These frequently asked questions help explain what a Sheriff's Sale is and how it's run. Notices of Sale will be published as sales arise.
What is a Sheriff's Sale?
The Sheriff seizes or levies upon property for the purpose of satisfying a money judgment. This is done by liquidating the assets (converting the asset into cash). This is accomplished by holding a "Sheriff's Sale" which is a public auction. The highest bidder pays his bid price to the Sheriff and takes custody and ownership* of the auctioned property. The Sheriff pays any service providers or vendors who assisted in the seizure (like towing and storage), from the sale proceeds, deducts the various fees and expenses associated with the levy and sale from the proceeds and applies the balance to the judgment. Note that these types of sales are not like the public auctions held by police departments where the property sold is usually property recovered from a crime or simply lost, but unclaimed by the true owner. The proceeds from those sales are turned over to the municipality.
When are Sheriff's Sales Conducted?
Another difference between a Sheriff's sale and police auction is that police auctions are usually held approximately once a year and Sheriff's sales are held throughout the year, at no set schedule. When the Sheriff conducts a sale depends upon when he seizes property; it is not the case where the Sheriff would seize property in connection with several or many cases and hold the property for one big sale. Sales are held "as needed." We might have three different sales in one week and then go for months without another.
Where are Sheriff's Sales Conducted?
All real estate execution sales are conducted at our office located at the Lobby White Plains N.Y.10601, or such other place as advertised.
Personal property sales (cars, equipment, machinery, etc.), are conducted at the site where the property is actually located. So, for example, if we levy on a pickup truck and it is towed and stored at a garage in Mount Kisco, the sale will be held at that garage. If we levy on business computers and they are stored in Yonkers, that is where the sale will be held.
Who can bid at a Sheriff's Sale?
Sheriff's sales are public auctions, so anyone can bid. The only exception is that members of the Westchester County Sheriff's Office may not bid. A person acting as agent for a company or corporation may bid on behalf of the company or corporation he represents. There are no sealed bids or phone bids. A party may bid on behalf of/as agent for, a party not present as long as the agent is present at the sale and the bidder has provided his authority to the Sheriff for such arrangement, in writing, prior to the sale.
Additionally, while anyone may attend and participate in the bidding, only those bidders who have registered to bid will be allowed to do so. This simply involves the bidder signing and printing his name, address and phone number on a ledger sheet provided at the sale.
What is the sale format?
A standard auction format is used and there is usually no opening bid or minimum bid. Bidding must be in dollar increments.
What are the Terms of Sale?
All property is sold "as is, where is." No guarantees or warrantees are made, expressed or implied for anything sold at any sale, with respect to condition, value, use, operation, safety, marketability, resale, sufficiency or accuracy of description, authenticity, or anything other matter not consistent with the obligations or duties of the Sheriff.
All sales are for cash only, U.S. currency. A minimum of 10% is due and payable at the conclusion of bidding. Cash is always required for a down payment. If the bid is unusually high, the balance might be paid with a bank cashier's check, certified funds or money order. Any other potential exceptions must be cleared prior to the sale.
If the full bid price is paid at the time of sale, the bidder should discuss with the police officer the release procedure to be to be able to take immediate possession of the property.
If a down payment is made, the remaining balance is due by 4:00 P.M. of that same day. Alternate arrangements must be pre-approved. The bidder cannot take possession of the property until he receives a written release from the police officer and the release will not be issued until the bid price is fully paid.
Nothing is added to the bid price except for sales tax at the prevailing rate. Those exempt from sales tax must provide, before a release or certificate of sale is issued by the Sheriff, a properly completed tax exemption form ST-120 or other form as required by any law. The expenses of the levy and sale will be deducted from the sale proceeds, if any. Where storage has accrued, it will be paid up to and including the day of sale. Thereafter, the purchaser is responsible for any charges. The purchaser is also responsible for making arrangements for the removal, transportation, security, safety, etc. of the purchased property.
When real property is sold, the purchaser must pay to the Sheriff a $20.00 deed fee at the time the deed and associated documents are delivered. The Sheriff does not charge or collect any taxes, fees or charges that may be due or assessed with respect to the sale, transfer or recordation.
Any other terms or requirements as may be expressed or implied by any rule or law are operational as long as such is not inconsistent with the Sheriff's duties and responsibilities as stated here or by law, at the time of sale, or other time. The preceding policies and procedures are subject to modification based upon innumerable variations and factors related to the property and court directions.
What exactly is the high bidder purchasing?
The purchaser at a sheriff's sale is acquiring the interest of the judgment debtor in the property levied upon. If, for example, the interest of the judgment debtor in a motor vehicle is subject to a lien, then that is what the bidder is buying. For real property, if the debtor's interest is governed by a joint tenancy, for example, or other deed restriction, or is subject to a superior lien or encumbrance, then that is what the bidder is purchasing. The purchaser is acquiring the judgment debtor's "right, title and interest" in or to the property, whatever that may be. The Sheriff does not research such things nor make opinions or assertions relative to such matters.
What Documents will the purchaser receive from the Sheriff?
When personal property is sold, the successful bidder will receive a receipt for the payment of his bid, and a release which will be directed to the agency, person or party having possession of the property. This authorizes the release of the property to the purchaser; a certificate of sale, which transfers the judgment debtor's interest in and to the property, to the purchaser; accompanying the certificate of sale will be a copy of the execution, which is the legal instrument authorizing and directing the levy and sale.
When real property is sold, the purchaser will receive a receipt for the payment of the bid price, a Sheriff's Deed and the several documents attesting to procedure.
How does one find out if and when a sale is scheduled?
The Sheriff does not maintain a mailing list.
In addition to this web site, a printed notice of sale is usually posted in three public places in White Plains, the:
- Westchester County Sheriff, Bulletin Board, 110 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Rm. L217, White Plains N.Y.10601
- White Plains Library
- White Plains City Hall
For personal property sales, the law requires a notice of sale to be posted at three public places in the town or city where the actual auction takes place, at least six days before the sale. Such postings typically are done at the local town hall and other government buildings.