F.A.Q.'s

Below you will find answers to the most asked frequently questions, about the Sheriff's Real Estate Sale. If you have other questions you can contact our office at (419) 993-1408.

Can we see the interior of the house?
No.  Properties purchased at Sheriff Sale are not available for inspection. The defendant in a foreclosure action is still the legal owner of the property. The Allen County Sheriff's Office does not have keys for the properties that are being sold. The bank or lending company should be contacted with any questions about an inspection of the property. We have no access to the interior of the houses for sale. No arrangements may be made for an internal inspection of the properties. Any attempt to view the property without the owner’s permission can be a violation of the Criminal Trespassing law of the Ohio Revised Code. The Allen County Auditor can provide a printout on the property showing the numbers, and types of rooms, etc. Sales are "Buyer Beware". You are urged to consult an attorney.
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How does the Sheriff Sale work?
By law, the sale must be a public sale, unless otherwise ordered by the Court. Sales are held on Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m., unless otherwise noted, on the second floor steps of the Allen County Courthouse, 301 N. Main St., Lima, Ohio. You or a representative must appear to bid. All bidding is done at the sale. A deposit of 5% of the appraised value is due at the time that the officer conducting the sale accepts the final bid. If the deposit is not immediately available, bidding will continue with the next highest bidder until a successful bid is reached and the bidder has the deposit.
You must also fill out the Purchaser Information Form (PDF) at the time that you make your deposit. No prior or sealed bids are taken. It works the same as any auction. There is no prior registration. Make sure you can meet the terms of sale. Caution, this is a court function; if the sale is not completed, you are subject to being held in contempt of court.
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What happens to the Liens on the property?
Liens are marshaled, (placed in order and paid in order), and paid from the sale proceeds. A Deficiency Judgment is granted to the Plaintiff, (Lien holder), against the Defendant, (Homeowner), if enough money is not generated at the sale. The liens are then canceled against the property. The exception is a Federal Lien, (which would be on file at the Allen County Recorder's Office). You are urged to check out any liens, and check with an attorney if you have questions. We do not have lien information at the Sheriff's Office.
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Do I receive a clear title?
The sheriff's office does not guarantee a clear title. A title search is recommended. Sheriff's sale information is available in our office at 333 North Main St., on our website www.acso-oh.us, or read the Sunday edition of the Lima News classified section. The Sheriff's Office makes every effort to provide information to the public, but only limited information is available over the phone. For questions of a legal nature, contact a legal advisor. Understand that the Sheriff’s Office acts in the capacity as an agent for the sale of real estate (properties) in compliance with a court order. Properties are appraised by independent appraisers, then advertised, and sold at public auction. The ad from the Lima News will provide you with the same information that the Sheriff‘s Office has on any given property. The Lima News also has the terms of sale, which includes how long you have after the sale before the balance of the purchase price is due to the Sheriff’s Office. If you are interested in the legal description of the property, you can obtain it at the Allen County Recorder's Office, 301 N. Main St., Rm 204, Lima, Ohio 45801.
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What are the steps for a Foreclosure action?
A Foreclosure action that results in the actual sale of the property by the Sheriff is a lengthy process. Key steps in the Process are as follows:

Complaint Filed: The matter is brought before the court. A Property Description Approval Form (PDF) is filed to be sure that the correct legal description is attached to the complaint. This assures that the correct property is being foreclosed upon.

Judgment Entry Filed:
Judgment/judgments are granted and the property may be sold to recover judgment amounts. (Typically filed 3-9 months after the complaint)

Precipe Filed: This order directs the Sheriff to advertise and sell the property according to the court terms in accordance to the terms of the Ohio Revised Code. The Sheriff cannot authorize an extension of these terms.

Public Auction: The property is auctioned at Sheriff sale. Purchasers must be prepared to deliver the deposit at the time that the officer in charge of the sale accepts the bid. If the deposit is not available, the bidding will be re-opened until a successful bidder is found that has the required deposit. The successful bidder will file the Purchaser Information Form (PDF) at the same time as the deposit.

