- Bank Foreclosure Sale
The lending institution, through their attorney, files suit against the defendant and obtains a judgement. The time from the initial filing to judgement varies, but is usually 3-6 months. After the judgement is obtained, an Order for Sale is filed which directs the Sheriff’s Office to appraise, advertise and sell the property.
Upon receipt of the Order for Sale, the Sheriff’s Office Execution Section initiates the appraisal of the described property. An evaluation of the property is completed by three appraisers.
The property evaluation is completed by using general practices such as comparable sales and general condition of the property upon an 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 4 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 more generic list of properties currently scheduled for sale may be viewed at
www.hcso.org under the ‘Public Services’ tab.
Sheriff sales are held every Thursday at 11:00 a.m. outside of Room 260 in the Hamilton County Courthouse 1000 Main Street Cincinnati, Ohio. The only exception is if a national holiday falls on a Thursday in any given week, the sale will be conducted on that Tuesday instead.
The Sheriff’s sale is an open auction with verbal bidding. The bidding starts at two-thirds of the appraised value of the property, unless otherwise ordered by the court. The highest bidder is declared the winner.
The terms of sale are as follows: If the property is valued at $200,000 or less, the deposit is $5,000. If the value of the property is greater than $200,000, the deposit is $10,000. The only accepted form of payment is a cashier’s check made out to the Sheriff of Hamilton County’. The balance of the bid is due within 30 days once the sale is confirmed by the court. This also must be in the form of a cashier’s check.
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.
If there are no bids for a specified property during the sale, a second attempt will be made to sell the property two weeks later. There will be no additional advertising and no mandated 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 were conducted according to state law and declares the successful bidder the new owner of the property. 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 takes place, 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 and upon completion of the recording the deed will be available for pick up in Room 110 South Building of the Hamilton County Justice Center.
- Delinquent Taxes Sale
The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office files these orders after judgement 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.
The Sheriff’s Office does no appraisal or viewing of 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 contained 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. If it does not sell at the second offering it can then be declared forfeited land. Hamilton County Land Reutilization reviews all unsold properties and may claim some for their use. All other properties will be offered for sale at the annual Hamilton County Auditor’s sale, which takes place in June of every year. The auditor’s office should be contacted directly at 946-4000 for information regarding the June sale.
- Tax Lien Certificate Sale
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 that is 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.
If a property fails to sell on the first sale date, it is offered for sale a second time two weeks later. 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, and will most likely be offered for sale at a later time by a real estate agent through traditional property sale methods.
Large amounts of money are involved at a Sheriff’s sale. You are urged to obtain competent legal advice before bidding at 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 sale is confirmed by the court and the balance of your bid has been paid.
If the property is owner occupied, and the sale has been confirmed and balance paid, you will need to 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 at the direction of the Sheriff’s Office.
If the property is tenant occupied, and the sale has been confirmed and balance paid, you will need to 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 questions concerning the purchase of property at Sheriff's sales or the filing of legal pleadings, please contact your attorney. Employees of the Sheriff's Office are not permitted to give legal advise.
Any questions regarding sale procedures can be directed to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Execution Section at 513-946-5340.