It is strongly recommended that anyone planning to bid at a Sheriff's Sale make a visit to the property prior to the sale. Double check the address. Take special care to make identify any East, West, North, and South Street Directions. The same for Street, Ave., Blvd, etc. This is a major step in avoiding the pitfall of a novice who may bid on a vacant lot thinking they were bidding on a residential structure.Â
The Sheriff is not authorize to permit or arrange for entry into properties so follow these steps to get a better idea of the condition of the property. (A) If the property is occupied, than talk to neighbors to find out if they are aware of any problems. If the property is vacant than take a closer look at the outside structure. (B) It is also worthwhile to obtain from the City's Department Of License and Inspections (L&I) a list of any uncorrected code violations which L&I may have identified for the property. This information is available at L&I's Permit Issuance Unit, located on the Concourse Level of the Municipal Services Building. A Notice of violation will be provided free of charge, as well as information on existing zoning, electrical or building code violations. Â
While there a bargains to be had at Sheriff's Sales, potential bidders, especially those seeking residential properties, should be aware that property conditions vary greatly. It is also important to know that city loan and grant programs for income eligible owner occupants are available for Sheriff's Sale properties only after the right of Redemption period has expired (See section on the Right of the Redemptions). The city has set this policy to ensure that its limited resources for housing improvements do not ultimately benefit original owners who reclaim their properties. Â
Even if you win a bid on a Tax Sale property, within nine months, the original owner can go to court and get permission to recover the property. This is done by the previous owner paying all back taxes, the money paid by the winning bidder, plus 10 percent interest to the winning bidder. This is called the Right Of Redemption and is the law. The Right of Redemption only applies to property that were occupied 90 days prior to a sale.