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Lehigh Valley Residential/Home Sheriff Sales?

Sheriff Sale House Image

The number of residential properties that are auctioned at county Sheriff sales in the Lehigh Valley is increasing as more residential home owners in the Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton area suffer foreclosure and give-up ownership of their property to mortgage holders.

Each of the Lehigh Valley Counties conducts their Sheriff Sale business a little differently, however, the process usually starts with the owner experiencing financial difficulty due to unexpected medical bills, loss of a job or the acceptance during the 2001-2006 housing bubble of an adjustable rate mortgage that is now changing.

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:

Home Inspection Image

  • - 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.

Want more information about Lehigh Valley Home and Property Sheriff Sales?

Give us a call or contact us today.

Joe Finnerty- or -Joe Kaminski
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BHHS Fox & Roach REALTORS, Lehigh Valley PA
3101 Emrick Boulevard, Suite 101
Bethlehem, PA 18020
Main Office: 610-865-0033
FAX: 610-974-9430

Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. We are REALTORS® in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and affiliated with BHHS Fox & Roach REALTORS. We are not financial planners, tax advisors, or attorneys.

Lehigh Valley Investment Properties serves the following areas Bethlehem, Allentown, Easton, Forks Township, College Hill, Plainfield Township, Washington Township, Bethlehm Township, Bangor, Bushkill Township, Nazareth, Tatamy, Stockertown, Hellertown, Lower Saucon, Freemansburg, Pen Argyl, Williams Township, Palmer Township, Hanover Township, Walnutport, Lehigh Township, Wilson, Wind Gap, Mt. Bethel, Portland, Roseto, Allen Township, Northampton, Bath, Moore Township, Catasauqua, Whitehall, Macungie, Lynn Township, Slatington, Milford, Emmaus, Coopersburg, Center Valley, Springfield Township, Weisenberg, Orefield, Trexlertown, Breiningsville, Upper Saucon, and Saucon Valley. Lehigh Valley Foreclosures, Sheriff Sales, HUD Homes, Short Sales, and Auctions.