Regardless of whether you can save your home, you should pay close attention to the sale process and what comes after to help avoid fraud in a sheriff’s sale. Since New Jersey sheriff sales are conducted by the County government it is normal for you to think they are above board and what you see is exactly what you are going to get. Unfortunately, there are people who try to take advantage of the system for their own financial gain. How they do this can vary, but here is an example.
In one such case, there was an elderly woman whose home had sold at auction. The sale generated about $80,000.00 in surplus funds that she would have been entitled to. She was not aware of this though, because she had not attended the sale. A few days after the sale someone claiming to be the winning bidder of her property showed up at her door and offered to give her $40,000.00 to sign over the property and move out. That person may not have even been the purchaser of the home. The document he had her sign was a quitclaim deed transferring her rights to the property. The person who claimed they were the purchaser either saved money on the property they had won at the sheriff’s sale or undercut the actual winning bidder at the sale. Either way, the woman who owned the house lost out on a lot of money and ended up coming away with only about half of what she should have received.
Avoid Fraud in a Sheriff’s Sale
To avoid having something like this happen to you there are some easy steps to protect yourself. First off, if someone comes to you claiming to be the purchaser of your property, make sure you get their business card, name, and contact information. After that, call a lawyer. A lawyer can find out who the winning bidder was and confirm the purchase price. That way if anyone comes to your door with an offer, you have an idea of whether you are missing out on money by taking their offer.
* This post is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.
Christopher T. Campbell is an experienced New Jersey attorney focused on assisting homeowners with asset and surplus fund recovery. If you have questions regarding asset recovery, a foreclosure, or a sheriff sale, we encourage you to contact us today.