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Civil ProcessAbout Sheriff’s Sales
What is a Sheriff’s Sale?
A sheriff’s sale, generally the last step in the foreclosure process, is a forced sale of real property at public auction.
Foreclosure is the legal process initiated by a lender who holds a mortgage on a property in which the borrower/property owner has defaulted on repaying the loan. This action enables the financial institution to foreclose or terminate the rights of the property owner and force the sale of the property to recoup its loan loss.
When and Where
Sheriff’s sales are held on Wednesdays (excluding holidays) at 2:00 p.m. in the conference room at the sheriff’s office, located at 39 High Street in Newton, New Jersey.
If you plan to attend a sheriff’s sale, you should contact the Foreclosure Unit at 973.579.0850 to make sure a property scheduled for sale has not been adjourned or otherwise postponed.
Notice of Sales/Advertisement
Notices of sales are posted on the bulletin board outside the office of the Foreclosure Unit.
All sheriff’s sales for real property are advertised for four consecutive weeks prior to the initial date of sale. Look for legal notices on Wednesdays in the New Jersey Herald and on Sundays in the New Jersey Sunday Herald.
The Foreclosure Unit maintains an online database of sheriff’s sales which is continually updated as information changes. While every effort is made to insure that these listings are accurate and timely, the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office does not warrant or guarantee the reliability of same.
Sheriff’s Sale Procedures
The following information is provided as a public service by the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office and is intended to present a general overview regarding how sheriff’s sales are conducted. We strongly urge anyone who plans to acquire real property through a sheriff’s sale to seek legal advice and exercise extreme caution.
Purchasing foreclosed properties is not for everyone and can be a risky proposition for buyers who lack experience. Unless you understand the process and have done your due diligence, you could potentially make a mistake that proves to be very costly.
- Until a sale actually occurs, the property is considered private property and no one has a right to enter the premises without the owner’s permission. This means there will be no opportunity to inspect a property prior to bidding on it. A bidder wishing to approach an owner to see a property before a sale is advised that he is on his own.
- The owner of a property may, at any time prior to the sale, try to save his home or property interest in several ways. He may try to reinstate the delinquent amount owed, pay the judgment in full, obtain another loan, etc. He may also try to sell the property in order to pay the judgment and at the same time profit from any proceeds.
- The sheriff’s office does not know the conditions of the titles.
- All sheriff’s sales are sold subject to a first mortgage, if any, and any municipal, state or federal liens. We strongly urge anyone who is not familiar with sheriff’s sale procedures to seek legal advice and to perform a title search on the property before bidding on it. The search may reveal outstanding liens, which the bidder would assume if he is the successful bidder.
- The plaintiff’s attorney may adjourn as many times as is necessary for any reason. A homeowner may also request an adjournment at any time prior to the sale. By statute, the sheriff has the discretion to grant up to two 14-day adjournments.
Sheriff’s sales are held as an open auction (no sealed bids). Properties are purchased as is, with no warranties and all sales are buyer beware.
- Bidding begins at $100.00 and subsequent bids must be in increments of $1,000.00. The property will be sold to the highest bidder.
- Twenty percent of the total bid price (bid deposit) must be paid by the purchaser as soon as the property is sold to him. All deposits must be tendered in the form of cash, certified check or treasurer check made out to “Sussex County Sheriff.”
- If the successful bidder fails to pay the full bid deposit, the sheriff may, at his option, immediately put up the premises for sale again and the original purchaser will be held liable for any deficiency.
- The balance of the sale price is due and payable no later than thirty days after the sale. The first ten days after the sale date are without interest; interest is charged on the balance due beginning on the eleventh day after the sale.
- The defendant has a ten day redemption period after the sale during which time he may object to the sale through the courts or redeem the property. The successful bidder, in this case, would receive his 20 percent deposit back without interest.
- If the balance is not paid on the thirtieth day, the sheriff will have the option of either re-advertising the property and selling it again or proceeding to compel the purchaser to complete his purchase. In the event of a resale, if the property should produce a lesser sum than the former bid, interest and expenses, the purchaser will be held liable for the difference. If it should produce a larger sum than the former bid, interest and expenses, the purchaser will not receive any benefit from the second sale.
- The purchaser will receive a sheriff’s deed after payment of the balance of the bid. It is the responsibility of the purchaser to record the deed in the Sussex County Clerk’s Office.
- If, after the sale and receipt of the sheriff’s deed, the property is owner-occupied, the purchaser must obtain a Writ of Possession to be served on the defendant with instructions to vacate the premises by a scheduled date. This is handled by the Civil Process Unit. If the defendant has not vacated by the stated date, the sheriff’s office will set a final date to make arrangements with the purchaser to have a moving van sent to the property and have the defendant’s personal belongings removed. The costs of the moving and storage is the responsibility of the purchaser.
- If the property is tenant-occupied, the purchaser must go through Landlord-Tenant Court to perform an eviction.
For Plaintiff Attorneys
In order to initiate a sheriff’s sale for real property in foreclosure, you must supply our office with the following:
- Written request that the sale be scheduled
- Writ of Execution
- $1,500.00 deposit
- Short form description for advertising purposes
- Clear legal Schedule A for deed
- Affidavit of Consideration for sheriff’s deed
- Affidavit of Diligent Inquiry [Rule 4:64-2(d)]
Please note that a representative from your firm is required to be present at the time of the sale. If you need further information or assistance, please contact us at 973.579.0850.