In February of 2010, I wrote about Indiana Sheriff's Sales - Local Rules, Customs and Practices Control. For secured lenders and their counsel preparing for a mortgage foreclosure sale in Marion County (Indianapolis), Indiana, I thought I'd expand upon that post and convey a handful of things about which I was reminded during recent experiences. I'm directing this post mainly to plaintiffs/first mortgagees, who hold a judgment/foreclosure decree and who are "first in line" to make a judgment bid (credit bid) at the sale. Because this post discusses cash that bidders must bring to the sale, however, the information will also be relevant to junior lien holders seeking to bid.
Pre-sale sheriff's notice. About fifteen days before a sheriff's sale, the Civil Sheriff's Office will send to the lawyer for the plaintiff/first mortgagee a sheet outlining certain information about the sale. Click here for an example notice. The notice includes such data as the sale number, the court cause number, the names of the plaintiff and the plaintiff's attorney, the parcel number and, perhaps most importantly, the current judgment amount, including interest, upon which the plaintiff is entitled to make a credit bid. Finally, the notice lists the sale fees/costs and, as in my case, any delinquent property taxes.
Deposit. Pursuant to Marion County's custom and practice, in order to perfect a bid, the plaintiff/bidder must deposit with the sheriff a check for the user fee, sheriff fee and advertising cost, which in my client's case was $608.40. The sale fees/costs must be paid to the "Marion County Sheriff." (Remember that junior lien holders or third parties also must have on deposit with the sheriff’s personnel a certified check or cashiers check equal to or in excess of the amount of any bid submitted.)
Taxes. Beginning in 2011, Ind. Code 32-29-7-8.5 mandates that any delinquent real estate taxes, which by the way include delinquent sewer lien fees, be paid by the plaintiff/senior mortgagee before the sale. In the past, checks for taxes were tendered with the sale bid, or in some counties taxes could be paid by the successful bidder after the sale. Now (2011), Indiana statute requires the taxes to be current by the date of the sale, or the sale will be cancelled. Proof of payment can come from a receipt from the County Treasurer's office. However, in Marion County (Indianapolis), local procedure dictates that a Tax Clearance Form, stamped by the Treasurer's office, be provided to the sheriff with the presale bid package.
Source of delinquent tax figure. Without boring you with the details, I've learned the hard way that delinquent tax figures provided by the sheriff's office on its presale notice often are slightly inaccurate. I would recommend that lenders or their lawyers go directly to the county treasurer's office in order to confirm (in writing, if possible) the amount of any delinquent taxes or fees.
(This updates/revises my 12-15-08 post.)