Seized Property Auctions

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What Is a Seized Property Auction?

A seized property auction refers to the sale of property that has been seized by the state or local government. The sale of the property is overseen by state or municipal government officials, and usually takes place where the property itself isolated. This usually takes place in connection with a foreclosure by judicial sale or judicial lien, but it can also involve other laws as well (such a criminal drug case).

The way this works is that the government takes over the title to land, and then sells it to the highest bidder. Bids may be submitted by depositing a certain amount with the government agency (the amount is refundable if the person doesn’t get the bid). The bidder usually needs to be there in person, though written bids are sometimes allowed.

Many purchasers prefer to buy property through seized property auctions, because they are often sold at prices which are lower than normal. Tax deed sales are similar to auctions.

Should I Inspect the Property Sold at a Seized Property Auction?

As with any property sale, the buyer should always make a thorough inspection before purchasing (or even placing a bid). In most jurisdictions, the general rule is "buyer beware," meaning that it’s up to the buyer to do their own research of the property. This also holds true for property being sold during a government auction.

Also, no broker is required to participate in a government auction. However, the government will not provide financing, so it’s always best to work with a broker and a lawyer for major transactions.

What If I Have Dispute over Seized Property?

Seized property disputes can sometimes arise for various reasons. For instance, financing and mortgage issues can still arise, as the buyer still needs to find their own financing for the home purchase. Less common are other issues such as title defects and other concerns with the title. Since the sale is usually due to a judicial intervention, quiet title proceedings are usually not involved. However, a quiet title proceeding can be necessary in instances where the buyer discovers a defect with the title.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Seized Property Auctions?

Obtaining property through a government auction can often be very beneficial for the buyer. However, there can be many legal issues involved that must be approached carefully. You may need to hire a lawyer for assistance when participating in a seized property auction. Your attorney can provide representation and can help represent you in court if you need to attend court hearings.

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Last Modified: 10-31-2013 12:21 PM PDT

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