Sheriff Sales FAQs

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When can we see the house?

ALL SHERIFF SALES ARE SIGHT UNSEEN. We do not receive keys to any of the properties and have no access to the interior of the houses for sale. No arrangements may be made for an internal inspection of the properties either before the sale by you or after the sale by your bank or mortgage company appraiser. You are urged to check out the property as best you can.

The County Auditor can provide a printout on the property (also available on the Auditor's web page). Sales are BUYER BEWARE. You are urged to consult with an attorney.

How does the sale work? Do you take sealed bids?

By law the sale must be a public sale, unless otherwise ordered by the Court. The sales are held on Tuesdays at 10:00 A.M., inside the north door of the Courthouse. You or a representative must appear to bid. All bidding is done at the sale. No prior or sealed bids will be taken. It will be the same as a regular verbal auction with no prior registration needed. Make sure you can meet the terms of the sale. Have your deposit check at the sale or your bid will not be accepted. Have your cashier's check or money order from bank made out to THE ERIE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE.

Caution: This is a Court function; if the sale is not completed, you are subject to being held in contempt of court.

What happens to 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. Information on liens can be found by visiting the Clerk of Courts Office at the Court House (323 Columbus Avenue, 1st Floor, Sandusky, Ohio). The exception is a Federal Tax Lien which would be on file at the Recorder's Office (247 Columbus Avenue, Sandusky, Ohio). You are urged to check out liens and check with an attorney if you have questions. We do not have lien information at the Sheriff's Office.

A federal tax lien itself will be extinguished by the Confirmation Entry, but there is a separate right of redemption accorded to the Federal Government by statute, which entitles it to come in and claim real property any time within 120 days after the signed confirmation is filed with the Clerk of Court. If this should occur, the buyer's payment should be returned, however, the Federal Government is not required to pay for any permanent improvements made to such property in the meantime. Once 120 days have passed, the statutory right expires.

Will I have to pay any more money?

All costs are deducted from the sale proceeds. You may have to pay for fees associated with filing your Deed, including transfer taxes. Check with the Auditor and Recorder about these fees.

Only Real Estate taxes due are paid from the sale proceeds. In Ohio real estate taxes are paid a year behind and are not prorated. The next Real Estate tax bill you receive will be for the previous year, and you will be paying the tax for a period of time you did not own the property. This is addressed in our notice as written below.

The purchasers shall take such premises subject to all taxes, assessments, interest and penalty charges. The purchaser shall be responsible for those costs, allowances and taxes that the proceeds of the sale are insufficient to cover.

What if someone is living in the house?

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," only after you file your deed and are the owners of the property. You or your attorney must file a “PRAECIPE” with the Clerk Of Courts to get the “Writ of Possession” issued. You will be responsible for providing the funds to have their belongings removed. As a general rule most people are cooperative and remove themselves from the premises, but if not the up front cost will be the responsibility of the purchaser.

When do we get the keys to the property?

The sale is not final until the Judge signs a “Confirmation”. The Defendant can redeem his property until the “Confirmation” is signed. If this happens, you will get your deposit returned. We must receive a “Judgment Entry” that the sale is set aside, and to return the deposit.

The Plaintiff’s Attorney prepares the "Confirmation” and submits it to the Judge for review and signing. This process has taken at least a month or even longer. If you are in a hurry, you may be disappointed.

When we receive the “Confirmation” we will call you. At that time you will have 8 days in which to pay the balance of the money or the Court will charge you 8% interest. The balance must be paid within 30 days of the time you are notified or you could be charged with contempt of court. As soon as the money is paid the deed will be given to you. You are not the owner until you file your deed.

We do not receive keys for the houses. You are encouraged to get a locksmith to enter the house and change the locks, or you can do it yourself after the deed has been recorded and the property has been vacated by the previous owner. It is unknown how many, or who, might have keys to the house. This is for your security.

Again, consult an attorney.


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.

PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this memorandum is not intended to constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. The Erie County Sheriff is not an attorney and therefore cannot give legal advice. The Erie County Prosecutor is not permitted to give legal advice to the general public. The information contained in this memorandum is in general, procedural terms only, is not directed to any specific parcel(s) or situation(s), and any information contained herein may or may not be applicable in specific situations. If you have questions regarding a specific situation, you are urged to contact your own attorney.
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