DEFINITION of 'Sheriff's Sales'

A term used to refer to distressed public property auctions. Sheriff's sales is generally the last step in the foreclosure process after the homeowner has exhausted all his/her options to avoid defaulting on a mortgage. Once the borrower has defaulted, the lender will file suit in court to recover its loan loss, and if the court awards a judgement, the property will be scehduled to be sold at a public auction.

BREAKING DOWN 'Sheriff's Sales'

If you are looking to buy property at a Sheriff's sale, there can be some big advantages. The biggest advantage is that most of these distressed properties will typically be sold for less than market value. Buyers are also given ample time to do due diligence on the property as Sheriff's sales are usually advertised four to six weeks in advance, or in some states even six to eight months in advance. Proper research on such things as outstanding liens on the property can help avoid some risks of buying at an auction.

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