Sheriff’s Sales

SHERIFF’S SALES PROCEDURES

For additional information contact Diane Buchanan at (740)452-3637 extension 6126 or Email – DBuchanan@ohiomuskingumsheriff.org

As a result of HB 138, the Muskingum Co. Sheriff’s Office has adopted the following procedures and/or requirements with regard to Sheriff’s Sales:

PROPERTY DESCRIPTION / ORDER OF SALE

Plaintiff’s agent/attorney must take three (3) copies of the Property Description Approval Form to the Muskingum Co. GIS Dept., located in the Muskingum Co. Courthouse, 401 Main Street, Zanesville, to have the full legal description approved.

(The Muskingum Co. GIS Dept. will not accept any forms by mail, fax or electronic mail (e-mail),
THEY MUST BE DELIVERED IN PERSON.)

The stamped approved Property Description Approval Forms must be submitted with the Praecipe for Order of Sale to the Muskingum Co. Common Pleas Court. Common Pleas Court will forward the approved Property Description Approval Form and the Order of Sale to the Muskingum Co. Sheriff’s Office.

APPRAISAL

Property will be appraised using the legal description as approved. NOTE: Any discrepancy between the legal description and the appraisers’ observations may cause delay in sale.

All appraisals are done from the outside of the property. Muskingum Co. Sheriff’s Office is not responsible for condition of property, (ie. mold, mildew, foreign objects, etc.), outstanding taxes, liens, mortgages or utility bills.

Tax information can be obtained at www.muskingumcountyauditor.org.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Plaintiff is responsible for advertisement of the property, which must be in local paper three (3) days; one (1) day each week up to the week of the sale.

The ad needs to contain date, time, and location of sale, case number, parcel number, property address, location, township, city, county, and where full legal description may be obtained.

Complete legal description can be obtained at http://recorder.muskingumcounty.org

Ad must be prepared and pre-paid to the Times Recorder before the property is appraised and set for sale.

DAY OF SALE

Anticipated purchaser must have completed Purchaser Information Form ready to submit to Muskingum Co. Sheriff’s Office at the time of sale.

Purchaser must present deposit (cashier’s check, bank draft, money order) to Muskingum Co. Sheriff’s Office at the time of the sale as follows:
Plaintiff 1% of appraised value (or $200.00, whichever is greater)
Third Party 10% of appraised value

**The Muskingum Co. Sheriff’s Office will no longer accept Cash for Sheriff’s Sale deposits**

No property will be sold for less than 2/3 of the appraised value.

Sheriff will deduct Recording and Conveyance fees, plus Sheriff’s fee of $75.00, from the deposit. The remaining amount of deposit will be applied to balance of sale.

Balance of purchase price must be paid within 30 days of Confirmation of Sale.

Muskingum Co. Sheriff’s Office will no longer charge a “$50.00 deed preparation fee.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF SALE

Purchaser must abide by the terms and condition of the sale, as follows:

Day of Sale – Pay required deposit
30 days – Confirmation of Sale by Court
7 days -From confirmation deed must be received by Sheriff (prepared by Plaintiff)
30 days -From confirmation of sale, balance must be paid by Purchaser
14 days -From receipt of payment deed must be filed

This information is to address questions most often asked regarding Sheriff’s Sales, and explain general procedures regarding tax foreclosures. If there are specific procedural questions not addressed herein, we would be happy to address them upon further inquiry (other than requests for legal advice). For specific factual information regarding a case, please see the court file for that case at the Clerk’s Office in the Courthouse.

Tax Liens: Muskingum County does not sell tax liens because it cannot do so. (Under current state law, only a few larger counties are permitted to engage in this practice.) Delinquent real property is sold (once it meets certain criteria) by the Muskingum County Treasurer, through the office of the Muskingum County Prosecutor, in accordance with applicable law regarding tax foreclosures. Simply put, an action is filed in Muskingum County Common Pleas Court to foreclose upon the subject parcel(s). A judgment decree in foreclosure is sought and, once obtained, the property is advertised and sold at a tax foreclosure sale.

