Government Real Estate Auctions
You’ve no doubt seen the commercials in which a man is yelling about government-seized property auctions. Does it seem kind of sleazy, kind of shady? Like maybe you’re taking advantage of the disadvantaged? Au contraire! A real estate auction can be a great way to get into a house. In a real estate auction, the seller is locked in to selling. There’s no backing out at the last second. You’ll probably pay a fair market price – it’s a rare for auction houses to be overpriced. In an auction setting, you may have the choice of several properties at the same time. Weeks-long negotiations are eliminated. Purchasing and closing dates are pretty much set in stone, so there’s no last minute changes or contingencies.
Before an auction, there are several ways to prepare:
-Attend an open house to see what condition the property is in.
-Go over with a fine-tooth comb the property information provided by the auctioneer, including the sales contract.
-Make sure you know exactly what is included in the sale and what’s excluded.
-Talk to a real estate agent and an attorney who specialize in auction sales.
There are specialized procedures involved with real estate auctions. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, sale participants must register to bid during the specified registration time for the sale. Bring a photo ID and a cashier's check deposit to register and receive your bidder number. A bidder registration form is available for download on the U.S. Treasury Department web site at http://www.ustreas.gov/auctions/treasury/rp/images/bidderregform.pdf. This form can be printed out and completed prior to the auction. You do not need to mail or fax the completed form, just bring it to the auction to register. Forms will also be available at the auction. You should read and understand the Terms of Sale before you bid. Sales personnel at the auction site can answer any questions you may have.
Typically, a wide variety of real property is available, including homes, condominiums, commercial buildings, operating businesses and vacant land. The Treasury Department strongly recommends that you attend open houses/inspections. These open houses/inspections are the only opportunity you have to get answers to your questions, since property is sold "as is" and all sales are final. Property may not be available for inspection the day of the sale. Failure on your part to inspect property won’t constitute cause for cancellation of a sale. Consider yourself warned.