Confirmation Filed: This order names the purchaser, orders the deed preparation, the distribution of proceeds, orders lien cancellations, etc. and awards the purchaser the right to file for a writ of possession should anyone be occupying the property. This confirmation process typically takes about 30days. The balance of the purchase price is due and payable at this time. Failure to complete the sale will result in forfeiting the deposit and being held in contempt of court.
Deed Recorded: The Ohio Revised Code makes the Sheriff's Office the agent of the purchaser for the purpose of accepting recording the deed. The deed will be recorded within 14 business days of receiving all of the purchase funds due. The fees for this process will be deducted from the deposit placed by the purchaser at the sale time.

The Common Pleas Clerk of Courts Civil Division is located at 301 North Main Street 2nd floor. They are the keeper of records and have the entire case file for each foreclosure case. Their phone number is (419) 228-3700. Responses to questions posed to the Clerk of Courts office will be limited to the type of paperwork filed. You can access the same information they can provide through their website: http://www.co.allen.oh.us/cle.php
To learn the specific content of any case document, you would have to review the actual case file by visiting their office.
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What if I am interested in a property that has been vacant for a long period of time and want to find out its’ status in the foreclosure process?
Since search options with the Clerk of Courts is by defendant name or case number, you will have to get the name of the current owner of that property. You can access this information yourself by visiting the auditor’s website at 
http://oh-allen-auditor.governmaxa.com/propertymax/rover30.asp.  Keep in mind until a precipe is filed, the property will not proceed to sale. Properties are set for Sheriff Sale after the date of precipe.
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My property is set for Sheriff Sale, when must I vacate?
As defendant, you have redemption rights up until the confirmation is filed. The average time for a confirmation to be filed is 30 days from the sale date. This means that if you pay off your mortgage, and the court costs associated with the foreclosure action, or acquire new financing, you can keep your home. Once the confirmation is filed, you no longer have a right to redeem and the purchaser is awarded a writ of possession. (Some confirmations contain language to award the writ immediately upon filing of the confirmation, others may require that the property is paid for and the deed recorded before the writ can be filed.) This gives the purchaser the right to file paperwork to have the Sheriff notify you to vacate.
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I am leasing a property that is in foreclosure, when must I vacate?
The purchaser may allow you to continue to live in the property or may file for the Sheriff to give you notice to vacate. Your legal advisor must address legal questions arising from your relationship as a renter/lessee with the defendant in the case.
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Can I put more money down for the deposit than is required?
You are free to deposit funds in excess of the minimum amount, provided the amount does not exceed the purchase price and recording costs.  Any overage will be refunded.
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Who should the cashier’s checks be made payable to?
The cashier’s check is be made payable to The Allen County Sheriff’s Office.
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The ad for a property I am interested in was in last week’s Lima News, but not this week’s. What happened?
The property was probably withdrawn or a bankruptcy was filed which puts a hold on sale proceedings. You can verify this by checking the clerk’s website. It may also have been the final week of advertising.
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If no one is living in a property I purchased, can I start renovations right after the sale?
The confirmation (see above) awards the purchaser possession of the property. Until it is filed, any investment in the property is risky for two reasons, first, you do not yet own the property and have not been awarded a right to possession and second, the defendant can still redeem the property.
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Where do I pick up the keys to the property I purchased at Sheriff Sale?
There are no keys for these properties.
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When will my closing be scheduled?
The Sheriff has nothing to do with closing. The purchaser must arrange financing and closing. Since the Sheriff is not involved in the closing, the Sheriff’s Office will not sign any settlement statements or closing documents.
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Where can I get a copy of the appraisal?
The Sheriff’s Office appraisals do not qualify for bank loan appraisals. Therefore, it is recommended that lenders do their own appraisal once the property is vacated. Be reminded that the appraisers have no rights to an interior inspection of the property until after the confirmation.
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I am a defendant in a foreclosure action and am entitled to a portion of the proceeds. How do I acquire these funds?
If there is no distribution in your name in the confirmation filed, check the confirmation for funds to be held by the clerk. The Sheriff’s Office deposits all excess funds with the Clerk’s Office. In order to have the excess funds paid, you must obtain an order from the court, signed by the judge assigned to your case, directing the clerk to disburse the excess funds to you.
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Why does the auditor’s appraisal of a particular property differ from the Sheriff Sale appraisal?
