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Hamilton County Sheriff’s Property Sales are held on Wednesday at 11:00 am in the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, Room 260, of the Hamilton County Courthouse or online at hamilton.sheriffsaleauction.ohio.gov, depending on the type of sale.
Bank Foreclosure Sale (conducted online)
- Through their attorney, the lending institution files suit against the defendant and obtains a judgment. The time from the initial filing to judgment varies, usually 3-6 months. After the judgment is obtained, an Order for Sale may be filed by the creditor’s attorney which directs the Sheriff’s Office to appraise, advertise, and sell the property.
- Upon receipt of the Order for Sale, the Sheriff’s Office Civil Enforcement Section initiates the appraisal of the described property. Three appraisers complete an evaluation of the property.
- The property evaluation is completed by using general practices such as comparable sales and the property’s general condition upon actual exterior viewing. A fair market value is placed on the property strictly for purposes of the Sheriff’s sale. This value is a matter of public record contained in a document called an ‘Inquisition.’ This document is filed with the Court and becomes part of the official record.
- The advertisement is then prepared by the Sheriff’s Office and sent to The Cincinnati Court Index for publication. The advertisement contains the following information: public notice of the sale, a legal description of the property, the Post Office address, including political subdivision of the property, and any other information that may be helpful to a prospective bidder. The advertisement runs in the Cincinnati Court Index for four consecutive Mondays beginning 24 days before the scheduled date of sale. The Cincinnati Court Index may be contacted at (513) 241-1450 regarding subscription information. A basic list of properties currently scheduled for sale may be viewed at www.hcso.org under the ‘Find Information’ tab.
- The Sheriff’s sale is an online auction. The bidding starts at two-thirds of the property’s appraised value unless otherwise ordered by the Court. The highest bidder is declared the winner.
- The terms of sale are as follows: If the property is residential property valued at $200,000 or less, the deposit is $5,000. If the property’s value exceeds $200,000, the deposit is $10,000. Property listed as a commercial property has the deposit set by the Court. The only accepted form of payment is a cashier’s check made payable to the ‘Sheriff of Hamilton County.’ You may, however, ‘hold your bid’ with a personal check, but it must be exchanged with a cashier’s check within 24 hours unless you have previously been ordered to do otherwise. The balance of the winning bid is due by cashier’s check within 30 days of the sale being confirmed by the Court. The check should be mailed or brought to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Fiscal Office, 1000 Sycamore St., Room 120, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202. The office is located in the North Building of the Hamilton County Justice Center. Checks are accepted Monday through Friday, 9 am – 3 pm.
- The penalty for failure of payment for a property sale may be severe. They include forfeiture of your deposit, citations for Contempt of Court, liability for resale expenses, and banishment from all future Sheriff’s sales as the Court so orders.
- If there are no bids on a residential property offered for sale, a second attempt will be made to sell the property two weeks later. There will be no additional advertising and no minimum opening bid. It will be true open bidding. However, if the winning bid is not enough to cover court costs and property taxes, the winning bidder will be responsible for those in addition to their winning bid amount.
- The Sheriff’s Office holds all sale proceeds until directed to be paid out by court order. No interest is paid on these proceeds. Proceeds from the sale are paid out after the attorney handling the foreclosure files an Order of Confirmation and Distribution with the Court. This order is the Court’s stamp of approval on the sale, representing that all proceedings are conducted according to state law and declares the successful bidder the new property owner. The time frame for the Confirmation Entry being filed is 30 days from the date of sale.
- Ohio law states that the debtor/owner of the sold property has until the Confirmation Entry is signed and of record with the Court to redeem their property. If this occurs, the sale will be set aside, and the successful bidder will have their payment/deposit returned to them. If no redemption occurs, the Plaintiff’s attorney will have a deed drawn in the name of the successful bidder, which will convey all ownership rights of the real estate to said bidder. After all funds are paid to the Sheriff, our fiscal office will see that the deed is recorded. Upon completion of the recording, the deed will be available for pick up in Room 120, North Building of the Hamilton County Justice Center.
Delinquent Taxes Sale (live auction Hamilton County Courthouse)
- The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office files these orders after judgment is rendered in the case. The offered property is sold for an amount equal to the back taxes plus expenses associated with the sale. Payment is in full at the time of sale in the form of a cashier’s check. You may, however, ‘hold’ your property with a personal check, but it must be exchanged with a cashier’s check within 24 hours unless you have previously been ordered to do otherwise.
- The Sheriff’s Office does not appraise or view the tax sale property. All research on tax properties should be done on the book, page, and parcel contained in the sale advertisement and not on any address that may be included in the advertisement.
- If a tax sale property fails to sell on the first sale date, it is offered for sale a second time two weeks later still at the judgment amount. It can be declared forfeited land if it does not sell at the second offering. Several agencies review all unsold properties and may claim some for their use. All unclaimed properties will be forfeited to the Hamilton County Auditor to be offered when they hold their Auditor’s Forfeited Land Sale. The auditor’s office should be contacted directly at (513)946-4000 for information regarding the land sale.
Tax Lien Certificate Sale (conducted online)
- This sale occurs on properties whose tax liens have been sold in bulk to a third party. This entity has a specified period of time to try to collect delinquent taxes and costs from the homeowner. If unsuccessful, the Sheriff will attempt to sell these properties at a minimum bid equal to the delinquent taxes plus all costs associated with the case. The deposit is 10% of the opening bid in the form of a cashier’s check, with the remainder being due within 30 days of confirmation of sale. You may, however, ‘hold’ your property with a personal check, but it must be exchanged with a cashier’s check within 24 hours unless you have previously been ordered to do otherwise.
- If a property fails to sell on the first sale date, it is offered for sale a second time two weeks later without any reduction in the opening bid. If it does not sell at the second offering, ownership of the property will be transferred to the entity that bought the tax lien certificate. It will most likely be offered for sale later by a real estate agent through traditional property sale methods.
- Large amounts of money are involved in a Sheriff’s sale. You are urged to obtain competent legal advice before bidding on a sale. The Cincinnati Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service can be contacted at (513) 381-8359 to obtain a list of attorneys who deal in real estate matters.
Taking Possession of Property Sold at a Sheriff’s Sale
- If the property is vacant and absent of personal property, you may take possession of the property as soon as the Court confirms the sale and the balance of your bid has been paid.
- If the property is owner-occupied, and the sale has been confirmed and the balance paid, you must file a Writ of Possession in Room 315 in the Hamilton County Courthouse. The writ will then be issued to the Sheriff’s Office. We will put the owner on notice that they will need to move. If they do not move out on their own in a specified period of time, you will be required to place and store their personal property in a storage unit for 30 days. This is all done at your expense and the direction of the Sheriff’s Office.
- If the property is tenant occupied, and the sale has been confirmed and the balance paid, you must file for a tenant eviction in Room 115 in the Hamilton County Courthouse. The Sheriff’s Office is not involved with the eviction of tenants.
Any additional questions concerning sale procedures can be directed to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Civil Enforcement Unit at 513-946-5340.