Sheriff’s Sales: Sheriff’s Sales for both private (i.e., lender) foreclosures and tax foreclosures are held on Thursday’s at 10:00 a.m. in the Muskingum County Courthouse, basement lobby, by advance scheduling of the Sheriff’s Office. Parcels are bid competitively, beginning at an advertised minimum bid. These sales are advertised in The Zanesville Times Recorder (Zanesville, Ohio). Such ads are typically run in the Tuesday edition. As the ads run several times, a potential buyer who regularly reads the Tuesday legal notices should see all applicable sales over time. Neither the Sheriff’s Office nor the Treasurer’s Office prepares or maintains a mailing list of all properties scheduled for sale. The information would change weekly and these offices cannot undertake such weekly mailings.

Finality of Sale: For tax foreclosures, once property is sold at Sheriff’s Sale, the sale does not become final until the Confirmation Entry is filed, usually approximately one month later. In other words, the property owner may still come in and redeem the property by paying the delinquent taxes, assessments and court costs. Once the Confirmation Entry is filed, the property owner’s right of redemption is cut off. Please note, however, that a separate issue involves federal tax liens. 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 date of sale. If this should occur, the buyer’s payment is 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. If there are federal tax liens, the published notice of sale should conspicuously indicate this.

Terms of Sale: For tax foreclosures, a minimum bid will be set, which is the amount of the delinquent taxes, assessments and court costs. A minimum down payment is also set. The minimum down payment must be paid the day of the sale in cash, or by personal check, certified check or money order. (This check can be obtained immediately after the sale, by permission of the Sheriff’s office, to alleviate the need to bring a check merely on the chance that property will be purchased.) The balance of the purchase price must be paid upon confirmation of sale. PLEASE NOTE that failure or refusal to pay for real property after purchase at sheriff’s sale will likely result in the forfeiture of the down payment, and subject the buyer to punishment for contempt of court.

For bank foreclosures, the terms of sale vary according to the bank, but should be included for review in the publication of sale.

Purchase by Mail: No procedures currently exist for registration of buyers or submission of bids by mail. Interested parties must attend personally or by representative at the sale.

Possession of Property: Property purchased at Sheriff’s Sale does not truly belong to the buyer until the Confirmation Entry has been filed with the Court. Therefore, the buyer should NOT exercise any dominion or control over the property, such as demolition, construction, or harassment of tenants. Any such dominion or control is strictly at the buyer’s risk.

Deed: Once the confirmation entry has been filed and the purchase price has been paid, the buyer will receive a Sheriff’s Deed.

Condition of Title Following Sale: Generally speaking, in accordance with applicable law, most liens are released when property is sold at tax foreclosure (with the exceptions of federal tax liens, and taxes and assessments levied but not yet due and payable). However, please note that the Muskingum County Treasurer makes no representations of title in specific situations, and is not a source of title information. If you wish to be certain as to the status of title, you are urged to conduct your own title search or consult your own attorney.

Pro-ration of Taxes: By law, there is NO pro-ration of taxes on a property sold at sheriff’s sale. This seems to be a pitfall for many an unwary buyer. The law requires taxes and assessments to be paid from the proceeds of sale that are “due and payable.” Since taxes are paid one year in arrears in Ohio, the taxes for the year in which the property is purchased are not actually “due and payable” until after January 1 of the following year. Whereas in most private sales there is a pro-ration and a credit is given the buyer against the taxes to be paid by him the following year, this is not in accordance with the law governing sheriff’s sales. The buyer gets no credit for the calendar year in which the purchase is made. Obviously, early in the year this is of little significance, but as the year progresses the significance becomes greater. Even if, for example, a buyer purchases a property in mid-October and the deed transfers in late December, the buyer WILL owe the real estate taxes and assessments for the entire calendar year in which he purchased the property, when those taxes are billed to him the following year. Please take this point into consideration when determining the amount to bid on the property if it is a concern.