The Auditor’s appraisal is done by law and is completed by a contract mass appraiser who appraises all property in Allen County for tax purposes. Appraisers appointed by the court only appraise the specific property being sold. Since an appraisal is an opinion of value, it may vary widely.
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Can my title company pay for and pick up my deed?
A title company can present a certified or bank check payable to the Allen County Sheriff's Office to pay off the balance of the purchase price. However, the Ohio Revised Code makes the Sheriff's Office the agent for the purchaser for the purpose of recording the deed. This will be accomplished within 14 business days after the entire purchase price has been received by the Sheriff's Office.
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If I want to pay off the balance of a purchase price, can I bring a check to the Sheriff’s Office?
You can pay off the balance of the purchase at any time prior to the confirming entry being filed.  A cashier’s check or money order, payable to the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, is required to pay the balance for a property purchased at Sheriff’s Sale. The Sheriff’s Office will not accept a company or personal check, or a credit or debit card, for either the deposit or payoff balance.
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Will I get my deposit back if a redemption is filed on a property that I purchased at Sheriff Sale?
Deposit refunds are set up for payment immediately upon receipt of the court order to set aside the sale and refund the purchaser’s deposit. Checks payable to more than one payee, must be signed for by all payees, before the check
will be released.
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Can I use my refund check from the Sheriff’s Office to make a deposit at a future Sheriff's Sale?
No. A cashier’s check or money order is required for all deposits at Sheriff's Sale.
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If I do not complete the purchase of a property that I put a deposit on at Sheriff Sale, will I get my money back?
Failure to follow through with the purchase of a Sheriff Sale property may result in all or part of your deposit being forfeited. You may also face fines and jail time for being in contempt of court.
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Do I need a real estate agent to bid for me at a Sheriff Sale?
No. It is a public auction.
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Do I need to register for the sale?
No. There is no registration required. You do, however, need proper picture identification at the time that your bid is accepted by the officer in charge of the sale.
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Can I have someone bid on a particular property in my absence?
Yes. Just insure that you provide the substitute bidder with your notarized power of attorney and the Purchaser Information Form (PDF). In addition, include a name and daytime phone number of someone to contact when the balance due becomes payable. Remember that if you are authorizing someone to bid for you, you are responsible for the purchase.
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If I give the wrong deed information at the sale, can I change it after the sale?
Since the only way deed information can be changed after the sale is by court order, making sure that the Purchaser Information Form (PDF) contains accurate information about how the property is to be deeded is very important. The recording of the deed may be delayed for failure to provide accurate information. You may change the information after the deed has been recorded by filing a new deed.
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What if someone is living in the house that I have purchased?
If someone is living in the house and will not vacate, the Sheriff's Office will remove them on issue of a Writ of Possession. You will be responsible for obtaining the Writ of Possession from the Clerk of Common Pleas Court and for providing the manpower to set out their belongings or place them in storage. We do not have manpower to move belongings. Again, you should consult an attorney for questions regarding any of this.
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What happens to the properties that do not sell?
Sometimes the property will be reappraised or a court order to reduce the amount of the starting bid will be obtained. The property may or may not be set for a subsequent sale.
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How can I find out what happened to a property that went to Sheriff Sale?
Sale results available on the Web Site the day after the sale. Sales are every Wednesday beginning at 11:00 A.M., 301 N. Main Street, except for holidays.
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Tax Sales
Tax sales are foreclosures filed by the Treasurer’s Office for delinquent taxes. They are intermingled with the regular weekly foreclosure sales. Allen County does not have so called “ Over the Counter” Tax Sales. Consideration is given to defendants in these cases and a much higher percentage of these properties are redeemed. A title search is recommended. On Tax Sales you may be required to pay more than the purchase price since the purchaser may be responsible for all taxes due and owed on a particular parcel, up to the point of confirmation. Tax sales are advertised for three consecutive weeks prior to sale. If they are not sold the first time offered, they are set for sale again two weeks later, but are not re-advertised. Some properties unsold after two attempts may be requested by the City of Lima under ORC 5722 and deeded to the City of Lima for the land bank.

Final Warning!
Large amounts of money are involved. Sales are “Buyer Beware.” You are responsible for checking out the property and judge for yourself if it is suitable for the purpose you intend. Consult an attorney if you are in doubt!  It might be the best money you ever spent.
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