Ever wonder what the foreclosure process is really like on the courthouse steps? Check it out sometime.
Properties are auctioned at the courthouse steps of the county where they are located on the first Tuesday of every month. These properties must be advertised in the legal newspaper of that county once a week for the four consecutive weeks prior to the auction. This gives you a little time to try to find out more about the property.
If you’re thinking of purchasing a property at the courthouse steps, it’s very important that you do your due diligence. Unfortunately, inspecting the property is almost always impossible, as the current owner isn’t going to open their doors for interested parties to come inside! There is always the risk that the property could have structural problems or other problems that could be expensive to remedy.
However, you can and should order a title report to determine any liens that are on the property because when you purchase a property at the courthouse steps you get everything that comes with it (such as liens, an additional mortgage, past due taxes, etc.). In addition, a survey would determine the lot lines and if there are any easements or encroachments on the property.
On the sale date, the lender’s attorney conducts a public sale sometime between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The attorney reads the legal notice and announces that he is ready to receive cash bids (“cries the bid”). In some cases, there is competitive bidding between unrelated third parties. In other cases, there is no bidding at all, and the lender becomes the successful bidder. Normally the lender’s bid includes the total investment, which is principal, interest and all other foreclosures costs (legal fees, advertising fees and Ga. Transfer Tax).
The foreclosure attorney will only accept cash, so the potential bidders are walking around with pockets full of certified funds. Unlike some states, Georgia does not have a redemption period allowing the borrower to redeem the property after the foreclosure sale takes place.
Just like any other investment, buying a property at the courthouse steps offers the greatest potential return on investment; however, it also holds the highest risk to the investor, due to the limited means of investigating as mentioned above. The phrase, “Let the buyer beware,” certainly applies to those purchasing at the courthouse steps!