Special Assessments: Please note that properties sold at sheriff’s sales are not sold “free and clear” of any ongoing or uncertified special assessments. For example, if the parcel is subject to a thirty-year (30 yr.) ongoing sewer assessment, and there are twenty (20) years remaining that have not become due and payable, the buyer WILL be responsible to pay those twenty (20) years of assessments as they continue to come due, just as the buyer is responsible to pay real estate taxes when they come due. Also note that in some cases there may be special assessments not due at the time of sale simply because they have not yet been certified to the auditor by the applicable public entity, but which may later be certified to the auditor in the ordinary course of the entity’s business after the sale occurs. Examples of this would be delinquent sewer and water monthly charges not paid by the previous landowner. By law, the auditor is without authority to refuse to certify such charges against the parcel; therefore, they will show up against the new owner as an unanticipated expense of ownership. It will be entirely up to the buyer to either pay these special assessments or work out any issues in this regard with the applicable public entity. In order to minimize the impact of this potential issue, it is best for an interested buyer to inquire to the applicable public entity, before bidding at a sale, as to whether there are unpaid monthly assessments being carried against the property.

Rules: No copy of the county or state statutes or rules regarding tax or private foreclosures is available for purchase through the Muskingum County Treasurer or Muskingum County Prosecutor.

Unsold Properties: In the Tax Foreclosure Process, a parcel is scheduled for a public sale, and is also scheduled for a second public sale between two (2) and six (6) weeks after the date of the first sale. Except for the date, the terms of the second sale are identical to the first sale. This second sale is only conducted if there were no acceptable bids at the first public sale. If there is no bid after the second sale, then this is reported to the Clerk of Courts, which issues Notices of Right to Petition the Court to receive the an unsold parcel or parcels, to Muskingum County, the School District in which the parcel is situated, and either the Municipality or Township of the parcel. Any or all of these public entities may petition the Court to receive a parcel within ten (10) days of its receipt of the notice, or so long thereafter as the Court may allow. In the event that none of the public entities petition the Court to receive the parcel, or the Court decides not to award the parcel to any of the petitioning entities, the parcel will be forfeited to the State. The annual Auditor’s Sale of these forfeited properties is generally held in early September. A few weeks before the forfeited land sale, properties will be listed on the county’s website and advertised in the paper once a week for two weeks.

***PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this memorandum is not intended to constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. The Muskingum County Treasurer is not an attorney and cannot give legal advice. The Muskingum 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. If you have questions seeking specific information about a specific case, please review the case file at the Clerk’s Office in the courthouse.

This information has been prepared by the office of the Muskingum County Prosecutor in conjunction with the Muskingum County Treasurer. We hope this information will prove beneficial. A copy of this information, and the scheduled tax foreclosure sales, is available on the county’s website at www.muskingumcounty.org

Delinquent Manufactured Homes

This information has been prepared by the office of the Muskingum County Prosecutor in conjunction with the Muskingum County Treasurer. We hope this information will prove beneficial. A copy of this information, and the scheduled tax foreclosure sales, is available on the county’s website at www.muskingumcounty.org

The Muskingum County Treasurer monitors and forecloses upon delinquent manufactured homes in Muskingum County, especially those with delinquencies near the top of the list. Typically, a collection letter is first sent, giving the owner a chance to take action. If the letter is ignored, a foreclosure action is filed in court to enforce collection of the tax.

Many people seem unaware that all manufactured homes in Ohio are subject to the manufactured home tax, which is similar to real estate tax. This is NOT the sales tax that may be paid when the home is purchased. This is an annual tax paid to the county treasurer and is based upon the value of the home. The tax becomes a lien on the manufactured home on January 1 of each year, and is due from the person whose name appears on the title. If the owner does not pay the tax, the tax is a lien against the home itself, together with penalties and interest, until paid in full. By law, the Treasurer has a first priority lien, even ahead of the purchase-money lender, for this tax.

When a manufactured home is transferred, all delinquent taxes must be paid before the title can be transferred. Further, it is illegal to move a manufactured home from its current location without proof that the manufactured home taxes are paid current.

If you are a manufactured home owner who is delinquent in your manufactured home taxes, please be aware that you can be subject to action by the Muskingum County Treasurer to collect the tax by the forced sale of your home. The Treasurer’s Office will make an effort to work with you, and will provide payment plan options to assist you in bringing the taxes current. If a foreclosure action is filed, you may stop the foreclosure action by paying the delinquency plus court costs. It is cheaper, however, to pay the taxes or enter into a payment plan with the Treasurer before the delinquency gets large enough to warrant the filing of a foreclosure.

If you wish to enter a payment plan or have questions about this procedure, please call the Muskingum County Treasurer’s Office at (740) 455-7118. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice in regard to any specific situation.

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