
4. Upon failure to comply with the conditions of sale, the down payment shall be forfeited by the purchaser and shall be applied to pay the costs of sale.
5. Except for creditors subsequently bidding the opening bid and the upset price, all other bidding after the opening bid shall be in amounts evenly divisible by $1,000.00 and in increments of at least $1,000.00.
6. Any Attorney on the Writ may register their bid with the Sheriff. Third party bidders are not permitted to register their bid with the Sheriff.
7. If the Sheriff’s grantee is to be anyone other than the purchaser, a written assignment must be filed with the Sheriff.
8. All properties are sold as is.